Now that you’ve finally scrounged up enough moolah to buy a PlayStation 4, you might want to know what else you can do with it besides playing games and movies. Amazingly, this eighth generation video game console is filled with all kinds of new age secrets that you can enjoy. You might want to put your current game on pause as we show you all kinds of tricks, tips, and yes, even lifehacks, that you probably didn’t know you could do with your PlayStation 4.
Charging your DualShock 4 with a phone charger
You’d be surprised at how many people didn’t know this: you can charge your DualShock 4 controller with most micro USB cables. This includes micro USB phone chargers that are used on most Android phones. This means you’re not limited to that way-too-short charging cord that originally came with your console. You know what else is awesome? You can charge your phone through your PlayStation 4’s USB ports. Most phones, whether Android or iPhone, should be able to charge by plugging the phone into one of the USB ports on the console. Some phones may charge faster than others this way, but it’s still pretty convenient. Nothing beats charging your controller and Android phone with the same cord.
Syncing your PlayStation 4 to your TV
Many smart televisions have the ability to sync up with your PlayStation 4, including (obviously) Sony’s BRAVIA big screens. All you’ve got to do from your main menu is go to Settings, System, and check the box for Enable HDMI Device Link. Your PlayStation 4 is then ready to accept commands from your TV, as long as it’s compatible. You can use your TV remote to scroll through the PS4 main menu and for apps like YouTube and Hulu. If you turn off your TV, the system should go into Standby mode. Likewise, if you turn on your console, it should turn on your television along with it. Of course, the effectiveness of the HDMI Device Link might vary depending on what’s connected to your PS4.
PlayStation App: using your phone as a remote/keyboard
Tired of using the on-screen keyboard whenever you have to type in your passwords, or messages to friends? Downloading the PlayStation App and syncing it to your PS4 allows you to navigate the menus from your phone and do all kinds of nifty tricks with your console. Best of all, you can input text from your phone, which is a lot speedier than typing with the DualShock 4. If you don’t want to use the controller or your phone for input, you can also use a computer keyboard and mouse. Just make sure the USB device is plug-and-play compatible (or, like, just not really old). For a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you have to go to Settings, Devices, and Bluetooth Devices to sync the system up to the device (you might have to consult the device’s manual for more info). Sure as heck beats typing things in manually with a controller.
Voice Commands through your headset mic
For those jealous of the Xbox One’s voice command capabilities with the Kinect, the PlayStation 4 has a solid alternative. If you have your mic plugged into your controller, have a microphone-enabled headset synced, or have a PlayStation Camera connected to your PlayStation 4, you should be able to operate your console via voice commands. All you have to do is say the word “PlayStation” aloud and start barking out orders. It’s like having your very own video game butler! Except he sucks at doing laundry.
Downloading free PS Plus games for Vita and PS3 as well
Yes, we all know that the PlayStation Plus’ monthly pair of free PS4 games is great. PlayStation Plus is even more awesome if you have a PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita to download the monthly games available for those as well. Even if you don’t have a Vita or PS3, you should make it a habit of getting their monthly free games through the PlayStation Store’s official website. For the most part, you’re not able to download them through your PS4’s access to the PlayStation Store and have to do this through a web browser.
As long as you’re subscribed to a PS Plus account, you should have access to all of the games you previously have gotten for free, including the PS3 and PS Vita titles. You should make it a monthly habit of getting those PS3 and PS Vita games for free in case you decide to get one of those consoles, so you have a slew of games to download and play for free right off the bat.
You can download pre-ordered digital games prior to release
While it’s nice to look at an entire collection of video games on your shelf, it’s quite convenient to download games from the PlayStation Store and enjoy them without ever having to set foot outside. Downloading games online reduces the amount of clutter at your place, but it also comes with another big bonus. Most digital games you pre-order from the PlayStation Store are able to auto-download early so that they’ll be ready to play once it hits midnight on the game’s launch date. Even if you go to a store doing a midnight release, you still have to take the time to make it back home and likely update the game upon first putting the disc in your system. Digital pre-orders can save you up to an hour or two of precious game time when it comes to the midnight release!
