How to Back Up and Restore PS4 Save Data

A Sony PlayStation 4 console with a DualShock 4 controller.Anthony McLaughlin / Shutterstock

Whether you’ve saved 10 hours or 100 hours to play a game, start over because something happened to the backup file is heartbreaking. Don’t let this happen to you! Back up your PS4 backup data and save yourself the pain.

Why back up your saved data?

Suppose you are playing a game with a known problem that has not yet been fixed. This particular problem causes crashes which some people believe could corrupt the backup data. You have read the horror stories on Reddit and Twitter and want to take steps to protect your backup data.

By manually backing up your backup file, you can take a snapshot of your progress at a certain time. Then, even if the worst happens, you won’t lose any progress since the last snapshot. It’ll still bite, but it’s better than a complete overhaul.

Now imagine that you turn on your PS4 one day only to find an error on the screen. The system indicates that the hard drive is corrupt and must be formatted if you want to use your console. You have just lost your entire backup data library.

A fire, flood, or other type of sudden hardware failure can make your hard drive useless. With automated online backup, when you finally have your console up and running, your backup data will be waiting for you.

And if you stay with a friend and want to get into a game where you stopped at home. With Sony cloud backups, you can simply log into your PSN account and upload your backup file. When you’re done playing, you can also download your updated save file so you don’t lose your progress when you play at home again.

Backing up your backup data and, by extension, your progress, gives you peace of mind. It’s also handy to have on-demand backup file downloads in case you need them.

Automatic backup of PS4 data in the cloud

To automatically back up your backup data to the cloud, you must subscribe to PlayStation Plus. You can then do this through the PlayStation Store or the PlayStation Plus icon on the PS4 home screen. In the United States, the service is $ 59.99 per year or $ 9.99 per month. With a subscription, you also get two free games per month and the ability to play online

If you’ve already subscribed to PlayStation Plus, cloud backups are probably already enabled. You can store up to 100 GB of backup data in the cloud.

However, you can only download backup data automatically from your main console. If you only have one PS4, you don’t have to worry about it. If you play on multiple consoles, you can make it a main PS4 for your account by going to Settings> Account Management> Activate as main PS4.

Then make sure your console stays connected to the Internet each time you activate the sleep mode. This ensures that the console can complete the download as soon as you finish playing. To activate it, go to Settings> Energy saving settings> Define the functions available in idle mode> Stay connected to the Internet.

Now make sure that the “Activate automatic downloads” option is activated under Settings> Management of saved applications data> Automatic download. If already activated, your backup library is already secure in the cloud. You can also specify automatic download settings for specific games if desired.

When you activate this setting for the first time, you may have to wait a few hours for all of your backup data to be uploaded to the cloud. It depends entirely on the amount of data you have and the download speed of your Internet connection.

Manual backup of PS4 data in the cloud

You can also manually upload backups to Sony servers. If you’ve turned on automatic downloads, you can probably leave that alone and let your PS4 manage it.

The main reason why you can download backups manually is if you are playing on a PS4 that is not set as your main console. If you want to maintain progress on multiple consoles, you will need to manually download the backup files stored on other PS4s.

Manual download is very simple, but you can do it in two ways. If the game is on the Home screen, highlight it, and then press the Options button. Select “Download / download saved data”. From there, you can choose “Download All” or “Select and Download” if you want to download a specific backup file.

You can also access these options via console preferences. Just head to Settings> Manage application saved data> Data saved in system storage, then choose “Download to online storage”.

Wait for the PS4 to read the disc (this may take a minute or two), then select the game you want. You can also click on Options and choose “Select multiple applications” to download entire folders instead.

When you import a backup file, you will be asked if you want to replace the corresponding files that exist in the storage. Not all games support multiple backup files, but many do. If you are playing a game with only one save file, you need to make sure that the version you download is the one you want to keep.

Backup PS4 data to USB for free

If you don’t have PlayStation Plus, you can still back up your backup data manually. You will need a spare USB stick. Make sure it’s empty, as the PS4 may need to format the player before you can use it, which will erase the content.

You can also format the USB key in exFAT or FAT32 (NTFS and APFS will not work) beforehand if you wish. You can do this on Windows or in “Disk Utility” on a Mac.

First, connect the USB drive to one of the USB ports on the front of your PS4. Then go to Settings> Manage application saved data> Data saved in system storage> Copy to USB storage device. If you don’t see this option, make sure the USB drive is fully inserted and properly formatted.

Wait for the PS4 to scan your player. On the next screen, you can select an individual game, highlight all the files you want to save, and then select “Copy.”

If you want to back up multiple apps, press Options, then choose “Select Multiple Apps” to copy entire folders of backup files for multiple game titles.

Manual USB backups are the best protection against single backup files that are corrupted. If a corrupted backup file is automatically sent to PlayStation Plus, you will lose the old (uncorrupted) version. You can also turn off automatic downloads, but that puts your other backup files at risk.

You never know when something goes wrong. However, if you are playing a game with a known problem (or one that crashes a lot), manual USB backups are worth it. Then, if something is wrong and your cloud backup file is not good, you can manually restore and lose less progress.

Restore data backup from cloud or USB

Restoring your backup data manually is easy: simply go to Settings> Manage saved application data. There, you can choose “Data saved in online storage” or “Data saved on a USB storage device”. Select the source from which you want to copy the data, then select “Download to system storage”.

On the next screen you will see a list of games. Press the Options button on your controller to use the “Select multiple applications” option and restore multiple games at once. You can also select a specific game and restore specific backup files if you prefer. Select “Download / Copy” and your backup data will be restored.

Can you share PS4 backup files?

Your backup data is linked to the PlayStation Network account on which it was created, not to the console. This means that you can download and transfer your backup data to any other PS4, as long as the same account exists on that console.

However, it also means that you cannot share backup files with other players – they are only accessible to you.

Looking for more PlayStation advice? Learn how to speed up your PS4 downloads so your games update faster.

RELATED: How to speed up downloads from your PlayStation 4

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