Whether you were lucky enough to snag Sony's new PlayStation 5 on release day, fast enough to grab one when stock resurfaced, or you scored one for Christmas, the important thing is you have one. Congrats, and welcome to the wonderful world of next-gen console gaming! We've collected a few tips and not so obvious features that will help you make the most of your new console.
Looking for accessories to kit out your new system? Check out our Best Gaming Headsets, Best Wireless Gaming Headsets, and Best Gifts for PlayStation Lovers guides for our top picks. If you just want to know more about the PS5, here's exactly what's new.
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1. Learn How to Turn Off the PS5
You may scoff at this first tip. How tough can it be to turn your console off? I certainly didn’t spend 10 minutes trying to find the option, if that’s what you’re suggesting! Turns out you need to press the PlayStation button in the middle of the controller once; don’t hold it down as you would have done on the PS4. After tapping that button, a menu pops up along the bottom of the screen and you’ll see the power icon on the far right. The menu wraps around, so it’s faster to go left.
You can also press the physical power button on the hardware itself, which is at the bottom if you have it vertically or the far left if your PS5 sits horizontally on your media console.
2. Transfer Files and Games From Your PS4
If you’re upgrading from a PS4, then you might want to transfer games, settings, and other files to your new console. You’ll be prompted to do this during setup, but if you skipped it, you can go back and do it later. Before you start, it’s a good idea to have both consoles plugged in side by side and turned on with an ethernet cable to connect them (you can use Wi-Fi, but it will take longer).
When you’re ready, go to Settings on the PS5, then System > System Software. Choose Data Transfer, Continue and pick your PS4. When Prepare for Data Transfer pops up, you need to hold down the power button on the PS4 for a few seconds until it beeps. Pick what you want to move over and choose Start Transfer.
3. See How Long You’ve Played a Game
It's now easier than ever to see how many hours you’ve spent playing PlayStation games. Choose your avatar at the top right on the PS5's home screen and select Profile, then the Games tab. You’ll see total playtime next to each game with trophy progress on the right.
4. Make Sure You’re Playing the PS5 Version of a Game
While it’s great that you can play PS4 games on the PS5, it can create a bit of confusion at times. Certain older titles have been enhanced for the newer console, so you'll want to make sure you're playing the updated version for the best experience. Take a closer look at the game's title on the home screen. Any PS4 version will say PS4 next to it. You can also scroll to the right and choose Game Library, then tap the Sort and Filter icon on the left and filter your games by Platform.
5. Tweak Your Controller Settings
The PS5’s DualSense controller is excellent and represents a real step up from the DualShock 4. The feel of the triggers and the range of vibrations add to the immersion and it changes dynamically in response to the on-screen action. The default settings suit me, but if you want to reduce the vibration intensity or trigger effects, then head into Settings > Accessories > Controllers. Since you can use your old DualShock 4 controllers to play PS4 games on the PS5, there’s also an option here to reduce the brightness of their indicators.
6. Get More Immersive Sound With 3D Audio
A headline feature in the PS5 is 3D Audio, which enables game developers to tie sound effects to everything around you to enhance the illusion you’re actually in the environment, but you need to use headphones or earbuds to take advantage. 3D Audio is turned on by default, so plug headphones into your controller and you should hear the difference immediately, but you will want to calibrate it for your ears via Settings > Sound > Audio Output. Beneath the option to Enable 3D Audio, choose Adjust 3D Audio Profile and pick the one that sounds best to you from the five levels available.
7. Play Astro’s Playroom, Then Delete It
Every PS5 comes with Astro’s Playroom installed and it’s worth checking out. This fun 3D platformer is positively packed with PlayStation references that will give you a dose of warm and fuzzy nostalgia, but it also does a great job of showing off what the new DualSense controller is capable of. When you’re done with it, you can free up almost 11 gigabytes of storage space by finding and deleting it in Settings > Storage > Console Storage > Games and Apps. Don't worry, you can always download it again for free from the PlayStation Store.
8. Get More Storage Space
One of the ways the PS5 improves on the PS4 is with a lightning-fast solid state drive (SSD) for storage. The segmentation of games and a reduction in the need for duplicate data also means that game downloads should be smaller, but you may still fill up the available 667 gigs quite quickly if you play a lot of different games. Sony has promised to activate the internal slot that allows you to add an approved SSD card in the near future. For now, you can plug an external SSD or HDD that supports USB 3.0 or higher, into a USB port on your PS5. The catch is you can only play PS4 games stored on that external drive.
9. Choose Your Game Presets
You can save a little time configuring games for your preferences by going to Settings > Saved Data > Game/App Settings > Game Presets. You can select your preferred game difficulty, choose between performance or graphical quality, and tweak camera movement for first and third-person, which includes the ability to set inverted controls by default.
10. Save Power
Sometimes you get called away from the action and forget you’ve left your console on. To avoid wasting power or draining your controller battery, go to Settings > System > Power Saving. You can decide how long your PS5 should wait before entering Rest Mode and have your controllers turn off after a set time period with no input.
11. Capture Screenshots and Videos (or Don’t)
Sony has baked in the ability to capture screenshots and videos of gameplay as well as the option to broadcast. All you have to do is press the Create button on the left of the controller touchpad. By default, it will take a screenshot if you press and hold it, but you can change this via Settings > Captures and Broadcasts > Captures.
One thing to note is the PS5 automatically captures video and a screenshot of every trophy award. I was surprised to find I had more than 3-gigabytes worth of these in the Media Gallery. To change this or turn it off, go to Settings > Captures and Broadcasts > Trophies.
12. Set Up Remote Play
You'll likely want to set up your PS5 on the big TV in your living room, but this can cause tension when you have guests in and the kids want to play, or if someone wants to watch a movie and someone else wants to play a game at the same time. Remote Play is the solution you’re looking for. You can turn it on via Settings > System > Remote Play. This feature enables you to stream the action from the PS5 to a PS4, a PC, a Mac, or even a smartphone.
13. Guard Against Spoilers
Everyone hates spoilers, yet the PS5's home screen and menus are awash with screenshots that could potentially reveal things about the game you’re playing. To avoid spoilers, go to Settings > Saved Data > Game/App Settings > Spoiler Warnings. You will be warned about things that have been flagged by developers as potential spoilers by default, but you can ramp that up to include everything you haven’t see yet based on your current progress in a game (why isn't this the default?). It only works for PS5 games.
14. Remote Control Your PS5 With the Mobile App
It’s well worth installing the revamped PlayStation App (Android or iOS) on your phone. It gives you access to your profile, allows you to chat with PlayStation Network (PSN) friends, offers the latest news, and lets you browse the PlayStation Store. Even better, you can trigger downloads and updates remotely, manage storage space, and even sign-in and launch games provided your PS5 is turned on.
15. Consider Automatic Updates and Rest Mode
To keep things up to date you should make sure the system and games are set to update automatically. This should be the default behavior, but you can check in Settings > System > System Software Update and Settings. For games, go to Settings > Saved Data and Game/App Settings, and choose Automatic Updates.
When you’re done playing, consider putting the PS5 into Rest Mode instead of turning it off. You’ll find the option by pressing the PlayStation button and choosing the Power icon. When in Rest Mode your PS5 will download updates, charge any controllers that are plugged in, and give you the option to control it remotely via the PlayStation App. You can tweak what Rest Mode does in Settings > System > Power Saving > Features Available in Rest Mode.
Now that you've configured the PS5 to your liking, you can get to playing. Wondering what games you should try? These are the titles Sony has announced so far, including ones that are available now. Happy gaming!