Backing up your PC, smartphone, and other devices ensures you can recover your data in the event of a crash, sudden power outage, or total hardware failure—but not many people considering doing the same for their game consoles. Luckily, 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 like this is different than extending your PS5’s storage with an external drive. While they technically fulfill similar outcomes, the Back Up and Restore features are helpful for offloading data you don’t need immediately available on your PS5, and for recovering in the event of a crash or data corruption.
Extending your PS5’s storage, on the other hand, lets you install (and in some cases, play) games from the hard drive itself, but it requires specific types of hard drives and USB cables. We’ll cover how to extend your PS5’s available storage in a separate post, but for now, let’s cover how to back up your PS5 data.
Backup and restore PS5 data using an external USB hard drive
The PS5’s Back Up and Restore feature works with a wide variety of USB storage devices, but you’ll want to make sure you have enough empty space on your external drive before your begin the backup process.
- Go to Settings > System > Back Up and Restore.
- Select “Back Up Your PS5.”
- Connect your hard drive to the PS5 with a USB cable.
- Select which data to back up. The bar in the lower-right shows how much space the selected data will take up on the external drive.
- Select “Next,” then “Back Up” to begin the process and wait for the data to be copied. To avoid data corruption, do not move, disconnect, or power down your PS5 or the USB drive while the transfer is active.
With your data backed up, you can now disconnect the USB device. It’ll be safely stored in the event you need to restore data from the USB drive. Here’s how to perform a backup if you ever need to:
- Plug the USB backup drive into your PS5, and turn the console on.
- From the PS5’s home screen, go to Settings > System > Back Up and Restore.
- Select “Restore Your PS5.”
- Select the data you want to copy from the drive to your PS5, then follow the on-screen prompts to begin the transfer.
- Wait for the files to copy over. Once again, do not disconnect or turn off your PS5 or the USB drive while the transfer is active.
How to cloud-save data on the PS5
While the USB backups let you create a physical restore point of all your PS5’s data, PS Plus users can also back up their game saves to the cloud. Doing so requires an active PS Plus subscription and for automatic updates to be enabled on your PS5, but the console will automatically back up your saves once the feature is enabled. Here’s how it works:
- On your PS5, go to Settings > System > Power Saving > Features Available in Rest Mode and enable “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 enable “Auto-Sync Saved Data.”
- To enable cloud-save backups for PS4 games installed on your PS5, select “PS4 games,” then turn on “Auto-Upload.”
Once the options are turned on, PS5 save data will automatically sync between the cloud and your console, so you’ll always have the most recent save data available in both places. PS4 data, however, must be manually downloaded to your console from the game’s launch page.