One of the joys of owning the PS3 was its easily upgradeable hard drive – and the PlayStation 4 is no different. By sliding off the PS4's case and removing a single screw, you can easily slot in a replacement hard drive or SSD. The ability to upgrade your PS4 with a larger hard drive will be very useful if you buy a lot of games, or if you opt to fully install games to reduce load times. If money’s no object, and you want your games to load really quickly, you can also replace your PS4's standard hard drive with an SSD. To find out how, read on for our guide on replacing the PS4's hard drive.
It is surprisingly easy to replace or upgrade your PS4's hard drive. The drive itself is a normal 2.5in hard drive, and you can replace it with any other 2.5in drive (HDD or SSD) as long as it’s no taller than 9.5 millimetres and has a capacity of at least 160GB. Most modern 2.5in HDDs, and almost all SSDs, have a height of 9.5mm or less.
If you’re looking for a large hard drive, the 1-Terabyte Samsung Spinpoint M8 – which costs around £55 – is a pretty safe bet. Samsung has announced a 2TB Spinpoint M9, but it hasn’t yet hit the market.
If you want an SSD, the 160GB minimum requirement means that you’ll probably be opting for either a 256GB or 512GB drive. We’re partial to the Samsung 840 Pro (which is around £175 and £360 for the 256GB and 512GB models respectively).
With your new hard drive or SSD acquired, it’s now time to remove the old drive from your PS4. Lay the PS4 flat. Slide off the shiny section (to the left, as you look at the console). The hard drive is right there, in a fairly normal looking caddy.
There is one large screw with the iconic PlayStation button symbols – you can see it in the image above – unscrew this. Slide the drive caddy out, unscrew the screws holding the drive in, and then carefully pop the drive out. Screw your new drive in, slide the caddy in, and finally replace that fancy screw.
The next step is to reinstall the PlayStation System Software. For this step, you will need a USB drive with 1GB of free space, and the PS4UPDATE.PUP file from the official Sony website. Connect the flash drive to your PC and create a folder called PS4, and inside that create a folder called UPDATE. Copy the PS4UPDATE.PUP file to the UPDATE folder.
Turn off your PS4. If the power indicator is illuminated orange, touch and hold the power button for at least seven seconds (until the console beeps a second time). Plug in the USB drive, and then hold the power button for seven seconds to start the PS4 in safe mode.
Select Update System Software from the menu that pops up, and then follow the on-screen wizard to restore your PS4 to an operational state. The restoration process will take at least a few minutes.
If you need help with upgrading or replacing your PS4 hard drive, the video embedded above can walk you through the process.
After installing a new hard drive and running the system restore process, you will be rocking a completely blank console. You’ll have to key in your Wi-Fi details, sign back into your PSN account, and re-download and re-install games. For this reason, if you’re planning to upgrade your PS4 hard drive, it’s probably a good idea to do it before you download and install games, preferably just after you unbox it for the first time.
If you’ve performed a PS4 hard drive upgrade/replacement, or if you’ve found a particular HDD or SSD that works well with the PS4, let us know in the comments section below. And for more on the PS4, see our Xbox One versus PlayStation 4 speed showdown, where we look at which is the fastest console, and we also have an article on the best PlayStation 4 launch games.