The Most Common PS4 Problems and How to Fix Them

The Most Common PS4 Problems and How to Fix Them

Even more so than the Xbox One, the PS4 has had a number of problems this console generation. Sony’s PS4 Slim update fixed a few fundamental issues with the base system, including a dual-band Wi-Fi card, while the PS4 Pro offered 4K gaming at a reasonable price. No matter which version of the PS4 you have, though, there are some issues you may not be able to avoid. Here are the most common PS4 problems and how to fix them, at least until you can get your hands on a PS5.

Further reading

Get in touch with Sony

First, here’s all the information you’ll need to get in contact with Sony if your particular issue is not resolved from our guide.

Method Contact
Phone1-800-345-7669 (Available Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. PT)
ForumsWebsite
Live ChatWebsite
Twitter@AskPlayStation

You can also search Sony’s error message library and follow the troubleshooting suggestions for the error that you encountered.

Malfunction: Blinking blue indicator light

Seven years down the line, the “Blue Line of Death” remains the most-crippling of all problems on the PS4. Taking a cue from the Xbox 360’s “Red Ring of Death,” the pulsing blue line indicates a technical problem could mean your console is no longer functional. Unlike the red ring, the “Blue Line of Death” doesn’t automatically mean your PS4 is dead, but it does the same job as the ring; letting you know that there’s a really big problem.

When booting up the PS4, the LED indicator light adorning the side of the console should quickly pulse blue prior to turning white. On consoles suffering from the “Blue Line of Death,” however, the blue light pulses continuously, indicating failed video output before inexplicably powering off. In this case, the console never sends a signal to the TV, essentially bricking the device and preventing normal operation. Sony believed the problem was an isolated incident, but also released a troubleshooting guide highlighting a slew of potential fixes. While the problem was more widespread at launch, it still crops up for a small portion of users and is more likely to be an issue if your console was manufactured between late-2013 and early-2014.

Potential solutions

As Sony outlined in the aforementioned troubleshooting guide, the blinking blue light could be indicative of a number of hardware or software issues. That said, there are a number of potential solutions you can try. If you do manage to isolate an issue with the PS4 hardware, contact PlayStation customer support, or take your console directly to an official Sony retail store, as they can sometimes provide on-site repairs or replacements. If there isn’t a store available in your area, you’ll likely need to ship your console to Sony. At this point, your console may not be under manufacturer warranty: If that’s the case, keep in mind that you may have to pay a repair fee.

  • Update your TV’s firmware — A handful of users have noted that updating television firmware has resolved the lack of audio-video signal. If you have a newer television, particularly one with internet connectivity, refer to the television’s instruction manual and update its firmware. Doing so may alter HDMI settings and fix device compatibility.
  • Check the HDMI ports — Take a look at both the HDMI port on your TV and your PS4 for any blaring abnormalities or damages, along with your HDMI cable. If possible, try testing alternative HDMI cables.
  • Check the power supply — Touch the power button on the front of the PS4 for at least seven seconds, or until the system beeps twice and powers off. Afterward, disconnect the AC power cord from the electrical outlet and check the AC IN connector and power cord for any conspicuous damage or anomalies.
  • Check the hard drive — Make sure your PS4 is turned off, then disconnect the AC power cord and any other connected cables before sliding the HDD bay cover outward. Once removed, inspect the hard drive for any potential damage and ensure it is properly seated in the HDD bay.
  • Controller reset — Make sure everything is connected properly. Press and hold the PS button on your controller until the system light turns orange. Then, press and hold the PS button again until the light turns white. We have tested this method, and it can get your PS4 to boot properly.

Malfunction: Blinking red indicator light

Reports of the “Red Line of Death” aren’t as widespread as the aforementioned blinking blue light, but it is almost as serious. On consoles suffering from the “Red Line of Death,” the LED indicator light adorning the side of the console will flash red repeatedly, subsequently powering off after the system emits three distinct beeps. The issue is tied to overheating problems as outlined in the PS4 user guide and confirmed by Sony, possibly a result of fan malfunction. Some users have reported the issue within minutes of powering up the console for the first time, however. Thankfully, it’s not the sign of a completely bricked unit.

Potential solutions

If the problem persists and is not alleviated by either of the potential solutions below, contact PlayStation customer support or take your console directly to an official Sony retail store to arrange a repair/replacement.

