Although Sony will introduce the PlayStation 5 during the holiday period of 2020, the PS4 Pro stands as an excellent companion to a 4K HDR TV – with its high resolution gaming and upgraded power.
And, while it was first released in 2016, the PS4 Pro is still an amazing, flagship games machine – especially for its price.
So, if you plan to snap up one during Black Friday or for Christmas, here are some of the best tips and tricks for you to discover to make the experience even better.
How to transfer your games, save files and profile from your old PS4
If you’ve upgraded to a PS4 Pro from an original or second generation PS4 you can directly transfer your important data from the old console to the new. That includes users and their settings, games and save files, plus screengrabs and video clips.
You will need at least one Ethernet (LAN) cable and both machines to be switched on at the same time. You also need a lot of patience as the transfer process can take a fair while, especially if you have a lot of games stored on your hard drive.
It is possible to do it over a wireless or wired home network. But, if you do it through the two consoles’ Wi-Fi connections you still need the Ethernet cable to directly hook them together, through their respective LAN ports. Otherwise, if they are both connected to your home network by cable, you don’t need to connect them together.
Once set up correctly and switched on, sign into the PlayStation Network on your PS4 Pro, update the system software to the latest version if necessary, and head to Settings>System>Transfer Data from Another PS4. Follow the instructions and make yourself a cup of tea (or several) while you wait for the process to finish.
How to restore your save files from the cloud
If you are a PlayStation Plus member and have the option to save games online enabled on your older PS4, you can download them back to your new machine in order to simply carry on. If you don’t have that option switched on, head to Settings>Application Saved Data Management>Auto-Upload on your old PS4 and click the checkbox of each game you want to back up to the cloud. Also head to Settings>Power Saving Settings>Set Features Available in Rest Mode and ensure the checkbox for Stay Connected to the Internet is ticked.
Then your machine will backup your saves online automatically, when your PS4 is in sleep mode.
To download them again to your PS4 Pro, head back to Settings>Application Saved Data Management select Saved Data in Online Storage, click on Download to System Storage and you’ll see a list of all the games there are save files available for.
You can download each game’s files individually, even each separate save file for each game if there are several, but for speed you can also tap the Options button and select them all. It’s worth noting however that only the files for games installed on your new system will download. If you install a game afterwards, you’ll have to repeat the process.
How to ensure you are getting 4K and HDR
Hopefully, the PS4 Pro should automatically detect your 4K HDR TV when it first boots up, but if not you can check the settings yourself.
Head to Settings>Sound and Screen>Video Output Settings. Here you can set the resolution (2160p – RGB for 4K HDR) or leave it set at Automatic to adapt on a game by game basis. You can also set your screen size to optimise the view in 3D mode, the RGB Range (although that’s best left at Automatic), HDR and Deep Colour Output. Leave the last two at Automatic.
You can also check your TVs capabilities and output format under Video Output Information.
How to turn your TV on automatically
One cool feature, if you have a compatible TV, is to have the PS4 turn on your set and even turn to the right source as you start up the console. Head to Settings>System and ensure that the checkbox for Enable HDMI Device Link is ticked.
How to upgrade the hard drive to 2TB or more
Like with all PlayStation 4 models, you can upgrade the internal hard drive in the PS4 Pro to either make use of larger storage space or faster access (using a solid state drive, for example).
We outline the steps here, which are generic for all PlayStation 4s, but you will find the PS4 Pro’s drive hidden under a flap on the right-hand side of the rear of the machine.
The things to remember most when buying a new drive for your new console is that not only does it need to be a 2.5-inch HDD, it cannot be more than 9.5mm in depth. Many 2.5-inch drives are too fat to fit into the caddy and therefore the console.
Once you’ve swapped out the drive, you will need to reinstall the latest system software through USB. Download the full software (not the update edition) here, found under “Perform a new installation of the system software”. Pop it on a USB drive in folders PS4>UPDATE and insert that into the PS4 Pro when asked.
You can also extend your storage space through the use of an external USB 3.0 hard drive with a capacity of up to a mammoth 8TB. A drive, such as the Seagate Game Drive PS4 edition, can be plugged into one of the available USB ports on the console but you might have to format it before use.
Plug it in, head to Settings>Devices>USB Storage Devices, select the external drive and choose “Format as Extended Storage”.
If you want to use the external drive as the default for game installation, you need to head to Settings>Storage, press the Options button then select Application Install Location>Extended Storage.
How to link a Bluetooth headset
If you don’t want to use wired headphones or a gaming headset, either of which can be plugged into the DualShock 4 controller, you can just link any Bluetooth ‘phones or headset to your PS4 Pro.
