How to Downgrade PS4

How to Downgrade PS4

Can You Downgrade a PS4?

Yes, it is possible to downgrade your PS4 by downgrading the PS4’s firmware; however, there is a risk factor that needs to be considered before deciding to undertake such an uncertain step.

Unlike other forms of technology and devices, choosing to downgrade a PS4 could have potentially serious consequences for your device. If you do decide to downgrade the PS4, there is not really a way to come back from it, so you need to make sure it is the right decision and you are prepared for any possible outcome.

If something were to go wrong while you were going through the process of downgrading your PS4, you are going to be left with a device that will not work, and PS4s are expensive to replace.

Sony is considered reliable in terms of providing updates for its system’s software on their different consoles. These updates are meant to enhance a player’s gaming experience and address any problems that current software might be causing.

Sometimes players do not appreciate these updates, especially if the upgrades have actually worsened their gaming experience.

There are occasions when these software updates do not support older video games, meaning a player will lose their ability to play their preferred games, and it will leave them unsatisfied.

Other times, updates cause the PS4 system to glitch or crash, and there is little that can be done until Sony pushes out a new update.

Depending on the operating system that you are choosing to install in place of the PS4’s original firmware, you could be doing more harm than good.

If you select an operating system that is incompatible with your PS4 or corrupt in some way, your console will be destroyed.

It might physically still be fine, but the console’s capabilities will no longer be accessible to you. Do not trust someone on Reddit or other social forum who told you it would be the best decision, because they could have left out details, and you may not have the whole story.

Sony restricts the ability to downgrade its system within the PlayStation platform for a reason.

Just because you know that it is possible to downgrade your PS4 does not mean that it is necessarily the best decision.

With Sony making it so difficult to downgrade a PS4 on its platform, users have had to find different ways to bypass that requirement, which tends to include either using an off-market site or installing previous versions that users had backed up to a different device.

If you want to try downgrading your PS4, it is advisable that you have a spare PS4 in case something goes wrong; otherwise, you could find yourself left without a video game console.

Modifying the PS4’s software will result in you losing the ability to factory reset the console or restore your system’s settings.

If something were to go wrong, there is nothing that can really be done. Make sure you read this entire article before trying, or you could render your PS4 unusable.

Requirements to Downgrade a PS4

The requirements to downgrade a PS4 are fairly simple, and are likely things that you already have in your home. If you are going to downgrade your PS4, you need to have the following items:

  • A working PS4
  • A working PS4 controller
  • A flash drive or external hard drive with a USB attachment
  • A computer to access the replacement software, if that is the method you intend to use
  • Another PS4, just in case things go wrong. Otherwise, you will be left without a console.

How to Downgrade PS4 Firmware

There are a number of reasons that PS4 users are searching for a way to downgrade their PS4 firmware. The act of downgrading your PS4’s firmware is not available if you try to downgrade the pre-installed firmware already present on the PS4, so you would have to consider other methods to achieve this result.

It is possible to go back to an older PS4 software version if you saved the previous system software elsewhere and then restore it on your device or if you use a PS4 system recovery tool.

Keep in mind that, depending on the age of the older software, it may not be compatible with your system. Further, some games will not cooperate with older software versions.

Though there is no way for you downgrade your PS4’s firmware to an earlier firmware version without having to do some serious work, it is possible to uninstall the PS4 firmware update so that you do not continue to receive any updates and have your firmware automatically updated.

You can adjust this feature by going to your PS4 console’s settings, selecting “System”, choosing “Firmware Update”, and then pressing “Uninstall”.

If you are wanting to revert back to an earlier firmware version that was previously on your PS4, you would have to restore the PS4 back to its original factory settings.

The act of downgrading your PS4’s firmware is something that you probably should not toy with. There is a lot of risk involved, and if you are not careful, you could make a mistake.

Downgrading a PS4 is not as simple as when you downgrade other devices or forms of technology. The process is actually pretty complex, and might not give you the results that you are looking for.

If you are absolutely determined to do this, however, there are a few ways that it can be done.

Method 1 – Initialize PS4 from BIOS

In order to use this method, you will need to start your PS4 in Safe Mode. To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1: Turn your PS4 off completely. Find and push the PS4 power button. You will know you have turned it off correctly if the light next to the power button blinks a few times and then you will hear the console completely shut down.

Step 2: Press and hold the power button. While doing this, you should hear a beeping noise, and then an additional beeping noise approximately 7 to 10 seconds later. Once you have heard the second beep, release the power button.

Step 3: The first two steps, if done correctly, will cause your PlayStation 4 to reboot into Safe Mode.

If you want to exit Safe Mode, you will need to turn your console off by pressing the PS4 button, and then power it back on. The console will revert back to its normal mode.

Step 4: To continue, make sure that your controller is plugged into the PS4 and press the PS4 button on the controller. In order to navigate the rest of the steps here, you will need your controller. Make sure that you have it plugged into the PS4’s USB port with the correct cord.

Step 5: From here, you will use a flash drive or an external hard drive on a computer to obtain system version 4.55.

Download it to your flash drive or external hard drive, safely eject the hardware from your computer, and then plug the USB into the USB port on the PS4.

Be sure to not disconnect your controller. You should use a different USB drive for this step.

Step 6: Install the new software version onto the PlayStation 4. This could take a while, and the overall process will result in the deletion of all of the previously stored data on your console.

Make sure that you have already saved all of your PS4 data onto your backup PS4, or else you risk losing everything.

Step 7: Power down your PS4, and then power it back on in its normal mode. The system should automatically update itself to version 4.05.

Method 2 – Use PlayStation’s Safe Mode/Recovery Mode

Just like the last method, you will need to be in the PlayStation 4’s Safe Mode for this method.