  • Give it a rest — Touch the power button on the front of your PS4 for at least seven seconds, or until the system beeps and powers off. Then, disconnect the power supply and allow the console to rest for an extended period of time, or until it sufficiently cools down, before powering it up again.
  • Give it ample space — Place your PS4 in a well-ventilated area to ensure it has enough breathing room, avoiding carpet and similar services whenever possible. Additionally, some users have reported that placing the console vertically helps decrease overheating (though it shouldn’t, considering the position blocks access to either side vent).

Problem: Damaged HDMI port and faulty HDMI cables

It may not be PS4-specific or widespread, but some users have reported issues stemming from a damaged HDMI port shipping on their PS4 units. The problem, which leads to a lack of audio or video output on the TV, is often caused by a connection obtrusion resulting from a bent piece of metal within the console’s built-in HDMI port. Although the reasoning for the bent component is unknown, it effectively renders the port incompatible since the bent piece can no longer properly connect with the HDMI cord. Additionally, there have been reports of faulty HDMI cables that simply don’t work for one reason or another.

While this issue was resolved in subsequent PS4 shipments after the console’s launch, if you purchase a pre-owned unit or you’re experiencing HDMI issues, you’ll still want to look for possible answers below.

Potential solutions

If neither of the potential solutions below solves the problem, try contacting Sony. Although not confirmed, Sony will likely send you a free replacement cable in a matter of days once the problem has been confirmed.

  • Check the HDMI ports — Take a look at both the HDMI port on your TV and your PS4 for any blaring abnormalities or damages, along with your HDMI cable. If possible, try testing alternative HDMI cables.
  • Bend back the metal — If you can clearly see a piece of metal bent upward within the console’s HDMI port, bend the damaged piece down using a pin or small tool. Also, make sure the port didn’t knock out any teeth or cause any additional damage to the HDMI cable. If this is the problem, you may still want to contact Sony and ask for a replacement, even if the console begins to work.
  • Use a different HDMI cable — If you’re unfortunate enough to receive a faulty HDMI cable from Sony, simple use another on-hand cable or purchase a new one.

Problem: Damaged DualShock 4 analog sticks

We like a lot of things about the DualShock 4 controller, but the soft rubber padding on its analog sticks can tear quite easily when playing a game that requires quick movements, like Bloodborne. But just because the rubber tears, that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the controller!

Potential solution

Analog stick covers, such as GelTabz — available in stores like GameStop and on Amazon — pop right over your analog stick, providing an even more comfortable gaming experience while also protecting the stick itself. They are slightly textured, so your fingers don’t slip despite their flat design, and four are included in every package. PlayStation-formatted GelTabz works with both DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 controllers.

You may just need to clean your controller, too. Dirt and grime work their way around the buttons and into the controller as you play, so if you’ve gone a few months — or years — without a cleaning, your DualShock 4 is due for one. We have a guide on how to clean your DualShock 4 from the inside out, so be sure to have that handy.

Bug: PlayStation Network connectivity problems

Network connectivity problems are the most persistent complaint with the PS4, and often manifest themselves as either NW-31201-7 and WV-33899-2 errors. The PSN goes down more often than we’d like, but luckily, it’s usually not down for long stretches. Typically, network errors can be attributed to the PSN undergoing service maintenance (error code CE-33991-5), and you will just have to wait it out. Outside of maintenance periods, however, there are a number of methods you can easily perform to get back online.

Potential solutions

  • Change DNS settings — If all of your other devices are working on your home network, but you still can’t connect on your PS4, you can try altering your DNS settings. First, go to Network Settings and choose Custom for the type of connection you use, which is either Wi-Fi or wired. Select your network, choose the Automatic IP Address setting, and select Do Not Use for DHCP Host Name. A prompt with two different DNS settings should appear — choose Manual. Afterward, set the primary DNS as “8.8.8.8” and the secondary DNS as “8.8.4.4.” The console should then cycle through its tests, and get you back online.
  • Update your router’s firmware — Outdated firmware can often result in connection issues. Typically, there is information on the bottom or back of your router/modem on how to check for a firmware update. Follow the steps provide, or contact your internet service provider for assistance. Once you’ve updated your equipment’s firmware, you may be able to connect. At the very least, you can rule it out as the cause.
  • Unplug and re-plug — Power down your PS4, and unplug it from its power source. Then, unplug your modem and router. Wait a few minutes, and reconnect the modem and router to its power source. After both are completely booted up and back online, plug your PS4 back into its power source and turn it on. This fully resets both your PS4 and home network, and could bring your PS4 back online.
  • Re-learn your network — Technology is funny sometimes, and one way to get your PS4 online is to teach it how to connect to your home network again. Simply tell your PS4 to forget your network, and then go through the necessary steps to reconnect your console.

