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How to Factory Reset a PS4

March 27, 2023 • Shannon Flynn


You came here to game with a clean slate or want to sell your PS4 and trade up for a shinier model. No matter the motivation, you can learn how to factory reset a PS4 in just a few steps. The process is painless with a guide and doesn’t take as much time as you might think, no matter how many triple-A games you have loaded to the hard drive. Here’s how to get to factory settings like your PS4 was fresh out of the box.

What Does Factory Reset Do?

Factory resetting your PS4 will delete all stored content and adjust settings back to factory. It eliminates all games, customizations and profiles in a factory reset. For some, this sounds like a nightmare or a situation you would never want to trigger manually. However, it is beneficial in several situations:

  • You purchased a pre-owned console and need to remove data that wasn’t previously removed.
  • You want to sell or trade-in your console and don’t want the possibility of sharing information.
  • Your PS4 has hardware or software issues that could be solved with a factory reset.

Other options in a PS4’s settings can delete data without returning to square one. In the Initialization menu that contains the factory reset option, there are two other options — Clear Learning Dictionary and Restore Default Settings. 

The first is self-explanatory and will remove your typing history and saved terms. Restoring a system to default settings will keep data but revert every other setting to factory.

What Are the Steps to Factory Reset a PS4?

The time it will take to factory reset a PS4 varies on usage and hardware. Get your controller charged up and connected, because all you need to do is hit a few buttons and wait. Some gamers have replaced their drives with larger data stores and could have terabytes of data to sift through. 

Factory resetting with this much data could take several hours, but the process is worth it. Instead of manually removing hard drives and quick formatting on a PC, go through these steps. The factory reset ensures data is not recoverable, even by special programs — which quick formats do not prevent. Even if it takes a few hours over 10 minutes, perform these steps for the utmost safety.

Unlink Your PSN Account

Performing this step helps your information and games stay yours while helping others. If you’re getting a new console, it will also make signing into the new one go without a hitch. Follow this path to do so now:

Settings > Account Management > Activate as Your Primary PS4 > Deactivate > Yes

It can reduce sign-on issues for future owners if you sign out and deactivate your PSN on the specific console. It also prevents others from playing the games you downloaded to play offline. 

Perform a Factory Reset

Now nothing is stopping you from wiping the rest of your data. Follow this menu path to reach the reset command:

Settings > Initialization > Initialize PS4 > Full

All you need to do now is wait. Ensure the power always remains connected and nothing can interrupt the operation. These steps can still happen even if you have to boot the PS4 in safe mode.

Delete PS4 Data With These Steps

There are many reasons you could want to factory reset a PS4, but thankfully Sony made it reasonably simple to undergo the process. Following the simple menu directions will take you where you need to go, and the program will delete and overwrite the rest. Sell, trade or give it away worry-free, or hopefully, it solves a long-standing issue with performance.