The PlayStation 5 (PS5) will load and play your PlayStation 4 (PS4) games and save files, provided you import them from one console to another. Here̵
If you own a PS5 and a PS4, you can easily switch between consoles. Apart from a handful of PlayStation 4 games, not only are all 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 and your tolerance for extra cables. Note that this refers to saved data and digital game downloads. If you have a standard PS5 and PS4 game disc, you can insert the disc into the disc drive of the PS5 and the game will install automatically.
Transfer data over the internet
The PS5 offers something called “Data Transfer” which, as the name suggests, allows you to transfer all the data from your old console to your new one. This is done via an internet connection and you can complete it wirelessly or with ethernet cables.
The first thing to do is make sure that you are 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” information.
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 wirelessly or via ethernet cables. Either way works, but wireless transfer can take longer. You can speed up the process by connecting the consoles together with a single Ethernet cable.
Once the consoles are connected to the same network, go to “Settings” on your PS5 again. Then go to System> System Software> Data Transfer.
When you select the latter option, the PS5 will show more information about what data is being moved from your PS4 and let you know that it will not be deleted from your PS4.
You will then be asked to prepare for the data transfer by ensuring that both your consoles are turned on and connected to the same network.
Clicking “Continue” will give you a five minute countdown. You have to press and hold the power button on your PS4 for a second until it beeps before the countdown ends.
Once this is the case, you will see a list of the data saved on your PS4’s console storage. Select which one to transfer, if not all.
You can find a similar list of games and apps to transfer on your PS5. Select again which ones you want to transfer or select all of them.
The PS5 will give you an estimated time it will take to transfer the stored data. This is done in the foreground, which means you won’t be able to use the PS5 until it’s ready. Once it does, you can use the PS5 while the games and apps download in the background.
When the data transfer is complete, the games will appear in your main menu and your saved items will be in your console storage.
This is your one stop shop for transferring games and save data between your console storage. While it doesn’t transfer anything to extended storage, it’s a great way to quickly and easily move everything on your PS4 to your new console.
Transfer saved files via PlayStation Plus
If you have a PlayStation Plus subscription, you have another option to move your saved data from one console to another.
Again, you need to make sure you are signed 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 your username is the same on both consoles.
To move your saved files, go to Settings> Application Saved Data Management.
These settings let you control how you 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’.
There, choose ‘Upload to online storage’. Next to this option is a small PlayStation Plus symbol.
You will see a list of all the games for which you have saved data. When you select a game, you will be presented with a list of every save you have in the game. You can choose to transfer all or only specific save operations.
This process will also notify you if these saves have already been uploaded to the cloud. PlayStation Plus regularly syncs saved files, so you may not have to repeat the process manually.
Once you’ve uploaded all the saves you want 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. Next to it is a small PS Plus symbol.
Select ‘Download to Console Storage’.
From the list that appears, select the PS4 storage (s) you want to save and click ‘Download’.
When you boot the affected PS4 game on your PS5, your saved items will be waiting for you.
Transfer games with an external hard drive
If you have an external hard drive, you’re in luck as this transfer method is one of the easiest and requires minimal effort.
Before disconnecting the hard drive, make sure all the PS4 save files and games you want to transfer are on it. To do this, turn on your PS4 and go to the Settings menu.
Find the ‘Storage’ menu and select ‘System Storage’. Your external hard drive should be listed here as ‘Extended Storage’.
Once in ‘System Storage’ you will find your games under ‘Applications’. Select this menu and view a list of the games installed on your PS4’s internal storage.
Press the Options button on your DualShock 4, which is located at 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 turn into a checklist, allowing you to select which games to move to your external hard drive. Once you have selected all the items you want to transfer, select the “Move” button. This menu will also tell you the amount of data to be transferred.
You will then see a screen showing you the progress of the transfer. Depending on how many games you transfer, this may take some time.
Once you have all the games you want to transfer to your external hard drive, turn off the PS4 completely, disconnect the external hard drive and connect the drive to the PS5. The USB ports on the back of the PS5 are ideal as they free up the USB ports on the front of the console for the DualSense charging cord.
All you need to do now is turn on the PS5. The PS5 recognizes the hard drive as extended storage, and the games are then playable on the PS5. Be aware that some digital downloads may need to be updated 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 none appear in the main menu), go to your “Game Library” on the far right of your PS5 home screen.
Switch to the “Installed” tab and scroll down. The games installed on the console storage will appear first, but below that are the games with extended storage.
This method also allows you to put your PS4 saves and games on the PS5 without taking up internal storage space. The internal storage of the PS5 is quite limited, so simply moving the PS4 games via data transfer or the cloud can take up too much space to install PS5 games.
Save transfer via USB
As above, you can transfer saved data from your PS4 to your PS5 via an external device, in this case a USB stick.
Select “Management of Stored Application Data” from the Settings menu. It is worth noting that the PS4 does not copy saves to something formatted as “extended storage” which means you cannot transfer your saves to an external hard drive as mentioned above.
Select the option ‘Copy to USB storage device’. Select the data you want to move from the list of games that appears. As mentioned above, you can move multiple saves from a single game.
Select the saved files of your choice and click on ‘Copy’. This will place 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 appropriate device. Finally, choose ‘Stop using this USB storage device’. You can then safely remove it from the PS4.
Then connect the USB device to 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 has not yet been downloaded to the PS5, the save data will be called “Uninstalled Game or App”, but you can still copy it to the console. The saves are there when you install and start the game.
Now you can safely transition from one console generation to the next without losing a game or a save. If you want to learn how to switch from an Xbox One to an Xbox Series console, read our article on the Series X / S backward compatibility.