PS4 tips and tricks 2017
Congratulations on your brand new PS4, well done you! But once you're all up-and-running on your PlayStation 4 you're going to want to know how to get the most out of your shiny new console. And for that, you've come to the right place.
While there are certainly differences between the standard PS4, the PS4 Slim and the 4K-outputting PS4 Pro (particularly in power and visual performance), don't panic: most of the tips and tricks we've found here should apply to any of the consoles.
Regardless of which particular PlayStation you've chosen, with a PS4 you've bagged yourself a great piece of gaming hardware, plus a highly capable media streaming device, which can even stream gameplay straight from the PlayStation 4 direct to your Mac or PC.
It's easy enough to plug your console in, pick a few games and get playing straight away – but there are also a number of really useful features we can recommend to enhance your PS4 experience.
Take a good look over the next few pages, where we'll be bringing you everything you need to know to get the most out of your new console.
We've got tips on making the most of sharing and tweeting your video highlights, and discovering the PlayStation app, and much more – a total of 30 must-know tips to make the most of your PS4 console.
And if you're looking for game recommendations for your stellar new console, don't miss our best PS4 Pro games, best PlayStation VR games and best PS4 games lists – they'll help you find the best content Sony's latest system has to offer.
Trying to decide which PS4 set-up to get? Watch Jon and Gerald discuss the differences between the PS4, PS4 Pro and PS4 VR.
1. How to set up the PlayStation 4
The PlayStation 4 is a feature-packed console, which means that the setting up process is a bit more complicated than previous consoles.
To make sure that setting up your new PlayStation 4 is as simple as possible, check out our video below showing you the best way to get the PS4 up and running.
There is every possibility that the HDMI cable that comes in the box won't be long enough for your home setup, so you will have to buy a new one. If you're a Pro owner though, don't be fooled: there are some snake-oil peddlers out there that will tell you there are 'special' 4K HDMI cables. There aren't.
2. Get the most out of your headphones
In days gone by, using a wired set of headphones while playing on your PlayStation meant trailing a long cable to your TV. No more. A 3.5mm jack handily positioned on the DualShock 4 means you can plug your own headphones or headset directly into the controller.
The default setting is for chat audio only, but this can be easily tweaked by holding down the PS button in game and selecting 'adjust devices' on the resulting menu. Select the 'output to headphones' option and choose 'all audio'.
Voila, no more anti-social TV noise: you're surrounded by the ambient noise of Fallout 4's Commonwealth instead and, if you have an inline mic, you can use this for in-game chat or even commentary recording for Twitch.
If you want the completely wireless experience, you can connect a Bluetooth headset to your PS4 too, although you'll need to check that it's officially supported as not all Bluetooth headphones are. All you have to do is turn on your headphones, head over to 'Settings > Devices > Bluetooth Devices' and select your headphones.
If you haven't got a set of gaming headphones and are planning on playing multiplayer or streaming gameplay we would highly recommend getting a pair. For our verdict of which ones to buy, check out: Best console gaming headsets: the best headsets for PS4 and Xbox One
3. Get the most out of your smartphone
You might be wondering what your smartphone could possibly have to do with your PS4, but there are actually some pretty cool features on offer through the PlayStation app. Here we're just talking about our favorites (text entry and remote downloads) but do have a play around with the app to see what else is there.
Entering text had to be one of the most laborious processes on the PS3. Sony has made some good progress with this function on the PS4, but it's at its best when using the PlayStation App as a second screen for text entry.
With your phone and PS4 on the same Wi-Fi network you can pair them via the PlayStation App connection settings on the PS4.
Then, with both logged in to the same PSN ID, select the second screen option, choose the keyboard icon at the top left and, as if by magic, PlayStation messaging becomes fun again. Thanks to the latest update, there's even mascot themed stickers in there for when words just aren't enough. Yep, say it with Sack Boy.
Not just a pretty keyboard accessory, your phone can also set your PS4 to download new games while you are out and about.
Using the PlayStation Store on the PlayStation App you can browse for new content and, if your PS4 is on standby with 'connect to the internet' selected in its power save settings, you can set games downloading immediately after purchase so they are ready for you when you arrive home.
Just head to the download list once you have bought a game or redeemed a code and select the option to download to your PS4. You can even see once it's downloaded, as it will disappear from the download queue. Hello, future.
4. Pre-load your games
Why wait? We live in the 21st century don't we? All pre-orders available on the PlayStation Store now come with the ability to pre-load your digital games.
This means files are available to download several days before the release date and you won't be left watching a loading bar while all your stone age/physical release-buying friends leave you in the dust when the clocks hit midnight.
Make sure your console is set up for automatic downloads while in rest mode and your PS4 will do all the work for you and start downloading as soon as files become available. It's worth keeping in mind too that there needs to be enough space on the PS4 HDD, so check the file size to make sure the game will be there when you need it.
5. Get immersed in the world of VR
VR is without doubt one of the most exciting fields in the gaming world. While not quite on the same level as industry leaders HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, the PlayStation VR headset is still a brilliant addition to the market. What's more it looks like it's currently outselling its bigger siblings too.
