How to Clear up Space on Your PS4 Hard Drive

Keeping PS4 Hard Drive Clean

When you buy the PS4, you get a 500GB hard drive with it. Back in the days of the PS3, a hard drive that size could hold a ridiculous amount of games, but these days that number (equivalent to half a terabyte) isn't so big anymore. You see, back in the days of the PS3, not every game had to install, and the ones that did were maybe five or six gigs at the most.

The PS4 on the other hand has to install each and every game. It doesn't matter if you have a digital or physical copy, the file size is still the same. How big you ask? Well if you own a PS4, you know that a good amount of games can take up 50GBs before any DLC. With a season pass or DLC, I've had games on my PS4 take up as much as 70GBs of space! One game, and all of a sudden my hard drive has a huge chunk of space taken out of it. What's a gamer to do?

While you can indeed replace the hard drive on your PS4, it can be expensive. If you're like me and you still have the 500GB standard drive, today we'll look at some ways you can conserve space.

5 Ways to Keep Your 500GB PS4 Hard Drive Clean

In a perfect world we would be able to have all of our games installed at once, but even if you had a hard drive with several terabytes of space, you still wouldn't be able to have every single PS4 game on there. There are just too many and they all take up an average of several gigs, if not much more.

Here are five ways to keep your hard drive clean and ready for the next big title:

1. Delete installs for games you're not playing (progress is saved)

I'm the kind of person who may just decide to play Wolfenstein: The New Order or Watch Dogs on any given night of the week because I'm random like that. In order to cater to that need, I like to have as many games installed as possible so if I do decide to play it, I don't have to wait for the install.

That's not realistic, especially if I'm not playing it consistently. Instead, I have to clear out the installations for games I'm not playing. The good news here though is that your saved data doesn't get removed. If you reinstall it, you can pick up where you left off.

A bonus tip here: if a game has a lot of patches, it may be worth keeping installed. Otherwise, when you reinstall, you'll have to download all of the updates again. Some games have one, some have none, so keep that in mind. You can select the game using the options button on the main menu and read the update log if you want to know how many times it's been patched.

2. Keep digital downloads, uninstall physical games.

It's a simple fact of life: discs will always install faster than a digital download. The reasoning has to do with the method. When you put in a disc, all of the data is immediately available to install at the rate which the PS4 reads discs. It's constant, and fast.

On the other hand, when you install a digital game, you're downloading the entire game from the internet. Depending on how fast your internet speed is, and how large the file is, this can take anywhere from a few minutes, to several hours. Keep this in mind when you're cleaning up your hard drive. If you have the choice between a physical and digital game to uninstall, always choose the physical one.

3. Clear out your video/screenshot folders regularly

The PS4 keeps a constant record of your gameplay and allows you save the screenshots and video clips you want. Some of this is dictated by you, some of it is automatic. Either way, it takes up space. Once you upload it YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, or Twitter, it's there. There's no need to keep it on your PS4 anymore.

Check these folders in your PS4 settings regularly and you may just find that you can free up a handful of gigs by clearing them out.

4. Check File Sizes before you download/install

Anytime you go to install something, check the size of it. Physical games will have the install size on the back of the box. Digital games will show the download size in the store before you begin downloading. These are of course, before any patches or updates. Even so, knowing how much space you'll need can help you plan accordingly and make space if needed.

There's nothing more disheartening than putting in a new game, only to be informed that you can't install it until you make space.

5. Don't install DLC until you need it.

Many games these days include a season pass. Usually this entails expansions or extra downloads separate from the main game. Separate is the key word here, meaning you don't need to play it until you've finished the game first. Instead of piling on gigs and gigs of extra content that you won't play for weeks (or months if its The Witcher 3), leave that DLC in your library until you're ready for it.

Don't worry, it's not going anywhere. When you're ready for it, you can jump onto the store and download it free of charge. Once you've entered your code, it's yours.

Final Thoughts

While upgrading your PS4 Hard Drive is the easiest option (and a valid one) it's still not something everyone can do. These five tips should help you manage and free up your space in a way that will allow you to keep a good number of games installed, and limit the time you have to wait for others to reinstall when you need them.

How do you keep your PS4 hard drive clean? What tips do you have? Let us know in the comments below!

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Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date - 10/6/15

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