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How to transfer data from a PS4 to a PS4 Pro

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It’s easy, but it could take a while

PlayStation 4 Pro / launch PlayStation 4
The launch PlayStation 4 (right) and the PlayStation 4 Pro.
Scott Nelson/Vox Studios

The PlayStation 4 Pro debuts tomorrow, and although Sony may have a tough time selling the console to people who already own a PS4, that audience certainly exists. In the PS4’s 4.0 firmware, which was released in mid-September, Sony introduced an easy way of transferring the contents of one PS4 to another. Now the company has posted a step-by-step guide to the process on the European PlayStation Blog.

Outside of booting up a fresh PS4 and manually redownloading all your games, apps and save games, or backing up content to an external drive and restoring from that backup, this is the only way to transfer data from one PS4 to another. Sony does not allow users to simply take a hard drive out of one console and pop it into a new one — the system "fingerprints" every drive, and when the console detects that you’ve installed a new one, the first thing it will do is force you to format the drive.

Before you begin, there’s one big thing you should take care of on your current PS4. Go to the trophies section of the dashboard and sync all your trophies to the PlayStation Network, because the data transfer process won’t keep any unsynced trophies. (You’ll also lose all saved passwords, and will have to re-enter them on the new PS4.) In addition, both consoles must have at least v4.0 of the PS4’s system software.

It’s worth noting that the process copies data rather than moving it — the transfer doesn’t erase any data on your original console. However, anything that you’ve already saved to the second PS4 will be wiped in the transfer.

Sony says you’ll need at least one Ethernet cable, although we were able to get the transfer to work with both PS4s connected wirelessly to the same network. You can either hook up the two PS4s together via their LAN ports, or wire each console to your router separately; it doesn’t make a difference in the transfer process, though our PS4 Pro reviewer couldn’t get the transfer to work with the consoles connected to each other. Only the recipient console will need to be connected to your TV, but you’ll need to power on both units and make sure the same PlayStation Network account is signed in on them. (If you’re transferring multiple accounts, you’ll need to sign in to each one.)

Here are the steps in the process. (We’ll refer to the recipient console as the PS4 Pro, since most readers will likely be using this guide to copy data to that system, but the process is the same no matter what kinds of PS4 consoles you’re using.)

PS4 Pro data transfer Sony Interactive Entertainment
  1. When you sign in to your PS4 Pro, it’ll prompt you to transfer data from another PS4. Once the PS4 Pro detects the other console on your home network, you’ll have to hold down the original system’s power button for one second to prepare your data for transfer.
  2. Using one (or two) LAN cables, connect both consoles to each other (or to your router). Then decide what you want to keep. System settings are copied by default. But you can select which applications and games are moved over, and choose whether to transfer save games, PS4 themes, and footage and screenshots captured using the PS4’s share button. Other data that will be transferred: folders that you’ve created, PSN trophy data (as long as you’ve synced it), all PSN messages you’ve sent and received, and profiles of all the PSN users who have signed in to your original console with a PSN ID.
  3. Here, the PS4 Pro will tell you how much free space will remain on the system after the transfer — although Sony put a 1 TB hard drive in the Pro, only about 860 GB is available to users. You’ll also see an estimate of how long the transfer will take.
  4. Lastly, you’ll have to decide whether you want to activate the PS4 Pro as your primary PS4. You can select this option for multiple PSN users.
  5. Once you’ve begun transferring data, make sure you don’t interrupt the process by unplugging any LAN cable or either of the consoles. If that happens, you’ll have to restart the process. (Sony disables the power button in order to help prevent this.)
PS4 Pro data transfer checkboxes Sony Interactive Entertainment

Voilà! You should be good to go with all your data on your brand-new PS4 Pro. For more on the souped-up console, check out our initial impressions of it.