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Why does my PS5 say not enough free space?

If you see this error when trying to download or install a game, it simply means your PS5‘s internal solid state drive (SSD) is full or nearly full. This guide will provide 9 proven solutions to free up storage space on your PS5.

The PS5 has a 825GB internal SSD, but only 667GB is usable for games, apps, media, and system files. As you download more games, DLC packs, and 4K video captures over time, the storage fills up fast.

Don‘t worry – with the right maintenance and upgrades, you‘ll never have to see the dreaded "not enough free space" error again. Let‘s jump in!

1. Check Your PS5‘s Storage Usage

First things first, go to Settings > Storage > Console Storage to see how much free space you have left. This screen shows a detailed breakdown:

  • Games & Apps – storage used by installed games, game updates, and apps
  • Captured Media – space used by saved screenshots and video clips
  • System – reserved for system data and operating system files
  • Other – temporary space that fluctuates during installs

Monitor this screen to see if any category is using way more storage than it should. For most, games and apps eat up the lion‘s share.

2. Uninstall Unused Games and Apps

The biggest PS5 storage hog is usually installed games and apps you no longer play. Having over a dozen rarely-played games uses 100+ GB of space for no reason.

To uninstall games and apps:

  • Go to your Game Library
  • Press the Options button on the game/app tile
  • Select "Delete" to completely remove it from the SSD

I recommend sorting your Game Library by Last Played. This makes it easy to identify the games collecting virtual dust. For bonus space, delete their leftover game updates too.

Uninstalling just 2-3 unused AAA titles could give you 80GB+ of free space! Now rinse and repeat to maximize free space.

3. Delete Captured Media

The PS5 automatically captures screenshots and video clips as you play games. While great for sharing epic gaming moments, this captured media quietly eats up storage over time.

To mass delete captured media:

  • Go to Settings > Captures and Broadcasts > Captured Media Library
  • Select all the shots and clips you want gone
  • Press the Options button and select "Delete"

Regularly clearing your Captured Media Library prevents wasted space. You may also consider decreasing the Capture Frequency and Clip Length.

Tip: Back up your best captures to external USB storage before deleting!

4. Remove Unused PS4 Games

If you‘ve been playing PS4 games on your PS5, those installed titles also consume your limited SSD storage.

To delete PS4 games from your PS5 SSD:

  • Go to your Game Library and select the PS4 game
  • Press the PlayStation button and choose "Delete"

I recommend removing PS4 games you‘ve beaten or lost interest in. Better yet, move PS4 games you want to keep to an external USB drive (see #8).

5. Rebuild Database and Clear Cache

Over time, system data and cached files build up while using negligible amounts of SSD space. Clearing these caches can recover a nice chunk of free space.

Here‘s how to clean up those systems files:

  1. Fully power off your PS5
  2. Press and hold the power button until you hear a second beep
  3. Select "Rebuild Database" – this clears system caches
  4. Now go to Settings > System > Hardware > System Software
  5. Select "Clear Cache" to wipe the OS cache

After rebuilding the database and clearing caches, check your available space. You may recover 1-3% of your storage capacity.

6. Adjust 4K Video Clip Lengths

Your PS5 videos clips are captured in 4K resolution by default. These high-res clips consume much more SSD space compared to 1080p HD clips.

You can adjust the 4K clip length to be shorter:

  • Go to Settings > Captures and Broadcasts > Clip Length
  • Change the 4K Video Clip Length to 1 minute or 30 seconds

With shorter clip lengths, your captured videos will eat up 4x-8x less SSD space without sacrificing quality.

7. Move PS4 Games to an External USB Drive

Your PS5‘s SSD speed is reserved for PS5 games. Luckily, you can offload PS4 games to an external USB drive.

Follow these steps:

  1. Connect an external HDD or SSD to your PS5 using USB 3.0 or later
  2. Go to Settings > Storage > Migrate Data
  3. Select the PS4 games to move to the external drive
  4. The system will copy the games over while keeping them installed on the SSD
  5. Once complete, delete the PS4 games from the SSD

This preserves peak SSD speed for PS5 games while keeping your PS4 library ready to play.

8. Upgrade the PS5‘s Internal SSD Storage

Installing an M.2 NVMe SSD in the PS5‘s expansion slot is the best way to massively increase your storage capacity.

Benefits of upgrading your PS5‘s internal SSD:

  • Adds 800GB – 4TB of high-speed storage
  • Load games up to 50% faster with the latest SSDs
  • Store more PS5, PS4, and VR games internally

While a bit complex, installing a compatible SSD and heatsink in the PS5 is very doable. This will make all that spacious storage available instantly. Highly recommended!

9. Uninstall and Reinstall Games Strategically

Juggling which games stay installed on your limited PS5 SSD space can be a chore. Here are a few data-driven tips:

  • Keep your 2-3 most played games installed permanently
  • Install the major PS5 exclusives like Spider-Man, Horizon, and God of War
  • Rotate in 1-2 multiplayer games at a time
  • Delete and re-download single player games after completing

With some strategy, you can keep your favorite games handy while churning through your backlog. Re-downloading 100GB games only takes 10-20 minutes on fast networks!

FAQ: Common PS5 Storage Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about managing PS5 storage:

Why does the PS5 SSD fill up so fast?

PS5 games average 25-100GB, while 4K video clips consume 400MB per minute. Downloading or transferring 10 big games plus captures can nearly fill the 667GB of usable space.

How much free space should I leave on the PS5?

Aim for at least 10% or 60GB of free space. This buffer space prevents hitting "out of space" errors during game and update downloads.

Can I use an external HDD or SSD with PS5?

Yes, you can use external USB drives with PS5 exclusively for PS4 games. Only PS5 games can run directly from the internal SSD.

What is the mysterious Other storage on PS5?

Don‘t worry about the Other storage category. It is temporary space used when installing games and updates. The space is freed up once the download completes.

Why can‘t PS5 games run from external drives?

PS5 games leverage the internal SSD‘s super fast 5.5GB/sec read speed. External drives over USB 3.2 max out around 1.2GB/sec, too slow for PS5 games.

I hope these 9 tips help you keep your PS5 SSD nice and spacious for all the latest games. Let me know if you have any other questions!