While Sony Entertainment’s PS4 gaming console is a well-loved, reliable, and powerful piece of technology with a ton of features, they aren’t without problems. Besides lagging and stuttering, one of the most common issues that PlayStation owners face is a frozen PS4.
Suppose you’re struggling with a frozen PS4 and are wondering, “what to do when my PS4 freezes,” we got you covered! Read on to find out the common causes behind frozen PS4s, and how to fix it when it keeps freezing during gameplay.
Why Does My PS4 Keep Freezing? 6 Common Causes of a Frozen PS4
Your PS4 is basically a specialized computer, and as such, can suffer from many of the same things that cause your desktop computer to slow down and freeze. These factors include:
- Full Storage. Data needs room to move around, so the less room there is, the longer it takes to move. Resolving this can be as easy as deleting an app or upgrading your storage, but the issue could also stem from corrupted data.
- Outdated Software/Firmware. Software and firmware updates are the backbones of a smoothly running console. Neglecting them can cause incompatibilities and, subsequently, system crashes.
- Faulty Internet Connection. If you notice lag or freezing, particularly with online games and apps, the issue may lie in your internet connection. This could be from a slow network, the PS4 connecting incorrectly to it, or your PS4 not connecting to the Wi-Fi at all.
- Software Glitches. Software bugs are typically resolved on the manufacturer’s side, but sometimes they can slip through the cracks. A runaway program or conflicting commands are typical causes of a frozen PS4. Additionally, an update, game, or app may have been installed incorrectly and needs to be re-downloaded.
- Overheating. Poor ventilation and insufficient cooling can lead to the console heating up beyond its capacity to function properly.
- Faulty Hardware. If your console has ever been dropped or damaged, it may no longer be physically capable of achieving the speeds it used to. This could mean a scratched disk, a loosened connection, or something that is out of alignment.
7 Methods of Resolving a Frozen PS4
The first way to solve a frozen PS4 is to learn how to restart the PS4 when frozen, which is the first step we’ll cover below.
1. Restart the Console
Turning the console off after a long session of use, or if you typically keep it in rest mode, helps to clear memory caches but can leave data behind. Ensuring the console powers off completely resets these caches, and helps to keep the system running smoothly.
- On the PS4 controller, press and hold the PlayStation button until the blue console menu appears.
- Scroll down to Power Options, then navigate to, and select, Turn Off PS4.
- Once the console has powered off completely, unplug the power cable from the back of the system (Not the wall outlet).
- After at least 10 seconds, plug the console back in, then hit the PlayStation button on the controller to turn the system back on.
- Test to see if the issue is resolved.
2. Install Updates
Improperly installed updates can create incompatibilities with your software causing the PS4 to slow down and freeze. To update your PS4 you have to complete system updates, which are found in the settings menu of the PS4. However, if updates aren’t downloading automatically, or correctly, you can manually download and install them.
- On a PC or Mac computer, plug in a USB drive formatted to FAT32. Create a new folder on the USB named “PS4” and then, inside that folder, create another named “UPDATE”.
- Locate the update file on the Playstation website, located here. Click the PS4 Console Update File button, and save the file in the UPDATE folder on the USB drive.
- Ensure the name of the update file is “PS4UPDATE.PUP”, then eject the USB drive from the computer.
- Ensure the PS4 is powered off with a controller plugged into it, then plug the USB drive into it. Hold down the power button on the console until it has beeped twice, booting it into Safe Mode.
- Scroll down to the option labeled System Software Update, select it, then select Update From USB Storage Device from the next window.
- Click the OK button to begin the update.
To Update Applications: App and game updates are done right in the console menu.
- Starting on the PS4 home screen, navigate to the application you need to update, and highlight it.
- On your controller, press the Options Button, then in the menu that appears, select the option labeled Check for Updates.
- Follow the on-screen instructions, then repeat these steps for each application you want to update.
- Once all updates are installed, restart your console and test the issue again.
3. Clear Disk Space
As mentioned earlier, data needs room to move around, so having a full hard drive will eventually result in a frozen PS4. Most hard drives tend to work optimally with at least ten percent of their total storage capacity left unused.
- Starting on the PS4 home screen, navigate to the Settings Menu. Once there, locate and select System Storage Management.
- The following screen will display a breakdown of how much space is taken up by a series of data categories. From here, you can either use the information to decide what to delete on your own, or you can clear a category entirely.
- To clear a category entirely, select the one you want to be cleared. Then, hit the Options button on your controller.
- In the menu that appears, select the Delete option.
4. Check Your Internet Connection
Believe it or not, a slow or faulty internet connection can have a slowing effect on offline games as well, so checking your internet connection is always a good early step.
- Starting on the PS4 home screen, navigate to the Settings Menu. Once there, locate and select Network.
- In the menu that follows, select the Test Internet Connection option and follow the prompts. This will alert you to any issues with your internet connection, including a slow, or even non-existent connection.
Note: Most internet issues can be resolved with simple steps such as resetting your router, connecting via ethernet, etc. More complex issues, on the other hand, will need to be directed to your ISP.
5. Rebuild the PS4 Database
Although this process is time-consuming, a clogged or corrupted database is often the culprit for a frozen PS4. Rebuilding the database will cause the PS4 to scan the contents of its hard drive, building a list of those contents and resolving any erroneous data along the way.
- Ensure the PS4 is powered off with a controller plugged into it. Hold down the power button on the console until it has beeped twice, booting it into Safe Mode.
- Press the PS button on your controller to open the Safe Mode Menu.
- Navigate to, and select, the option labeled Rebuild Database.
- Allow the process to complete before testing the issue again.
6. Restore to Factory Settings
Otherwise known as Initializing the PS4, restoring the unit to factory settings will wipe any and all data on the device, then redownload and install its operating system. As long as you can live with that, this is a surefire way to resolve almost any software issue.
- Starting on the PS4 home screen, navigate to the Settings Menu. Once there, locate and select the Initialization option at the bottom of the menu.
- In the menu that follows, select Initialize PS4, then select the Full option. Quick is not ideal here as it will not fully wipe the device and may leave errors behind.
- Follow the prompts until the process has started, then allow it to finish before testing the issue again.
Note: at this point, you may restore a backup, however, doing so may re-introduce errors to the PS4. We recommend testing the issue first, then restoring your backup and testing again.
7. Hardware Repair
At this point, if none of the above methods have resolved the issue, the problem likely lies in the unit’s hardware. Calling Sony customer support is the best option to have your frozen PS4 repaired or replaced.
8. Additional Considerations
However unlikely, always ensure that the issue is with the PS4 and not originating from an external source. Ruling out other possibilities can sometimes save you hours of frustration.
- If the PS4 is plugged into a power bar or other power unit, make sure the unit is operating correctly.
- Ensure your controller is charged and not experiencing connectivity issues. Try plugging it in if you’ve been connecting wirelessly.
Frozen PS4 Issue, Resolved!
While PS4s are amazing gaming consoles with a ton of outstanding features, they are not perfect and have been known to freeze or lock up for a variety of reasons. You might even encounter other errors that could unpleasantly interrupt your gaming sessions such as getting stuck in Safe Mode on PS4 or being troubled by the WS-37337-3 error. Good thing we have dedicated articles for fixing those problems too, which you can find on the links we provided.
We hope that this article has explained why your PS4 keeps freezing, and shown you what to do when it does freeze. If the methods above have helped you get your console back to optimal performance, please let us know in the comments below!