How to Expand Your PS5’s Storage Space

It doesn't take long to burn through the PS5's built-in storage space. Here's how you can give yourself some more storage room when the inevitable happens.

PlayStation 5
Photo: Sony

Video games are getting bigger and bigger. Sure, some developers are masters of minimizing disk space, but some new releases are demanding as much as 150 GB of SSD space. As we enter the busy season for such new releases, you’ll probably find yourself quickly running out of space. So unless you plan on deleting a ton of games (or a few, depending on their size), you’ll probably want to eventually expand your PS5’s storage space. So how do you do that?

The most obvious solution to any PS5 storage space woes is to buy an additional M.2 SSD. These are the same SSDs you can insert into a PC (assuming you have the correct motherboard) to expand their storage capacity. However, like PCs, the act of installing an SSD into a PS5 is a somewhat complicated process.

First, you have to get rid of any errant static electricity. Then, unplug the console and place it on the side with the PlayStation logo facing down. Next, lift up and slide the cover toward the bottom of the console to expose the expansion slot cover. Unscrew the slot with a #1 Phillips Screwdriver, and unscrew the screw inside the slot. Slide the SSD into the slot, taking care to insert it into the notch on the far end, and gently and firmly press down on the component. Screw it in, and then close the SSD slot and console up. Assuming you did everything correctly, you should have successfully expanded your PS5’s storage space.

Unlike PCs, the PS5 can’t just take any M.2 SSD. Because of how the slot is structured, it can only accept SSDs with a Key M socket and a maximum width of 25mm (and 11.25mm thickness). As for the length, the slot’s screw holes are spaced out to secure either a 30, 40, 60, 80, or 110mm SSD. Most important of all, the SSD needs a heat sink and heat transfer sheet. You can either attach them yourself or buy an SSD that already has them. Just know that M.2 SATA SSDs don’t work.

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If you don’t like the idea of opening your PS5, then an external hard drive might be more your speed. These handheld storage devices are far less expensive than SSDs and also generally sport more storage. If you know where to look, $150 can buy you 8 TB of storage. Just plug the HDD into a USB port on the back of the PS5 (not the front) and format it in the Settings menu. Once that’s done, just pick any game you want in your games library, press the options button, select “Move Games and Apps,” and pick the external drive.

Overall, external drives are much less painful than inserting an SSD into a PS5, but even this storage solution comes with caveats. Most notably, you can’t play PS5 games off external drives. These titles require an SSD, so if you transfer them to an HDD, you need to place them back on your console before you can play. Thankfully, this limitation doesn’t extend to PlayStation 4 games. Since you can play these titles off an external drive, if you have a bulky backlog of PS4 titles, you might want to buy an HDD just so you can store them on it and reserve SSD space for PS5 games. Also, make sure that the HDD uses at least SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps. While some companies produce external SSDs, the PS5 probably can’t run games off them.

PlayStation Plus offers another fairly painless storage solution. The subscription service’s benefits include an additional 100 GB of PS4 saved data and 100 GB of PS5 saved data. It might not be enough to keep you from having to delete a game, but it should be enough to get you out of a small bind.

If worse comes to worst (or you just can’t buy an additional SSD or HDD), and you still need that extra bit of storage space, you can just delete stuff you don’t need. You don’t necessarily have to delete games (although that’s always an option), since you may be able to safely trash optional content in games. Check if that’s an option by highlighting a game, pressing the options button, and selecting Manage Game Content. Alternatively, while exploring your PS5’s storage tab, select any game, choose “Select Items to Delete,” and then scroll down for any games with an icon to their right. Depending on what you find, you might be able to get rid of extraneous modes or content while keeping the main game intact.

While games take up the most storage, they aren’t the only space hogs. The PS5 also has an annoying tendency to record gameplay footage and save it whenever you earn a trophy. These add up over time, but you can turn them off in the Auto-Captures portion of the Captures and Broadcasts settings menu. Then, just delete the ones that your PS5 already saved, and bam, extra storage.