How to Customize Your PlayStation 4’s Privacy Settings

Sony’s PlayStation 4 has a social media-style dashboard. Your friends can view your PlayStation activity along with your real name, and your account may be discoverable to your Facebook friends if you’ve linked your PlayStation 4 with Facebook.

You can manage these privacy settings in your PlayStation 4’s Settings screen, tweaking them to whatever you’re comfortable with.

To access these settings, head to your PlayStation 4’s home screen, press “Up,” scroll to the right, and select the “Settings” icon.

Select “PlayStation Network/Account Management” on the Settings screen to access your account options.

Manage Facebook and Other Social Media Accounts

Select “Link with Other Services” to control whether your PlayStation 4 is linked with social media services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Dailymotion.

From here, you can choose the services that are linked with your account. These services primarily allow you to post screenshots and video clips to your social media pages, and the PlayStation 4 won’t share anything without your permission. However, sign into Facebook and your Facebook friends will be able to find your PlayStation 4 account.

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You can customize exactly how Facebook integration works in the privacy settings, but you can also choose to unlink your Facebook account here if that bothers you. Or, if you haven’t set up Facebook integration yet and would like to, you can select “Facebook” here to sign in on Facebook.

Only master account holders can link social media accounts, not users of sub-accounts.

Manage Your Privacy Settings

Select “Privacy Settings” on the PlayStation Network/Account Management screen to access your PlayStation’s privacy settings.

You’ll have to provide your PlayStation Network account’s password to continue.

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll see four categories: Sharing Your Experience, Connecting with Friends, Managing Your Friends List and Messages, and Protecting Your Information.

Sharing Your Experience

The Sharing Your Experience screen controls who can see your PlayStation 4-related activities. There are two options here: Activities and Trophies.

Activities show what you’re doing on your PlayStation 4. This includes which games you play, which videos you watch, and which trophies you earn in video games. By default, “friends of friends” can view this information. This means people you’re friends with and people they’re friends with. However, you can restrict it to just friends or no one at all–or even let anyone view this information.

On a PlayStation, “trophies” are the equivalent of achievements on platforms like Microsoft’s Xbox and Valve’s Steam. You earn them for making progress in games, completing games, and other accomplishments. By default, anyone can see the trophies you’ve earned. However, you can restrict this information to friends of friends, only friends, or no one at all. You can also choose to exclude trophies from specific games if you don’t want your friends knowing you’ve played a specific game.

Connecting With Friends

The Connecting With Friends screen controls who can send you friend requests, who can see your real name, whether people can find your PlayStation account by searching for your real name, and who your PlayStation recommends you connect with.

By default, anyone can send you a friend request. Only close friends of your close friends–that is, friends who’ve accepted a friend quest and been given permission to see your real name–will be able to see your real name and profile picture. No one can find you by searching for your real name. Your PlayStation 4 will only recommend you connect with close friends of your close friends.

These settings are fairly private by default, but you can choose to make them less so. You could let people find you by searching for your real name if you want to be more discoverable to people who know you, and share your real name with more gamers. Or, you could tighten them, preventing people from sending you friend requests and ensuring your real name doesn’t appear on other people’s consoles at all.

If you’ve connected your PlayStation 4 with your Facebook account, you can also adjust whether your PlayStation Network account is recommended to your Facebook friends through the “Players You May Know” feature.

Managing Your Friends List and Messages

The Managing Your Friends List and Messages screen controls who can view your friends list and who can see your real name and profile picture in games. It also controls who can send you friend requests, requests to watch your gameplay, and messages.

By default, friends of friends can view your friends list and only close friends can see your real name in games. Anyone can send you a friend request or message, while only friends can send a request to watch your gameplay.

You can adjust these settings from here–for example, you could restrict your friends from viewing your friends list and make it private. If you don’t want to receive messages from people who aren’t your friends, you could have your PS4 allow incoming messages only from friends.

The “Friend Requests” option here is the same option as on the Connecting With Friends screen above. It’s just duplicated here to make it easier to find, as it make sense in both sections.

Protecting Your Information

The Protecting Your Information screen gives you a single screen that makes it easy to control where your real name appears, and who can find you through recommendations.

If you’ve gone through the above sections, you’ll notice that this screen just contains the same options offered on the above screens. These personal-information-related settings are located in a single place so you can easily find them and change them all at once.


Lots of these features depend on who you’re friends with. To access your friends list, visit the PS4’s home screen, press the “Up” button to access the row of icons on top of the screen, and select “Friends.” You can view your friends list, remove friends, search for friends, and add them from here.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Twitter.