If those steps don’t work, you’ll want to make sure the problem is not on Sony’s end. Go to the PlayStation Network service status website and you’ll see a list of all the features offered, as well as their current status. If they’re green, they’re working, while other colors mean there are issues. At the top of the page, you’ll also see a scheduled maintenance reminder, so you can plan for when PSN will be offline.

Malfunction: Disc auto ejects or not at all

User reports regarding malfunctioning optical drives have been trickling out since the PS4 launched. Some consoles are seemingly unable to eject discs, while others automatically eject discs upon insertion. Some reports have even claimed that the console will continuously attempt to eject a disc when there is no disc inserted.

This issue mainly plagues early PS4 models, which featured touch-capacitive power and eject buttons. When you touch the eject button on these models, a piece of rubber helps eject the disc. The problem here is that overheating can cause the rubber to inflate, and discs to eject randomly. Sony addressed this hardware issue in later models by replacing the touch-operated sensors with mechanical buttons, but for those with the original model, the risk of auto-ejecting remains.

If the problem persists after performing the potential solutions below, contact Sony for additional support.

Potential solutions

  • Place the console vertically — Some reports claim the issue happens most frequently when the PS4 is resting horizontally. That being the case, purchase a stand for the console and try placing the console vertically. If the issue persists, it may be a hardware issue and should be replaced.
  • Manually eject the disc — If your console is unable to eject a disc, touch the power button on the front of the PS4 for at least seven seconds, or until the system beeps and powers off. Then, disconnect the AC power cord and any other connected cables, and slide of the console’s front panel off prior to following the extraction tutorial outlined on the PlayStation site.
  • Power cycle — Power down your console, unplug all cords, and hold the power button down for 30 seconds. Then, let it sit for at least two minutes before reattaching all cables and powering on your system.

Problem: Running out of storage space

The newest PlayStation 4 systems, including the “slim” model and the more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro, both have increased internal storage of up to 1TB. This is plenty of space for several AAA games, so you can easily jump between a few of your favorites without having to delete anything. For those with a 500GB internal drive, however, you will find yourself running out of space with regularity, particularly as game updates make your file sizes even larger than they were at launch.

Potential solution

  • Connect a USB external hard drive to your console — The PS4 works with any USB 3.0-compatible hard drive. Simply plug it into one of the PS4’s USB ports, and select the Format as Extended Storage option.
  • Swap out your PlayStation 4’s internal storage — Any 2.5-inch drive with storage between 160GB and 8TB will work with your system, and you can swap it without voiding the warranty on your PlayStation 4. You can also upload all your save files to the cloud through PlayStation Plus or to a flash drive, so you can easily retrieve them once you’re done. Check out our full guide for a step-by-step walkthrough.

Bug: Disc read and application errors

Disc read issues, which often manifest themselves as error code CE-35486-6, could mean your disc is damaged. While errors for undamaged discs are unfortunate and rare, they are possible. A similar issue with downloaded games can also occur (error CE-34878-0), in which case similar steps can be taken to potentially solve the problem. If the issue occurs with a physical game you’ve purchased recently, the disc may be defective, and you may want to try to exchange or return it.