Head to Settings>Devices>Bluetooth Devices and if you have your desired headphones in pair mode they should be seen by your console and appear on this screen. Just follow the on-screen instructions to finish the process.
You might need to select the designated audio device before you game. Head to Settings>Devices>Audio Devices>Output Device and select the headset you want to use. If you want to use your TV speakers or other speaker system, don’t forget to go back in and change it back again.
Can you get HDR when the PSVR is connected?
In order to feed both your TV and the PlayStation VR images, you have to connect a PSVR Processor Unit to your PS4 Pro via HDMI and use a separate HDMI connection to your TV.
The first model of the PSVR – released in 2016 – is compatible with 4K so can passthrough 2160p images, but it is not compatible with HDR. That means, if you want to make use of HDR pictures on compatible games you have to unplug the Processor Unit and connect your console directly to the TV whenever you are not using the VR headset.
The more recent PSVR model released at the end of 2017 (the one with built-in headphones) does come with a Processor Unit compatible with HDR passthrough. Unfortunately, the older PSVR headset is not compatible with the new Processor Unit.
How to download games remotely to play when you get home
There are few things worse than buying a brand new game online and then having to wait for hours in order for it to download. Most PS4 games will allow you to play part of the game before the rest has downloaded – represented by a shorter download bar on the user interface – but that can often be a very truncated experience.
You can however buy and set games to download to your PS4 Pro remotely. If you Stay Connected to the Internet ticked in Settings>Power Save Settings>Set Features Available in Rest Mode and have your console in sleep mode rather than completely switched off, you can set downloads to automatically install on your machine through an internet browser or the official PlayStation App.
Using the app for iOS or Android, you can access the PlayStation Store, click on the profile icon on the top right, then on Download List and you’ll see all your purchases past and present. Click Download to your PS4 on any of them and they will do so automatically.
It is similar when using a browser. Head to store.playstation.com, sign into your PSN account and you will find the Download List option by clicking on your username in the top right-hand corner.
How to get free PlayStation 4 games
There are a number of games on the PlayStation Store that are free-to-play, often with in-app purchases but fully playable without having to spend cash. Also, if you are a PlayStation Plus member – which costs £6.99 a month, £19.99 for three months or £49.99 for a whole year’s subscription and is required for online play – you get two PS4 games each month as part of your membership.
How to play your PS4 games on PC, Mac, iOS or Android
One of the coolest features of the PS4 in general has been improved for PS4 Pro. You can play your PS4 games in 1080p on remote devices, including a PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet.
You will need a spare DualShock 4 controller (and a wireless USB adapter if you aren’t using one of the new versions with the extra light bar), but if you download the app for Windows or Mac you can mirror your PS4 Pro screen and play any games as if they were running directly on your console and TV (just downscaled to Full HD if they are usually 4K).
Download the app for your computer here, then enable Remote Play on your console. Head to Settings>Remote Play Connection Settings then tick the checkbox for Enable Remote Play.
Now that iOS and Android both support Bluetooth pairing for the DualShock 4, you can use the controller with the PS4 Remote Play app for either.
Find out how to set it up on iOS here. It is a similar experience on Android.
You can also start Remote Play while the PS4 Pro is in rest mode by heading to Settings>Power Saving Settings>Set Features Available in Rest Mode on the console. Select the checkboxes for Stay Connected to the Internet and Enable Turning On of PS4 from Network.
How to play your existing PS4 games in 4K HDR
Developers and publishers have enhanced most of their games to make use of 4K, HDR and/or better frame rates when played on a PS4 Pro.
Ensure a replacement HDMI cable is premium quality
The HDMI cable that comes with the PS4 Pro is optimised to carry a full 4K HDR video signal, with HDCP 2.2 copy protection and surround sound. Not all HDMI cables are as capable though and if you need a longer lead, for example, make sure it is labelled as “premium” or “high speed”. Even better, ensure that it has 4K-ready on the packaging.
It is not recommended you make do with an older cable, such as the one that came with your original PS4, as that might not be capable of the bandwidth required for 4K Ultra HD and HDR signals.
Get improved Share Play streaming
Like with Remote Play, the PS4 Pro offers better Share Play functionality when used as the host machine. It is able to send 1080p video rather than 720p, as on a normal PS4. Even if the other user is playing on a regular PlayStation 4, the signal will transmit at 1080p when sent from a PS4 Pro.
Of course, you need a good enough internet connection to ensure the resolution and performance is stable. A wired connection and at least 15Mbps broadband is recommended.
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