Backing up your PC, smartphone, and other devices ensures that you can restore your data in the event of a crash, sudden power outage, or total hardware failure – but not many people think about doing the same for their game consoles. Fortunately, the PlayStation 5 makes it easy to back up your files to an external USB device, and PlayStation Plus subscribers can safely copy their saved game data to the cloud.
Note that backing up your data this way is different from adding an external drive to your PS5’s storage. While technically producing similar results, the backup and restore features are helpful for unloading data that you don’t need on your PS5 right away and for recovering it in the event of a crash or data corruption.
On the other hand, adding more storage to your PS5 allows you to install (and in some cases play) games from the hard drive itself, but that requires certain types of hard drives and USB cables. We’ll cover how to expand the available storage on your PS5 in a separate post, but for now we’ll cover how to back up your PS5 data.
Back up and restore PS5 data with an external USB hard drive
The PS5’s backup and restore feature works with a wide variety of USB storage devices, but you should make sure you have enough free space on your external drive before starting the backup process.
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- Go to Settings> System> Backup and Restore.
- To choose “Back up your PS5.”
- Connect your hard drive to the PS5 with a USB cable.
- Select which data should be backed up. The bar at the bottom right shows how much space the selected data is taking up on the external drive.
- To choose “Next,” then “To back up” to start the process and wait for the data to be copied. To avoid data corruption, do not move, disconnect, or turn off your PS5 or USB drive while the transfer is active.
After backing up your data, you can now disconnect the USB device. It will be safely saved in case you need to recover data from the USB drive. To do a backup if necessary:
- Connect the USB backup drive to your PS5 and turn on the console.
- Go to on the PS5 home screen Settings> System> Backup and Restore.
- To choose “Restore your PS5.”
- Select the data you want to copy from the drive to your PS5, then follow the on-screen instructions to begin the transfer.
- Wait for the files to be copied. Again, do not disconnect or turn off your PS5 or USB drive while the transfer is active.
How to save data on PS5 in the cloud
While you can use the USB backups to create a physical restore point of all your PS5 data, PS Plus users can also back up their game saves to the cloud. This requires an active PS Plus subscription and enabling automatic updates on your PS5, but the console will automatically back up your game saves once the feature is activated. This is how it works:
- Go to on your PS5 Settings> System> Power saving mode> Features available in sleep mode and activate “Stay connected to the internet.”
- Next, navigate to Settings> Saved data and game / app settings.
- To enable cloud save backups for PS5 games, select PS5 Games> Sync saved data and activate “Automatically synchronize saved data.”
- To enable cloud save backups for PS4 games installed on your PS5, select “PS4 Games” then turn on “Auto Upload.”
As soon as the options are activated, the PS5 save data is automatically synchronized between the cloud and your console, so that you always have the latest save data available in both locations. However, PS4 data will need to be downloaded to your console manually from the game’s home page.