Do you find yourself constantly seeing notifications that your PS4 storage is full? Are you unable to install new games or updates due to insufficient space? Don‘t worry – you‘re not alone. Many PS4 gamers face storage limitations at some point, especially with modern game install sizes ballooning to 100GB or more.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to free up space on your PS4‘s hard drive without having to delete games or lose your progress and saved data. In this detailed guide, I‘ll provide over a dozen helpful tips to reclaim storage space and better manage your PS4 capacity going forward.
Why Does My PS4 Say There‘s Not Enough Free Space?
When you try to download and install games from the PlayStation Store, apply a game update, or install new DLC content, your PS4 may give you an error saying there is not enough free space, or that the download cannot continue until you free up space on the system storage.
This happens when your PS4 hard drive fills up from the data stored on it, including:
- Installed game files
- Saved game data
- Downloaded apps and add-ons
- Captured screenshots and video clips
- System software and firmware updates
As modern AAA games can easily take up over 50GB or more of storage with all their textures, audio, and HD video content, it‘s easy to run out of room with just a dozen games installed.
The entry-level PS4 comes with a 500GB hard drive. The 1TB model provides double the capacity. But even that can quickly fill up if you have a large library of downloaded games. When your PS4 hits maximum capacity, you‘ll need to free up space in order to download and install anything new.
How to Check Your PS4‘s Storage Status
Before trying to clear up space on your PS4, it‘s a good idea to check how your storage is currently being used. This will show you what types of data are taking up space so you can better decide what to delete or remove.
Here are the steps to view your PS4‘s storage information:
From your PS4 home screen, go to Settings.
Select the Storage option.
Choose System Storage.
You will now see details on the total capacity of your PS4 hard drive and how much free space remains.
Below this, you can view a color coded chart that provides a visual breakdown of how your storage is allocated. This is divided into the space used by games, game data, captures, themes, applications and other types of data.
Reviewing this storage breakdown shows you at a glance what portions of your hard drive are occupied by different types of content. For most users, games usually take up the bulk of space. But you may also see a lot of storage eaten up by captures, if you record a lot of gameplay video, or by applications if you have many apps installed.
Knowing this storage allocation helps guide what steps you should take to clear space on your PS4. Now let‘s go over the various methods available.
Delete Games You Don‘t Play Anymore
One of the most effective ways to free up a large amount of storage is to uninstall game titles you no longer play regularly or have already completed.
The game application itself often takes up the majority of its total storage footprint. For example, a game may only take up 10GB for its save data, but have a 70GB install size for the actual game files.
Uninstalling a game removes its entire installation from your PS4 hard drive, but does NOT delete your saved game data or progress. This means you can delete large games you are done with while still keeping your save files intact.
Here are the steps to easily uninstall games on your PS4:
From your PS4 home screen, go to your Game Library.
Highlight a game title, press the Options button on your controller.
Select Delete from the menu prompt.
Choose Delete again on the confirmation pop-up.
Repeat for any other games you want to remove.
The selected games will be uninstalled, freeing up all storage space previously occupied by their application files and data. However, your save data and progress will NOT be erased.
To play the game again in the future, you can simply reinstall it from your Library and your save data will still be intact. This makes uninstalling unused games a great way to rapidly free up GBs of storage space while still retaining your ability to pick up where you left off if you ever want to play them again.
When choosing games to delete, look for titles you haven‘t played for a while, finished a long time ago, or lost interest in. Avoid uninstalling games unless you‘re confident you won‘t be returning to them any time soon.
Remove Captured Videos and Screenshots
Today‘s consoles make it easy to record gameplay video and grab screenshots. But this content can consume more and more space over time.
Depending on your capture habits, videos and screenshots stored locally on your PS4 could be occupying a significant chunk of your storage.
So consider removing old captures you no longer need to open up space. Here are the steps:
Go to Settings > Storage > System Storage.
Choose a specific capture to delete and pick Delete.
To mass delete, choose All Captures > Delete All.
I recommend being selective about removing recent captures you may still want to keep. But deleting old recordings and screenshots you haven‘t viewed in months can clear out plenty of hard drive real estate.
If you use Twitter, YouTube or other social platforms to share your gameplay captures, make sure to upload and back them up first before deleting local copies on your PS4.
Back Up Your Game Saves to PlayStation Plus Cloud Storage
PlayStation Plus members have access to online cloud storage for convenient save data backup. This provides a way to offload your save files from local storage to the cloud to maximize space on your PS4.
Here are the steps to upload game saves to cloud storage:
Go to Settings > Application Saved Data Management.
Choose Saved Data in System Storage.
Select Upload to Online Storage.
Pick specific game saves to upload or choose All Saved Data to sync everything.
Once your saves are copied to the cloud, you can safely delete them from your system storage without risk of losing any progress. If you ever need to access the saves again, you can simply download them back to your PS4 from cloud storage as needed.
Uploading old saves provides reliable long-term backup while removing the saves locally frees up space right away. Just make sure to keep saves for any games you are actively playing locally so you can access them.
Upgrade Your PS4 Hard Drive
While the methods covered so far allow you to free up space on an existing PS4 hard drive, another option is to physically upgrade your PS4‘s hard drive to a higher capacity model.
