Transferring PS4 saves to PS5, explained

Making sense of all the mess.

Image via PlayStation

There’s always at least one simple feature that becomes overly complicated with each new console generation. Transferring saves may be the prime suspect this time around, especially when it comes to sending save data from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5. Even with all of the mind-boggling controversies pertaining to this, it can still be easily understood with a small breakdown.

Can PS4 save data be transferred to PS5?

With PS5 being backwards compatible with PS4 digital and disc titles, users can use their old saves when playing PS4 games on the console. However, this does not necessarily mean you can transfer old saves to PS5 remasters of PS4 titles. For instance, Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 can be played on PS5 with your old files intact — but the remastered version exclusive for PS5 will not read these saves.

Moving your save data can be done in three ways. The easiest method is provided to those with PlayStation Plus, as they can access their uploaded saves on PS5 from the Online Storage system. Save data can also be transferred by either an external USB storage drive, or by linking the two consoles via a WiFi Transfer process.

Will saves work on games that are on both PS4 and PS5?

A pattern is becoming ever-so-clear that most offline PS4 save data will not be read on PS5 iterations of games. A good indicator of this is that Mortal Kombat 11, Madden 21, and NBA 2K21 will not carry over progression from offline-specific modes. If you do want to continue playing these saves, you would then be required to play the PS4 versions of these titles on PS5, as they are technically different games.

Most developers, such as those of the titles above, will provide cross-progression support for online saves. This mainly seems to be possible due to most online components being a part of an outside service. An example of this is Call of Duty requiring players to sign into an Activision account on Multiplayer and Warzone, which ultimately binds your online saves to the account rather than a sole platform.

Lastly, you should know that some PS4 titles outright will not work with PS5, but don’t worry — the list of outcasts is incredibly short.