Formatting An External Hard Drive For PS4 on MAC — A Complete Guide

If you are a die-hard PS4 fan, you’ll most likely need an external hard drive to store all your favorite video games. PS4 doesn’t have a huge internal storage space, which means if you want to save all those AAA-games, with 50–70GB file size, you’ll need an external hard drive to get the job done.

If you’ve ever used an external hard drive on a PS4, however, you may already know that the console only supports FAT32 or exFat file formats. It means that as soon as you buy a new hard drive to store your games, you’ll first need to format it using one of these two compatible file formats.

While formatting an external hard drive for PS4 is quite easy on a Windows PC, it can become a bit tricky if you’re using a Macbook. And, in case you are new to the entire Apple ecosystem, things can become even more overwhelming. Why? Because unlike Windows, you can’t simply plug-in the hard drive and use the right-click menu to format it on the macOS.

Since macOS has a completely different user interface, you’ll need to follow the exact step-by-step procedure to format the hard drive using a PS4-compatible file format.

So, if it’s your first time using a Macbook, here’s a quick guide on how to successfully format the external hard drive that’s compatible with your PS4.

Formatting an External Drive for PS4 on Mac

macOS comes with a built-in “Disk Utility” feature that’s specifically designed to help Mac users perform various operations on a hard drive. So, to format a hard drive for PS4, you’ll first need to launch Disk Utility.

Step 1 — Click on the “Search” icon at the top-right corner of the desktop and type “Disk Utility”.

Step 2 — Once the “Disk Utility” window opens on your screen, select the external hard drive from the left menu bar.


Step 3 — Click “Erase” and a pop-up window will appear on your screen. Give any name to your hard drive and use the drop-down menu, next to the “Format” option, to select the “ExFAT” file format.

Step 4 — Tap the “Erase” button and wait until your system formats the hard drive in the selected format.

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That’s it; now your hard drive is ready to be used on a PS4 console. Simply move all your favorite games to the hard drive and play them anytime you want.

The Difference Between ExFAT and MS-DOS (FAT)/FAT32

Even though PS4 consoles support both ExFAT and FAT32 file formats, it’s wiser to use the former while formatting a hard drive for PS4. The reason being, FAT32 is a traditional file format that restricts the hard drive from carrying individual files with more than 4GB size.

Given that 4GB is considerably a normal file size in today’s world, you’ll find it quite challenging to perform read/write operations if the hard drive is formatted in MS-DOS(FAT) or FAT 32 file format.

ExFAT, on the other hand, is the advanced version of FAT32, which can store up to 16 exabytes of individual file size. Since PS4 video games usually have comparatively larger file sizes, formatting the hard drive in ExFAT would be the right choice.

Why Do We Need To Format Disk Drives/External Drives Before Using Them?

With too many file formats, many users wonder why they need to format a hard drive before using it. Well, the answer is pretty simple; each system utilizes a different file format to read/write data on different sectors of the hard drive.

For instance, macOS supports the “OS X Extended” file format whereas Windows uses NTFS format to perform read/write operations. And, as we mentioned earlier, PS4 only supports FAT32 or ExFAT file formats. So, to avoid compatibility issues, it’s crucial to format the hard drive using the right file format so that you can easily exchange files between the two devices.

In addition to this, formatting a disk also creates dedicated disk partitions and changes the header information so that it becomes easier for the computer to understand how data is stored on different partitions of the drive.

That’s how you can format an external hard drive for PS4 using your Macbook. So, follow the above-mentioned steps and instantly format your external hard drive so that it can be used on your PS4 console.

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