Possible solutions

  • Power cycle — Like the aforementioned auto-eject error, a simple power cycle can sometimes solve disc read errors. Power down your console, unplug all cords, and hold the power button down for 30 seconds. Then, let it sit for at least two minutes before reattaching all the cables and powering on your system.
  • Reinstall — Even physical games are installed on your console. Eject the game, and navigate to its on-screen icon. Press the Options button on your controller, and delete the game from your hard drive. Insert the disc, and the installation process should automatically begin, signaling that your console is recognizing the disc. For digital games that are having issues running, uninstalling and reinstalling the application can also solve the issue.
  • Rebuild the database — Remove the disc in question, and power down your console by holding the power button until you hear two beeps. Then, press and hold the power button again for approximately five seconds, which should boot your console in safe mode. Now, plug your PS4 controller into your console via USB and choose the rebuild database option. This may only take a few minutes, but it could take as long as a few hours.
  • Install latest updates — Check for any system or application updates. If available, install the updates and restart your console.
  • Initialize system — Sometimes a fresh start can help a console that’s continually failing to read discs and applications. First, make sure to back up all of your saved data on either a USB drive or to the cloud. Then, navigate to settings and choose initialization. Your system will return to its initial setup — meaning that you’ll have to reinstall all of your applications — but this could curb various disc and application errors.

Problem: A game has “bricked” your system

In early 2019, Electronic Arts and BioWare released the online role-playing game Anthem, and PlayStation 4 players experienced issues with the game “bricking” their system, apparently causing it to cease functioning entirely. This isn’t completely accurate, however, and there is a way you should get back to playing like normal.

Possible solutions

  • If Anthem has crashed your system, boot your console up again in safe mode by holding down the power button until it beeps twice.
  • Once the console is back on, select the Rebuild Database option. Your game save data will not be erased by doing this, and if the problem occurs again and you cannot access your data, repeat the steps to get it working.
  • BioWare and Electronic Arts are actively working to uncover the underlying reason for the crashes, so make sure you keep an eye out for updates.

Problem: Loud fan noise

Sony PS4 Controller Box
Charnsit Ramyarupa/rf123

As games like The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima demonstrate, the PS4 is on its last leg. The fans inside a properly-functioning PS4 are pinned with these late-generation titles, but if you’re experiencing excessive fan noise with less demanding ones, there’s a problem somewhere. If you’re not getting a red blinking light, your PS4, thankfully, isn’t overheating. That doesn’t mean the fans are running optimally, though.

Possible solutions

  • Clean with compressed air — Fully power off your PS4 by holding the Power button for at least seven seconds, then unplug the HDMI and AC power cables. Inspect around the vents for any dust buildup. Using a can of compressed air, clean the vents, making sure to point the air stream away from the console. This is a little tricky, but you don’t want to blow dust deeper into the system. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can also open your PS4 and clean the dust out inside. Note, though, that this is an advanced process and will void your warranty, so we don’t recommend it for hardware novices.
  • Elevate your console — With the dust out of the way, move your console so it’s as high above the floor as possible. To keep your system dust-free, you want a hard, flat surface — read “not carpet” — and plenty of distance from the floor. If you have pets, the problem is usually worse, so keep your console well out of the range of animals.
  • Give it space — Like the blinking red light, excessive fan noise usually comes from too much dust and improper ventilation. Clean some space around your PS4 so the fan doesn’t need to work overtime to suck in air.

Problem: Headphones aren’t working

If you’re not hearing anything through headphones connected to your DualShock 4, there’s a problem. Bluetooth headsets are a little more tricky, so make sure to check out our guide on how to connect Bluetooth headphones to your PS4. If you’re looking for an audio upgrade, there’s always our list of the best PS4 headsets, too.

Possible solutions

  • Unplug your headphones and plug them back in — As is the case with most hardware problems, a reset usually does the trick. Unplug your headphones and plug them back in, and see if that solves your issues.
  • Configure headphone settings — If you’re still not hearing anything, you may not have audio routed to your headphones. From the home screen, follow Settings > Devices > Controllers, then select Output to Headphones, then All Audio. If you can’t select Output to Headphones, your DualShock 4 isn’t detecting your headset. In this same menu, you can also set the headphone volume.
  • Clean the headphone jack — If your DualShock 4 isn’t detecting your headphones, or if you’re still having issues, the headphone jack is the likely culprit. The 3.5mm jack that headphones use is finicky, so try rotating your headphone plug inside to see if there’s audio pop-in. Then, unplug them and clean the headphone jack and plug using a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol. You don’t need much, just enough to free any grime stuck inside. You can also use a toothpick to free any crumbs or other debris that may have worked its way inside, but be careful. If you push too hard, you may ruin your headphone jack.

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