This means replacing the stock 500GB or 1TB hard drive with a larger 2TB, 4TB or even 8TB drive. By installing a more spacious drive, you are increasing the total storage pool available for games, apps, and content.
Here is an overview of the steps involved:
Use an external USB drive to back up your game data, captures, and settings.
Buy a PS4 compatible replacement hard drive that is larger than your current one. For example, replace a 500GB drive with a 1TB or 2TB model.
Initialize and format the new drive on your computer.
Open your PS4, swap out the old drive, and insert the new replacement drive. Consult a guide for proper drive removal and installation.
Boot up your PS4 in safe mode and install system software on the new drive.
Restore your backed up data to the new drive.
While this involves more work, it provides the most storage expansion possible in one shot. Once complete, you‘ll have dramatically more free space – 2TB drives can hold over 50 games on average. And you won‘t have to think about managing storage for a long time.
Add External USB Storage
Rather than opening up your PS4 to replace its internal hard drive, another option is to use an external USB drive for expanded storage.
When properly configured, you can install and store games on the external drive, essentially using it as extra storage space for your PS4.
Here is how to set up an external drive:
Connect the external USB hard drive to your PS4. It should have at least 250GB of storage and be formatted for use with Windows/Mac.
Go to Settings > Devices > USB Storage Devices.
Select your drive and choose Format as Extended Storage.
Confirm the format – this will create an optimized file system on the drive for PS4 game storage.
Once formatted, your PS4 will treat the attached external drive as an extension of your internal storage. You‘ll be able to select the external drive as an install location when downloading new games.
This allows you to offload some games from the internal drive and run them from the expanded USB storage instead. While not quite as fast as an internal drive upgrade, it‘s a quick and easy way to get more storage without opening up your PS4.
I recommend getting at least a 1TB to 2TB portable external drive so you have plenty of extra room. But even a 500GB model provides a nice storage boost.
Remove Unused PS4 Apps
Your PS4 comes pre-installed with a variety of apps and services, such as:
- PlayStation Now
- PlayStation Vue
- PlayStation Music
- Internet Browser
- Live from PlayStation
- PlayStation Video
Chances are you only actively use a handful of these apps. The ones you never open simply take up storage space in the background.
Consider removing unused apps to recover anywhere from 500MB to over 1GB per app. Here are the steps to uninstall apps:
Go to Settings > Storage.
Choose any apps you want to remove and pick Delete.
Confirm deletion on the prompt.
Stick to removing apps you know for sure you do not use. But clearing out even 2-3 unused apps may recover enough space for an additional game install.
Delete Game Content You Don‘t Need
Many modern games allow you to install different modes, maps, and content packs. For example, a game may give you options for installing the single player campaign, multiplayer mode, and high-resolution texture packs.
If there is game content sitting on your drive that you no longer use, you can delete those specific install packs to downsize the game‘s storage footprint.
Here are the steps to remove optional game content:
Go to Settings > Storage > Applications.
Select the game you want to adjust.
Choose View Details to see the full list of installed packs.
Pick the content you want to remove and select Delete.
Confirm deletion on the prompt.
This will uninstall the chosen content, shrinking the game‘s total install size and freeing up space in the process.
Use this to your advantage to remove unused single player campaigns in multiplayer focused games, delete high-res packs if you don‘t care about 4K graphics, or clear out any other content you no longer need.
Initialize Your PS4 System Software
The most extreme option to clear space is initializing your PS4 system software. This essentially factory resets your PS4 back to a clean, out-of-box state.
Initialization erases everything from the system, including:
- All game installs
- All saved game data
- All captures and screenshots
- All installed apps
- All account info and settings
It wipes your PS4 completely clean, leaving you with the maximum free space possible.
Here are the steps to initialize your PS4:
Back up any game saves, captures, and settings you want to keep to PlayStation Plus cloud storage or an external USB drive.
Power down your PS4 and reboot it into Safe Mode by holding the power button for 7 seconds.
Connect your controller and choose Initialize PS4.
Confirm initialization on the prompt.
Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall system software from a USB drive or the internet.
Once initialization completes, your PS4 will be restored to original factory condition. You‘ll then have to re-download any games you want to play, sign back into accounts, and configure settings.
Only restore essential saves and captures from your backups, as you want to avoid immediately filling up space again. Initialization is really a last resort if you absolutely need every last bit of free space possible. But it is an option if you have exhausted all others.
Ongoing PS4 Storage Management Tips
To avoid constantly seeing your PS4 storage full up again, be proactive about proper storage practices:
Only Keep Games You Are Playing – Don‘t let your drive fill up with a huge backlog of installed games. Remove titles you aren‘t playing currently. Reinstall them later if needed.
Upload Captures Regularly – Don‘t let captures and screenshots pile up endlessly. Upload and back them up to the cloud, then delete local copies.
Expand Storage Periodically – As your library grows, boost storage by upgrading internal drives or adding external drives.
Use Cloud Storage For Backups – Leverage cloud saves and captures when possible instead of local copies.
Uninstall Unused Apps and Content – Keep an eye on apps and game content you no longer need and delete them.
Set Storage Thresholds – Configure your PS4 to notify you when storage is nearing full so you can manage it.
Following best practices like these will help ensure you always have room for new games and content. Use the tips in this guide to take control of your PS4 storage.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help fellow gamers get the most out of their PS4. Game on!