[PS4 USB Format] How to Format USB for PS4

Tracy King updated on Jan 11, 2024 | Home >Computer Instruction

What Format for PS4 USB?

There are numerous file systems such as NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, GFS, and so many others, so which one should you select?

If you are formatting your USB for your PS4, you should first know what file system to select and format it accordingly. Out of the different types of file systems, FAT32 and exFAT are the two file systems that PS4 accepts. 

What is a File System?

A file system helps computers organize data on any drive; without it, all the files are unorganized and will be difficult to find. But there are numerous types of file systems currently.

If you are using a Mac, it uses APFS (Apple File System), which is its own proprietary file system, and your Windows computer cannot identify or read the drive that is formatted using the APFS file system unless special software is used. And there are also universal file systems that any OS can recognize and read.

So now that you know what a file system is and why it is important, let's take a look at what file system to select to format your USB drive for your PS4 between FAT32 and exFAT.

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File System, File System Format, Types of File System

This page compares four types of common file system formats - NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and EXT2/2/4, and helps you figure out which File system format to use on your storage devices.


The FAT32 file system is used by Windows and it is the successor to FAT16. The FAT32 file system was introduced in 1996 and it is still used to this day.

Being more than two decades old, the FAT32 has serious disadvantages for today's file sizes. If your drive is formatted with a FAT32 file system, the individual file sizes shouldn't exceed 4 GB, which is a big drawback for modern-day uses.


exFAT is one of the latest file systems introduced by Windows in 2006 with much larger individual file size support. Most modern PC storage drives — hard drives and SSDs are formatted using the exFAT file system due to its ability to support large individual file sizes.

Is exFAT the same as FAT32 PS4?

Now, exFAT isn't the same as FAT32, nor should you select FAT32 over exFAT as your file system for the USB drive for your PS4.

Although FAT32 has been in existence for two decades, it is not an ideal file system to select. Game file sizes are usually over 4GB and you should select the exFAT file system when formatting your USB drive.

How to Format USB for PS4?

If you were wondering how to format USB for PS4 exactly, here's how you could do it:

  1. Formatting a USB Drive on PS4
  2. Formatting a USB Drive on a PC
  3. How to Format a Drive on a Mac

Formatting a USB Drive on PS4

Formatting an external drive with the PS4 is a simple process, but formatting an external drive to save backups is a little more complicated.

If you aren't using an external drive to save backups, here's what you need to do:

Step 1: Connect the external drive to your PS4 and open "Settings."

Step 2: Now, select "Devices" and open "USB Storage Devices."

Step 3: Select the option "Format as Extended Storage" to format the external drive as an external storage device.

format as extended storage

Step 4: The PS4 will automatically format using its own file system and encryption.

If you want to use your external drive for saving backups, here's what you need to do:

Step 1: Plug in your external drive and format your drive to exFAT first. Go to "Settings," open "Devices and USB Storage Devices," and select your external drive from the list.

Step 2: Click on the "Options" button. You will see a menu asking what you want to format your drive to. Select "exFAT."

Step 3: Once formatted, or if the drive was already formatted to exFAT, you should open the "Systems" menu.

Step 4: Now open the "Backup and Restore" menu and select what kind of backups you want to save on the external drive by selecting "Back Up PS4."

back up ps4

Formatting a USB Drive on a PC

Here's how to format the USB drive to exFAT using a PC:

Step 1: Plug in your USB drive to the PC and open "File Explorer."

Step 2: Right-click on your USB drive, and click on "Format."

selecting the format option

Step 3: Now select "exFAT" under the "File System" section.

changing into exfat

Step 4: Tick the " Quick Format" checkbox, and then click on the "Start" button.

Step 5: Here's what you need to do if you didn't see the USB drive in the "File Explorer" in the first place:

Step 6: After you plug in the USB drive to your computer, click on the magnifying glass icon on the taskbar.

Step 7: Search for "Create and format hard disk partitions" and open it from the results.

searching for create and format

Step 8: Right-click on your drive and select the Initialize drive option. Follow the prompts accordingly.

Step 9: Once it is completed, in the striped region, choose "New Simple Volume."

Step 10: Follow the prompts until you are prompted with the selection "File System."

Step 11: Choose "exFAT," and then click on "Next," followed by "Finish."

changing file system

Read AlsoFormat A USB Drive That Doesn't Show Up

How to Format a Drive on a Mac

If you are a Mac user and want to format your USB drive to exFAT for your USB drive, here's how:

Step 1: Open Spotlight by pressing the F4 button on your keyboard and searching for "Disk Utility."

search for disk utility

Step 2: Select the USB drive on the left section of the Disk Utility window, and right-click on it.

Step 3: Name the USB drive, and select "ExFAT" as the format and click on "Erase."

selecting format as exfat

📖Read Also: Get More Storage on PS4

More Fix: PS4 Does Not Recognize USB?

If your PS4 fails to recognize your USB device, it could be because your USB drive is formatted to NTFS or a different file system other than the accepted FAT32 and exFAT.

Here's what you need to do to fix this:

  • Formatting your USB Drive to exFAT
  • Check if the USB drive is compatible with the PS4

For more detailed information, click the link below:

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How to Fix PS4 Can't Read USB [2023 Full Guide]

Don't worry if your PS4 is unable to read your external USB drive, as we're going to share solutions that you can try to fix the issue.

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Formatting USB Drive to exFAT

Although the FAT32 file system is accepted by PS4, it is not an ideal file system and you shouldn't format your USB drive to FAT32. It is recommended that you format your USB drive to exFAT. By following the above methods, you can learn exactly how to format your USB flash drive using PS4, PC, and Mac and change it from NTFS to exFAT or FAT32 to exFAT.

Is your USB drive compatible?

If you are using an old USB drive that uses the USB 2.0 architecture, it is possible that your PS4 is unable to properly communicate with it. Although USB 3.0 is backward compatible with USB 2.0, it could be failing to communicate properly with your PS4.

It is better for you to purchase a new USB flash drive from an established manufacturer such as Samsung, Sony, SanDisk, or other established brands.

In the End

The exFAT file system is the latest and most superior file system in existence and is also widely used. If you want to use your USB with your PS4, format your USB drive with the exFAT file system.

And, if for some reason, when connecting the USB drive to the PS4, the PS4 doesn't recognize it, it is failing because either it is not connected properly or it is not formatted to exFAT.

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Updated by Cici

Cici is the junior editor of the writing team of EaseUS. She accepted the systematic training on computers at EaseUS for over one year. Now, she wrote a lot of professional articles to help people resolve the issues of hard drive corruption, computer boot errors, and disk partition problems.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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