Don’t count the PS4 out just yet. While 2021 likely represents the final year in which developers and manufacturers will fully support the PS4, games will likely still be made for the phenomenally popular console for many years to come. This, combined with the ongoing semiconductor shortage that’s making PS5 consoles hard to come by, means that many gamers will be relying on their PS4s to give them excellent gaming experiences for years to come.
Unfortunately, that also means that many gamers will probably experience problems with their PS4 consoles. Many times, these issues can easily be fixed by a restart, a complete factory reset, or just deleting an offending game or save file, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the problem may even begin at the power cycle stage, meaning users can’t even switch on their PS4s. When this happens, many gamers want to know how to put PS4 in safe mode so they can at least diagnose the problem. Never fear: we’re here to help.
The first thing you need to do if you want to know how to put PS4 in safe mode is to make sure the PS4 is completely off. That means taking it out of rest mode and ensuring that it’s not doing anything when you get started. Once the console is off, here are the steps you need to undertake if you want to turn on PS4 safe mode.
Step one: press and hold the power button
When you press and hold the power button on your PS4, you’ll hear a single beep. We want to wait until after this beep is over, though, so keep your hand on the power button.
Step two: keep holding until you hear a second beep
You should hear another beep roughly seven or eight seconds after the first one has sounded. This is when you need to let go of the button.
Step three: connect a controller via USB
While you’re in safe mode, your DualShock 4 controller won’t work wirelessly. You’ll need to hook it up with a USB cable to make sure it operates properly.
Step four: press the PS button on your controller
That’s it – that’s how to put PS4 in safe mode. There aren’t any other tricks or methods for doing this, but it’s a nice, simple way to diagnose some common issues.
What options are available in safe mode?
When you start your PS4 up in safe mode, you’ll see a range of different things you can do. All of them pertain to diagnosing problems that might arise with your console, so let’s walk through them and see where and when they might be useful for you.
This one is fairly self-explanatory; it restarts the PS4 and begins the normal power cycle outside of safe mode. Don’t use this one if your issue is with power cycling, unless you’re convinced the problem is fixed.
As you might expect, this option allows you to drop the PS4’s resolution down to 480p. If you’re experiencing display problems – the PS4 doesn’t show a picture, the picture is the wrong size, et cetera – then this could be the option for you.
Update System Software
This option will force a system software update on your PS4. You should use this option if your console has unexpectedly shut down or restart during a major update, as it will reinstall said update from scratch.
Restore Default Settings
Here, you can change all of your settings back to their factory defaults. This won’t erase any of your data, including games and media; it’ll just change settings back so that you can isolate and identify which setting might be causing the issue.
The Rebuild Database option is arguably the most popular and effective option for diagnosing and fixing problems with the PS4. This option takes a snapshot of everything on your drive and rebuilds its reference database from scratch.
As you might expect, this is the “nuclear option” for your PS4. It will delete all of your data – games, media, settings, and everything else – and revert the PS4 to how it was when it left the factory. Only use this if all else has already failed.
Initialise PS4 (Remove System Software)
This is even more of a nuclear option than the above. Not only will it restore your PS4 to factory settings, but it’ll also roll back the PS4’s firmware, meaning you will truly get a day-one experience for your console. This pretty much shouldn’t be used under most circumstances.
Set HDCP Mode (only for PS4 Pro)
This last option only applies if you’re lucky enough to own a PS4 Pro. Some displays don’t support the HDCP 2.2 protocol, which means they may have difficulties displaying a 4K image. If this happens to you, this option will help you to fix the display problems you’re having.
We hope this article has helped you figure out how to put PS4 in safe mode, as well as what to do when you actually get there. Safe mode can help you to diagnose a surprisingly large number of common PS4 problems, but if this doesn’t fix your issues, it’s worth contacting Sony to see if you can schedule a repair.