The next generation of consoles is on the horizon. With the advent of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X (and Series S) comes a new standard in visual fidelity, speedy loading times, and lots more. We don’t know who’s going to win that race – it’s too early to call – but we do know that there’s still plenty of life in your old PlayStation 4, even if it’s started gathering dust as your excitement mounts for the PS5. Here are 10 cool tricks you can do with your PS4.
1. Preload your Store games
We’ll start off with a fairly obvious one. Did you know that you can preload your PlayStation Store games so that you’re ready to play them when they launch? It’s true; all you need to do is head to your Library tab, then find the game under the Purchased option. There might be a counter on the game telling you when it’s going to launch. Once you’ve found that game – and if you’re within the time window – all you need to do is tell it to download itself onto your machine and it’ll be ready to go by launch day.
2. Play online games
No, we don’t mean PlayStation 4 games via PS Plus – although you can certainly do that too. We’re talking specifically about online browser-based games and even online casinos. That’s right – you’ll be able to visit this website on your PS4 to play some casino games without using a computer or phone. If your PS4 is your primary gaming driver, why inconvenience yourself by using a laptop or smartphone? Simply navigate to the page with your PS4’s web browser and you’ll be playing in no time.
3. Charge controllers in Rest mode
If you’re like us, your DualShock 4 controllers take some pretty regular abuse in terms of battery life. The best time to charge them is during your console’s downtime, so it’s a good thing you can set your PS4 up to supply power to its USB ports while it’s in Rest mode. You’ll find this setting under Power Save Settings in the main options menu. Find “Set Features Available in Rest Mode”, then tell the console to supply power to the ports. You can also stay connected to the internet and keep games suspended. Neat, right?
4. Operate the console with your voice
Microsoft’s Kinect system may have come and gone without much fanfare, but that doesn’t mean the concept of operating your console using just your voice doesn’t have merit. It has accessibility benefits – those who struggle to use controllers can use voice commands instead, for example – but it’s also just plain great fun. Just head over to the “Voice Operation Settings” menu option in the main Settings menu and check the box allowing you to operate your console with your voice. Et voila!
5. Try out Boost Mode on PS4 Pro
When Sony released the PlayStation 4 Pro, there was a lot of excitement surrounding what the extra boost of power would enable the console to do. Boost Mode represents the fruits of some of Sony’s labour in this regard. Some games benefit better from Boost Mode than others, but you’ll likely notice an overall improvement in games released prior to the PS4 Pro’s advent if you turn it on. Simply head to the Settings menu, then go to System, then Boost Mode.
6. Change your Share button’s function
By default, the PlayStation 4’s Share button will take a screenshot if you press and hold it. However, this can be inconvenient for taking quick snaps in rapid succession. Luckily, you can change what it does! Hit the Share button once to show the Share menu. Navigate to the “Sharing and Broadcast Settings” page. You should see a setting labeled “SHARE Button Control Type”. Changing this setting allows you to do different things with a press and a long-tap of the Share button.
7. Change the DualShock 4’s brightness
On newer DualShock 4 controllers in particular, the brightness of the light bar – especially the front-facing aspect – can be a little much. With that in mind, you might want to turn it down a little so that it isn’t quite so blinding when you power up your controller. To do this, head over to Settings, then Devices. Under that menu, you’ll find a “Controllers” option. Click that, then change the Brightness of DualShock 4 Light Bar option to suit your preferences.
8. Type using your smartphone
You’ll need the official PlayStation app if you want to take advantage of this particular feature. First off, download the app onto your smartphone, then navigate to Settings > PlayStation App Connection Settings > Add Device. You should be shown a number, which you’ll then have to input on your phone. Once you’ve done that, you can choose the Second Screen option and then select Keyboard, allowing you to transform your smartphone into a PS4 keyboard. Not bad, eh?
9. Appear offline to friends
We get it – you don’t always want your friends list to know what you’re up to when you’re gaming on your PS4. Luckily, it’s easy to appear offline on the console. Simply head to your Profile on the main menu bar, then select “Set Online Status”. You’ll be presented with a list of options, one of which should be the chance to appear offline. This way, you can game to your heart’s content and nobody needs to know you’ve even switched on your machine. Hide away to your heart’s content!
10. Add PS Plus games without downloading them
Want to make sure you’ve got access to a PlayStation Plus game before it leaves the monthly rotation, but don’t quite have the storage space for it? No problem – simply click “Add to Library” on the game’s Store page rather than “Download”. This way, the game will join your library of software, but you won’t actually need to download it, and you can save it for when you’ve cleared out some of the old games or other files you’re not using.