Upgrading Console and Mobile Gaming Storage


Our increasing appetite for improvement has been a driving factor in everything we make and do, and video games are a great example. At the start, characters were blocky, environments were… lacking, to say the least, but that didn't stop us from enjoying what we had. As games have slowly improved, the space needed to store all the textures, shaders, audio files, and everything else has increased, as well. Nowadays, some games easily require a minimum of 100GB of space, which is quite a lot, but perhaps necessary when you consider future patches and the number of games we play. So, to keep up, we must increase our storage capacities. Whether you're playing on a PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, or smartphone, we've got you covered. (PC gamers, check here.)

PlayStation 4 / PlayStation 4 Pro

Upgrading the internal storage of your PlayStation 4 is straightforward and doing so will not void your warranty. Before you do, though, you should know that the PlayStation 4 supports 2.5" SATA II drives up to 9.5mm tall, whereas the PlayStation 4 Pro supports SATA III. Once you've picked out a HDD, SSHD, or SSD, move on to the steps below.

Back Up Saved Data

  1. Connect a USB storage device to the system and select (Settings) from the function screen.
  2. Select [Application Saved Data Management] > [Saved Data in System Storage] > [Copy to USB Storage Device]
  3. Select a title.
  4. Press X to add a checkmark in the checkbox for the saved data you want to copy, and then select [Copy].

Don't forget that to back up your saved data, the system software must be updated to the latest version and you must be signed in to the PlayStation Network.

Replacing the Drive

  1. Make sure the PS4 is turned completely off. When the power indicator is off, the system is completely off. If the power indicator is lit up in orange, the system is in standby mode.
  2. Unplug the AC power cord, remove it from the power outlet, and then disconnect the other cables from the system.
  3. With the front of the system facing you, slide the HDD bay cover to the left to remove it.
  4. To extract the hard drive, remove the screw that secures the drive caddy to the chassis, and pull the hard drive toward the front of the system.
  5. Using a Phillips screwdriver, remove the screws that secure the drive caddy to the drive—there are four of them. Do not remove the rubber inserts from the screw holes.
  6. Place the replacement hard drive on the mounting bracket for the PS4 system's hard drive, and then attach it using the screws.
  7. Attach the HDD to the chassis using the screw that was first removed. Be sure to fully insert the hard drive into the bay, place the system cover back on, and reattach the AC power cord and all other cables to the system.

Installing System Software

After replacing the hard drive, the system software must be reinstalled. Using a computer, save the system software, available on Sony's website, to a USB storage device that has at least 1GB of free space.

Restoring Backed-up Data

You can copy saved data from a USB storage device to the PS4 system by performing the following steps.

  1. Connect a USB storage device to the system.
  2. Select (Settings) from the function screen.
  3. Select [Application Saved Data Management]
  4. Select a title.
  5. Press X to add a checkmark in the checkbox for the saved data you want to copy and then select [Copy].

Again, don't forget that you must be signed in to the PlayStation Network with the same account used when you first backed up the saved data. If you backed up your saved games to the cloud using PlayStation Plus, you may safely restore them now.

Xbox One S / Xbox One X

Although it's possible to replace the internal drive in your Xbox One, it's difficult, takes technical know-how, and voids your warranty; therefore, our easiest solution is to use an external drive. There are a few things to note though: the drive must have at least 256GB of storage, connect via USB 3.0, and the Xbox will only recognize two external drives at one time. Check all three boxes and you're all set with whatever you choose. Whether it's a hard drive or SSD, 1TB or 8TB, etc., just don't forget to format it after. Also, be sure to transfer game data and console settings to a separate drive beforehand to restore them later. (Network transfer isn't mentioned since it requires a separate console.)

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is built with 32GB on internal storage, some of which is reserved for system files, and supports microSDHC and microSDXC cards up to 2TB. Those system files take up maybe sub-10GB of space, leaving you with around 20GB or so. It seems plenty, until you decide to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, or Doom, and you'll quickly realize that it's not enough. While a 2TB microSD card doesn't exist (yet), there are 400GB and even 512GB options for users who simply don't want to deal with physical copies of games, ever. If you plan on using a microSDXC card, make sure you've updated your system. Speed is a factor to consider, as well; however, it might not have that much of a real-world impact for you to go all out. Nintendo recommends a UHS-1 card with transfer rates ranging from 60 to 95 MB/s. As for the physical aspect of upgrading its storage, simply prop up the kickstand to access the slot, pop in the card, and then format it.

SanDisk 400GB Ultra UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card with SD Adapter


If you want more storage on your phone, then it's going to need a microSD card slot. While this slot has been slowly disappearing from recent smartphones, some are still lucky enough to have one. It's still possible to add more storage to a non-microSD-equipped phone using a flash drive via USB Type-C or Lightning, but it's not an ideal solution, especially if you're playing games. Generally, mobile games aren't that large, but some do take up a good amount of room with updates and all, so, when you're picking out a card, get one in a size that fits your gaming habits.

SanDisk 128GB Ultra USB Type-C Flash Drive

Personally, I don't like re-downloading and reinstalling games, so I tend to hoard them in a large-capacity hard drive, which lets me go back to them whenever I want. As for the games that I play more often or ones that I want to load faster, I install them on my SSD. On the mobile front, I use a 64GB microSD card in my Galaxy S8 and back up my photos with Google Photos, for additional room.

How have you been managing your games? Let us know in the Comments section, below.

Don’t forget to check out all of the hard drives and storage solutions available at B&H.Click this link for more information.