Share Play: playing together with a friend
Multiplayer gaming used to mean sitting next to a friend on the couch, playing on the same console. Online gaming changed all that…but the PS4’s Share Play brings it back. Let’s say you want to play against a buddy in Street Fighter V. You don’t both have to own a copy of the game in order to play. You can use the Share Play feature to let them play on your console as Player Two, and then hit Versus Mode together. Likewise, you can use Share Play just to hand over control of the game to your online friend, as if you handed them your controller in the same room. This is perfect for letting a friend get through a particularly difficult part of the game you might have trouble clearing.
Save controller battery life by dimming the DualShock 4 Light Bar
It’s true: the Light Bar on the PlayStation 4 is too bright and eats up your batteries faster than you’d like. Well, there’s a solution! Once you have your controller and console both turned on, just hold the PlayStation button down. You’ll want to select Adjust Devices on the popup menu and select the option to alter the brightness of your DualShock 4 Light Bar. Since the light doesn’t really do much, just turn the light intensity to Dim. We’re not sure how much battery life you’ll save exactly, but it will certainly make a difference in how long you can play before having to recharge.
Watching videos and movies on your PS4
The PlayStation 4’s Media Player app allows you to open various videos, music, and picture file types. While you can connect via a home media server (we suggest Googling how to connect to that), the easiest way to do this is through a simple USB drive (whether a flash or an external hard drive). Looking at pictures on your TV screen is as boring as it sounds, but being able to play videos on there is a mighty nice feature. You can watch your home movies or whatever videos you downloaded, just as long as they’re the right file type (not that we condone movie piracy or anything like that, but yeah you totally can…we’re not going to judge you).
Swap your PS4 hard drive for a larger one with more space
If you’re taking our advice about going digital for your video game library and downloading all of your purchases, you might want to consider swapping out your system’s internal hard drive for one with a higher capacity. This is so you can plug in a hard drive with much more space on it and you don’t have to worry about clearing memory all the time. Sony has posted some pretty elaborate directions on how to do this, and we don’t recommend doing this unless you’re tech savvy to some degree. Nevertheless, it’s nice getting a few extra terabytes in drive space. It can be a little bit pricey though, so be sure to do your research before you buy.
Add narrations/voice-overs to your gameplay
Being able to record your gameplay and post it up to social media is always fun, and a great way to brag to your friends about your skills. You know what’s even better? Adding your own commentary as you play. When you hit the Share Button to bring up the sharing screen, just hit Options and enable your mic (you can choose between your headset, microphone jack, or PlayStation Camera) for your video captures. It’s nice to add in your commentary live as you play, so you have more authentic reactions and things don’t feel as staged. But you’re also able to add in your commentary after the footage was already recorded. Just remember, you’re going to have to sit through your gameplay again in order to add your reactions and comments. Don’t forget you can have the PlayStation Camera film your face while you play as well.
Signing in via PlayStation Camera
If you’ve got a PlayStation Camera, you’ll be able to sign into your PSN account for your console just by facing the cam while turning on your PS4. While you might not want the world to see your gorgeous mug, it’s still a nice, high-tech feature that makes life just a tad bit simpler. Just remember, you need the camera to be able to see you, so keep a light on. You should keep a light on while playing in a dark room anyway, since it’s bad for your eyes, especially during marathon gameplay sessions. That’s two tips in one paragraph! You’re welcome.
Playing Spotify and MP3s while you game
Getting tired of hearing the same music while getting cursed out by preteens playing Call of Duty? Drown out those prepubescent insults with some better music. The PlayStation 4’s Media Player is able to play MP3 files for your music needs. Likewise, you’re also able to download Spotify and stream music from there. The music can actually continue playing while you have your game open. You’ll need to mute the in-game music of whatever you’re title playing, which you can usually do from the game’s options menu. After that, you can start fragging fools while playing whatever songs you’d like.