The Daft Punk style headset has an HD 1920x1080 OLED display, a 120hz refresh rate and 3D audio to fully get your head in the game. Plus, if you've still got your Move wands, hold onto them: those spongy colorful balls were invented with VR in mind and built for tracking.
Once you've got your headset, it's all very easy to connect and go. One thing that's worth noting is that in order to get the full experience you will need a camera and move controllers. If you want to pick them all up for the best price, check out the link below.
6. Turn on your TV with your PS4
Did you know you can turn on your TV when you power up your PS4? It's a pretty nifty little feature, but is still not widely known about as not all TVs support it and it requires a bit of fiddling in Settings menus.
Officially called HDMI-CEC, pretty much every manufacturer (helpfully) has a different name for it. On the PS4 it's known as Device Link. Most Smart TVs will support the feature, which essentially tethers your TV and PS4 together and slaves actions such as powering on between both devices.
To do this, ensure HDMI-CEC is enabled on your TV (Google '*your TV* HDMI CEC' if it's not immediately obvious), then go to the Settings menu on your PS4, select 'System' then check the box for 'Enable HDMI Device Link'.
And voila! Your TV and PS4 will both turn on with a simple press of the PS button. It will even change the TV to the right input, so if you're watching TV then power up the PS4, it will automatically switch over to the right channel.
Device link also works on an additional level – if you have your TV hooked up to a smart speaker system and you ask it to turn your TV and switch to your PS4 input channel, this will turn your PS4 on automatically. It's the circle of smart linking.
7. Get the most out of your PS Vita
If you happen to also have a PS Vita, do we have some good news for you. Sony may not be focussing much energy on making portable games at the moment, but luckily there are some great things that the Vita can do in collaboration with your PS4.
First up is remote play. Whether someone else wants the TV or you just fancy playing 8th-gen games in the bath, the capability to stream to the PlayStation Vita is a slick process that just requires you to have both devices signed into the same PSN ID.
You can connect directly to the PS4 or via your wireless network if you are too far away from the console itself. Make sure that 'enable turning on PS4 from network' is selected in your power save settings and you'll be able to turn on the PS4 remotely from the Vita.
You can also use the Vita as a second controller, so if you've only invested in the one Dualshock controller and want to get your two-player Lego Marvel on, you can do it with your Vita. Just connect the Vita, and it will automatically disconnect your controller.
Have the second player press the PS button, sign in as another user or guest and you're good to go.
8. Share your mad skills
Sharing is caring and everyone definitely wants to see your gaming prowess. Lucky for you, sharing on the PS4 is incredibly easy, thanks to that cheeky little share button you’ll have probably noticed snuggled in next to the d-pad.
If you’ve not pressed it yet, now is your moment; there are quite a few options hidden behind it. You can take a simple screenshot, you can record and upload video to share with your friends or post to Twitter and Facebook, and you can even livestream to YouTube, Twitch and DailyMotion.
The standard setup is that a single press of the button will bring up the Share Menu, a longer press will take a screenshot, and a double press will start recording a video. You can change these to suit your needs (frankly, quick press for screenshot feels obvious, but it’s up to you) in the options menu of the share screen.
You can tag your friends in your screenshots, you can add these just before you share a screenshot, and you can even customise who can tag you in photos by selecting Settings > PlayStation Network/Account Management > Privacy Settings > Sharing Your Experience and hitting Tags.
The PS4 automatically records the last 15 minutes worth of play, so if you manage to pull off a herculean feat, you don’t have to worry about having missed it. You can upload the video as-is, or you can use Share Factory to edit the video before upload. You can even add voiceovers, intro and outros, and even customize clips with themed content that you can download in the app.
If streaming is what you want, there is an option in the Share Menu. Once you’ve chosen your channel to stream to you can then choose to add sound from your mic and video from your PlayStation Camera, so anyone watching can see and hear you while you boss it. Those watching the content can comment on it, and the comments will appear on screen so you are able to react as they happen.
If you want to record footage that lasts longer than 15 minutes, that’s possible too. You just have to go to 'settings' and then 'system' where there is an 'enable HDCP' box to uncheck. After it’s unchecked, you will be able to record for as long as you like. Just be aware of how much storage your video is taking up.
9. Make the most of PS Plus
PS Plus is essential if you want to play online on PS4 but thankfully it comes with plenty of perks for the £39.99 ($49.99) price tag.
There are two guaranteed games for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita each month and always plenty of discounts available on new games. Fresh games appear on the first Wednesday of the month (Tuesday in North America) and will be free until the first Wednesday of the following month so make sure you check in with the selection during that time.
Helpfully, there is an 'add to library' option so you don't need to fill your PS4's HDD unnecessarily to get the latest titles. Just make sure that you do add them to your library, as it's pretty easy to forget to do it and miss out on the freebies. The games will be yours as long as your subscription lasts.
As well as 10GB of online cloud storage for your saves, PS Plus also gives you access to Share Play where you can let your friends try your games online without them actually owning them. More on that in a bit.