Is the PS5 compatible with external memory drives?

Updated: Apr 14

Call of Duty Cold War takes close to 190 GB of memory when you install it on your Playstation. It is the latest title in an upward trend in the industry that is creating more and more heavy games. In fact, the average "weight" of a game released today is around 40 to 50 GB.


The Playstation 5 has an internal memory of 825 GB, of which some 667 GB are actually usable. If you want to install more than 12 games on your Playstation, you are going to need some more storage capacity.


What´s the most common way to increase the memory of a device, like a gaming console or PC? Simple, buy an external HDD (hard disk drive) or SSD (solid-state drive). The PS5 itself uses an internal SSD. These little devices can add to the storage capacity of your console by terabytes at a time. They can even increase the loading speed of games installed unto them, or do the opposite if they are not of good quality.


So, can you still use external memory devices to increase the storage capacity of your PlayStation 5?


Do external SSD work with the PlayStation 5?

As of right now, no. The PS5 is incompatible with external solid-state drives. While the console has the architecture to handle external memory drives, Sony´s own internal SSD is quite advanced, capable of loading 2 GB in a third of a second and with a bandwidth of at least 5 Gb/s.


Because their own solution works great, and a not insignificant part of Sony´s reputation rides on the technical prowess of their PS5, any external SSD that´s plugged into the console should be able to match their own, or at least be in the same ballpark.


For that reason, Sony is working on validating and approving external SSD to work with its latest console. While it´s possible that there are some third-party drives that can work with the PS5, there haven´t been any approved by the Japanese company so far.


Until they publish a list of "supported" drives, it is recommended to hold on buying any SSD, as it might cause damage to either the console or the drive itself.


Do external HDD work with the PlayStation 5?



Kind of. You can plug an HDD into your PS5 and the console will recognize it. Any drive will do, even your old Playstation 4 one. If you use it, all your old games will be recognized and updated if needed ...but you can´t store or play Playstation 5 games.


UPDATE: As of the 2021 April update, you can now store PS5 games on external hard drives. However, you still can´t play from the hard drive, you have to copy the games back into the console´s memory to play them.


For the moment, any external memory device connected to the Playstation 5 (even SSD drives) are unable to store, update, or play PS5 games. As we mentioned before, Sony is working on validating drives to work with their console, but right now, not one is (officially) compatible with the titles launched in this generation.


So what can you do if you want more space on your PS5? For now, nothing. Wait until a patch arrives and updates your Playstation firmware so that it may become compatible with externals HDD or SSD.


That said, if you wanted to buy a memory drive to improve load times, there is little need. The internal SSD of the PS5 is quite potent, and more than up to the task when compared to other high-end drives.


And that´s it. If you want to see if the Playstation 5 has backward compatibility with controllers, check out our page here. To learn which headsets work with the PlayStation, there´s this article, or go shopping for accessories on our showcase here!