The PlayStation 5 (PS5) will load and play your PlayStation 4 (PS4) games and save files, provided you import them from one console to the other. Here’s how to transfer all of your old data.
If you’re the owner of a PS5 and a PS4, then you can make the transition between consoles easily. Not only are all but a handful of PlayStation 4 games compatible with the PlayStation 5, but you can also transfer your saved games to your new console.
There are multiple ways to transfer saves and game data between the two consoles, and which one you choose comes down to convenience as well as your tolerance for extra wires. Note that this refers to saved data and digital game downloads. If you have a standard PS5 and a PS4 game disc, you can insert the disc into the PS5’s disc drive, and the game will install automatically.
Transfer Data via the Internet
The PS5 offers something called “Data Transfer,” which, as the name suggests, lets you transfer all data from your old console to your new one. This is done via an internet connection, and you can either complete the whole thing wirelessly or by using ethernet cables.
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you’re signed in to the same PlayStation account on both consoles—you can do this by going to the Settings menu on each console and checking your “Account” details.
Then check that both consoles are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. You can also do this from Settings by going to the “Network” menu.
You can connect the consoles to the same network either wirelessly or via ethernet cables. Either way will work, but wireless transfer might take longer. You can speed up the process by connecting the consoles to each other with a single ethernet cable.
Once the consoles are on the same network, go to “Settings” in your PS5 again. Then go to System > System Software > Data Transfer.
When you select this last option, the PS5 will show more information about what data will be moved from your PS4, and will tell you that it won’t be removed from your PS4.
You’ll then be asked to prepare for the data transfer by making sure that both of your consoles are turned on and connected to the same network.
When you hit “Continue,” you’ll be given a five-minute countdown. You’ll have to press your PS4’s power button for one second until it beeps before the countdown ends.
Once it does, you’ll see a list of the saved data on your PS4’s console storage. Select which you’d like to transfer, if not all.
You’ll find a similar list of games and apps to transfer on your PS5. Again, select which ones you’d like to transfer or select all.
The PS5 will give you an estimated time that it will take to transfer the saved data. This will be done in the foreground, meaning you can’t use the PS5 until it’s done. Once it is, you can use the PS5 while the games and apps download in the background.
When the data transfer is complete, the games will appear on your main menu and your saves will be in your console storage.
This is your one-stop-shop for transferring games and saved data between your console storage. While it won’t transfer anything on extended storage, it is a great way of moving everything on your PS4 quickly and easily to your new console.
Transfer Saves via PlayStation Plus
If you have a PlayStation Plus subscription, then you have another option for moving your saved data from one console to another.
Again, you’ll need to ensure that you’re logged in to your PlayStation Plus account on both consoles. You can do this by going to the “Settings” menu and double-checking the “Account” menu to make sure that your username is the same on both consoles.
To move your saves, go to Settings > Application Saved Data Management.
These settings will let you control how to transfer saved data between the system storage, the online cloud storage you get with PS Plus, and a USB device (more on that later). Select “Saved Data in System Storage.”
From there, choose “Upload to Online Storage.” This option has a little PlayStation Plus symbol next to it.
You’ll see a list of all the games for which you have saved data. Selecting one game will show you a list of every single save you have in the game. You can choose to transfer all or just specific saves.
This process will also alert you if these saves are already uploaded to the cloud. PlayStation Plus frequently syncs saves, so you may not have to repeat the process manually.
Once you’ve uploaded all the saves you wish to the cloud, turn on your PS5 and download the game of your choice.
Then go to Settings > Saved Data and Game/App Settings.
From there, scroll down to “Saved Data (PS4),” then select “Cloud Storage” from the submenu. It’ll have a little PS Plus symbol next to it.
Select “Download to Console Storage.”
From the list that pops up, select the PS4 saves(s) you wish to save, then hit “Download.”
When you boot up the PS4 game in question on your PS5, your saves will be there waiting for you.
Transfer Games With an External HDD
If you have an external hard drive, then you’re in luck, as this method of transferal is one of the easiest and requires minimal effort.
Before you unplug the hard drive, make sure that all the PS4 saves and games you wish to transfer are on it. To do this, turn on your PS4 and go to the Settings menu.
Find the “Storage” menu, then select “System Storage.” Your external HDD should be here as “Extended Storage.”
Once in “System Storage,” you’ll find your games under “Applications.” Select this menu and see a list of the games installed on your PS4’s internal storage.
Press the Options button on your DualShock 4, which is found on the top right of the controller’s trackpad. Then select “Move to Extended Storage” from the menu that appears on the right side of the screen.
The screen will then change to a checklist, allowing you to select which games you want to move to your external hard drive. Once you’ve selected all the items you wish to transfer, select the “Move” button. This menu will also tell you how large the amount of data to be transferred will be.
You’ll then see a screen that shows you the progress of the transfer. Depending on how many games you’re transferring, this may take some time.
Once you have all the games you wish to transfer on your external hard drive, turn the PS4 completely off, unplug the external hard drive, and plug the drive into the PS5. The USB ports on the rear of the PS5 are ideal, as they free up the USB ports on the front of the console for the DualSense charge cord.
All you have to do now is turn the PS5 on. The PS5 will recognize the hard drive as extended storage, and the games will then be playable on the PS5. Be aware that some digital downloads might need to update, and your disc-based games will still require you to insert the disc to update them.
To find the games on your extended storage (assuming that none show up in the main menu), go to your “Game Library” on the far-right side of your PS5’s home screen.
Switch to the “Installed” tab and scroll down. The games installed on the console storage will appear first, but below that will be the games on extended storage.
This method also allows you to put your PS4 saves and games on the PS5 without them taking up any internal storage space. The PS5’s internal storage is fairly limited, so simply moving the PS4’s games over via data transfer or the cloud may take up too much space to allow for PS5 games to be installed.
Transfer Saves via USB
Similar to the above, you can transfer saved data from your PS4 to your PS5 via an external device—in this case, a USB stick.
Select “Application Saved Data Management” in the Settings menu. It’s worth noting that the PS4 won’t copy saves to anything formatted as “extended storage,” meaning that you can’t transfer your saves to an external HDD like the one mentioned above.
Select the option to “Copy to USB Storage Device.” Select the data that you want to move from the list of games that pops up. As mentioned above, you can move multiple saves from a single game.
Select the saves of your choice, then hit “Copy.” This will put the games on your USB device.
To safely remove the USB device, go to the “Devices” menu in “Settings,” navigate to the “USB Storage Devices” submenu, and select the device in question. Finally, choose “Stop Using This USB Storage Device.” You can then safely remove it from the PS4.
Next, plug the USB device into your PS5 and go to “Settings.” Scroll down to “Saved Data and Game/App Settings.”
From there, go to “Saved Data (PS4)” and select “USB Drive.”
Then, “Copy to Console Storage.”
If the game hasn’t already been downloaded to the PS5, the saved data will be called “Non-Installed Game or App,” but you can copy it to the console regardless. The saves will be there when you install and boot up the game.
Now you can safely make the transition from one console generation to the next without losing either a game or a save. If you’d like to find out how to make the switch from an Xbox One to an Xbox Series console, you can check out our article on the Series X/S’s backward compatibility.