How to Permanently Delete Games on the PlayStation 4

As your PlayStation gaming library continues to expand, available storage space becomes a premium. The PS4 base model comes equipped with a 500 GB hard drive, while the PS4 Pro bumps that up to 1 TB. With modern blockbuster games now exceeding 100 GB per title with massive textures, audio, and 4K video, managing what games stay installed at any time is essential.

To make room for the latest releases, revisit older titles, or simply clean house on games you no longer play, permanently deleting those installed files is a necessary chore. This process only takes a few minutes and can free up significant storage space – some titles occupy over 5% of the total available storage!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover how to delete games from your PS4 system storage, home screen library, and associated saved data. Follow these steps below and you’ll soon have plenty of open space for acquiring new games.

Why You Need to Delete Games to Free Up Space

Unlike mobile devices where everything is served from the cloud, PlayStation games run locally off files stored right on your console‘s hard drive. This enables smooth high-fidelity graphics, complex physics, and fast loading times as assets don‘t need to be streamed over the internet.

The trade-off however is limited capacity, as newer AAA games contain gorgeously detailed 4K textures, surround sound audio, and advanced physics that eat up storage space. For reference, here is how the install sizes of popular game franchises have ballooned over the years:

Game FranchiseEarly Install SizeCurrent Install Size
Call of Duty8 GB (Call of Duty 2)175 GB (Modern Warfare 2019)
Grand Theft Auto7 GB (GTA IV)115 GB (GTA V)
Final Fantasy1.8 GB (Final Fantasy VII)100 GB (Final Fantasy XV)

With game disks maxing out at 50 GB and downloads requiring double or triple that, even the PS4 Pro‘s 1 TB drive has room for only 8-10 major titles before needing to delete older installs. Performing this cleanup routinely prevents you from running out of space for that next big purchase!

Step-By-Step Guide to Deleting Games

Now let‘s dive into the step-by-step process for removing games on your PS4. We‘ll cover the quickest method of mass deletion via System Storage first.

Accessing the PS4 Storage Menu

From your PS4‘s home screen, you can access the main Settings menu by scrolling all the way to the right. But directly reaching the Storage area requires navigating a few folder pathways through the interface:

Home Screen –> Settings –> Devices –> Storage

This will display the System Storage management screen:

PS4 System Storage Menu

The Devices category where Storage resides makes sense, as you are configuring drives connected to the system. But if you didn‘t know to look there, it can be tricky to initially find.

Deleting Games from System Storage

With the Storage menu open, you‘ll see a breakdown of used/free space on your PS4 hard drive along with options to manage that content. Here we can directly access and mass delete game install files all at once.

Select the Application Data category, where you‘ll now see a complete list of all games and applications installed on the system:

Application Install List

Use the controller to select titles you want to remove. You can choose Select All to mass clean everything out in one swoop, or manually check the boxes next to individual games.

Once ready, confirm your choices by selecting Delete, then press OK on the prompt to permanently erase those installs from the hard drive.

And voila! Your freed up space counter will adjust in real time as the uninstall process completes in the background.

Troubleshooting System Storage Deletion

On rare occasions, you may find game icons still visible on your PS4‘s home screen launcher even after deleting them from the System Storage menu.

This visual glitch is purely cosmetic and can be dismissed by selecting the icon and choosing Delete from the pop-up menu. The OS will state content is not found and remove the dead launcher link.

Alternative Deletion Methods

Beyond mass uninstalling through System Storage, you can also delete games one at a time directly from the PS4‘s home screen view:

Home Screen –> Highlight Game –> Press Options –> Select Delete

This brings up a confirmation prompt before removing the chosen title. Useful for quick individual deletions!

Clearing Game Save Data

Once you‘ve mass deleted those installed game files for more drive space, it‘s equally important to wipe out the underlying save data those titles rely on. Lingering folders cluttering up space gains you nothing!

Here‘s where to locate and remove saved game data on your PS4:

Home Screen –> Settings –> Saved Data Management –> Delete Data

You‘ll again see a list of all games with existing save files, which you can then mass or individually select to permanently erase.

Why Save Data Backup Is Crucial

Speaking of save data, before ever deleting a played game, you should copy your progress to the cloud or a USB drive, as local PS4 deletions are permanent!

PlayStation Plus members gain online cloud backup of all save states, easily restored later. Alternatively, plug any USB stick into your PS4, head to Settings –> Saved Data Management –> Copy to USB Storage Device.

Don‘t lose hundreds of hours of gameplay – back up your saves first!

Now let‘s examine how you can redownload any deleted digital purchases with ease.

Reinstalling Deleted PS4 Games

Thanks to universal account systems, your PlayStation digital game purchases are retained forever across generations. This enables effortlessly finding and downloading previously-removed titles:

Home Screen –> Library –> Purchased Games

Scroll through your purchase history or use search to locate deleted games. Those available for download will be marked by a downward arrow icon – simply select to queue up a fresh install.

However, be aware game saves do NOT automatically sync from cloud or USB backup upon reinstallation. You‘ll need to manually restore your progress by copying these saves back to the PS4 locally.

With saves restored first, picking up where you left off in redownloaded games is seamless.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may still have some lingering questions about properly removing and managing games across your PlayStation 4‘s lifespan. I‘ll tackle some of the most common queries below:

Do these deletion methods work on any model of PS4?

Yes! Whether you own an original launch console, slim, or PlayStation 4 Pro, the interface for accessing storage management and game deletion is identical across all models.

What about disc-based games? Can those be deleted too?

Absolutely. Insert the physical disc, head to your home screen games library, select the tile, then choose Delete in the pop-up menu. This will erase all installed data which you can reclaim later by reinserting the disc.

What kinds of applications can be deleted through System Storage?

While mainly used for games, the mass delete process outlined above works on ANY apps or programs installed on your console, including video streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and Plex, social platforms like Twitch or Spotify, and any other custom apps published on the PlayStation Store.

Can you retrieve game data if accidentally deleted?

Unfortunately no. Local save data deletions cannot be undone, so make sure to always backup your progress to the cloud or a USB drive for safekeeping prior to uninstalling anything. This protects you from potential data loss.

Closing Thoughts

And there you have it – with the steps provided in this guide, you‘ll be clearing loads of storage space on your PlayStation 4 in no time. Make room for the latest releases, revisit older purchased games, or simply clean up your system by permanently deleting titles, saved data, and captures you no longer need or play.

Did you find this expanded walkthrough helpful? What other PS4 storage management tricks have worked for you? Let me know in the comments below!

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