Step 1: Turn your PS4 off completely. Find and push the PS4 power button. You will know you have turned it off correctly if the light next to the power button blinks a few times and then you will hear the console completely shut down.

Step 2: Press and hold the power button. While doing this, you should hear a beeping noise, and then an additional beeping noise approximately 7 to 10 seconds later.

Once you have heard the second beep, release the power button. As long as you have done it all correctly, your console will reboot in Safe Mode.

Step 3: Download PS4’s version 5.05 onto a flash drive or external hard drive from your computer. Safely eject the hardware from your device and then insert it into one of the USB ports on the PS4. Your controller will also need to be connected via a USB cord.

Step 4: Install the new software on your PS4. You will see a list of options, and to install the new software, you will need to locate the flash drive or external hard drive, and then select it.

Then, choose the new software you want to install and allow the PS4 to install it. The timing of this step will vary.

Step 5: Once installed, you should also check and make sure that your PS4 has its ability to connect to the internet turned off.

If it remains on, you will automatically go online when you reboot the PS4, and an update would begin that would counteract the new software installation.

Step 6: Power down your PS4, and then power it back on in its normal mode.

Method 3 – Use External Software

There are various off-market websites that have available software for download in order to downgrade your PS4’s firmware, though some of these are illegal. You need to do your research before making a selection.

Regardless of what external software you choose, the process is going to be the same. Once you have chosen which operating system you want to install, download it to your flash drive or external hard drive.

Make sure that whichever device you are downloading the replacement software to has enough capable memory to store the download or else the installation will not work.

Safely eject your hardware from your computer to prevent potential corruption of the downloaded software on your part.

Once unplugged from the computer, take the flash drive or external hard drive and plug it into your PS4. Access the accessories on your PS4 screen, select the flash drive or external hard drive, and then use the new software to “flash” your operating system.

The act of “flashing” a current operating system with a new one is essentially substituting the current operating system with your new software, which will delete the old software.

Moreover, any form of software that you choose for installation to downgrade your PS4 is likely to have its own set of specific instructions.

Again, these instructions will vary and are dependent upon which operation system you have chosen to replace the current PS4 firmware. Make sure that you read the specific instructions and follow them closely so that you can avoid any problems.

If you are connected to the internet, disable this feature before going through with the downgrading of your PS4’s firmware.

If you continue to maintain an internet connection, your console will attempt to update as soon as you reboot it, meaning the newly added software will not work.

Why It’s Difficult to Downgrade a PS4

It is difficult to downgrade a PS4 because it was not designed for this purpose, and by making the process itself difficult, it will hopefully deter users from potentially making an error that would render their console unusable.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 is meant to be used with its installed firmware, so messing with it could cause problems.

In the event that you start trying to alter the original firmware, Sony will no longer assist you, meaning you will be doing all of this in total isolation and will lose anything you had in the form of a warranty.

Further, the act of changing your PS4’s firmware is against the Terms and Conditions you agreed to, meaning even though you own the console, you could find yourself in legal trouble.

Most consumers do not read the User Terms associated with their console because they are incredibly long, and let’s face it, boring.

However, within the fine print, you agreed that you would not open the console to perform any repair or alteration and would only use software provided through Sony or a company that Sony approved.

The act of downgrading your PS4 is meant to be a difficult process, especially when Sony specifically prohibits it.

1. It Poises Risk to Your Console’s Software

One reason it is so difficult to downgrade a PS4 is because it requires a substantial amount of risk to your console. If the newly installed software that took the place of PS4’s firmware is not compatible with the system or is corrupted in any way, there is nothing that can be done.

If the new software does not cooperate with your console, you will be unable to restore your device back to its factory settings, because that option will have disappeared once you got rid of the PS4’s original firmware.

You will also lose your data if you switch to a different operating system, meaning you will not even have the ability to try and make adjustments because everything will be gone.

Because you flashed your console of its original firmware, there is no way for you to return your PS4 back to your factory settings because that feature is now gone.

2. Security Issues

Another reason it is so difficult to downgrade a PS4 is that your security risk increases once you start messing with firmware, meaning hackers can potentially gain access to your data and your console.

If you continue to use the pre-installed firmware, which is the intended route, then both of your software and hardware will continuously be updated. If you change the firmware to something else, there is not necessarily a way to keep it updated.

Alterations to the firmware can also make you more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, meaning your data could be stolen from you.

Sony put measures into effect to further complicate the process and make it harder to downgrade the PS4 firmware.

PS4s have their own private keys that are unique to each console, which provides additional security. If you mess with the firmware, you lose the keys, and it is not simple to just purchase new ones.

Sony also encrypted their hard disk drive, or HDD, so this feature would potentially become unusable.

New software installation to downgrade a PS4 could even require you to rewrite the program and make adjustments to the device’s ROM, and if you do not know what you are doing or do it incorrectly, you could find your console unable to pass the security check’s requirements or code in a way that prevents the ROM and the console from being able to communicate.

Depending on the new software installed, it would be difficult to differentiate which portions are flashed, and some systems installed in place of the original firmware could cause the PS4’s functions to not work, including the simple act of turning the console on and off.

Some players choose to downgrade their PS4 so that they can gain access to illegal or pirated games, and this is again against Sony’s policies.

Sony is a business, and at the end of the day, tampering with a PS4’s firmware to downgrade it causes them to lose money because you will no longer be using the PlayStation Store, nor will you likely be purchasing games to play that Sony makes a profit off of.

Sony can choose to remove your PlayStation Network account, which would keep you from being able to use any form of a PlayStation device, including future consoles.

While they might lose money on you as a customer, they have to think of the big picture, and there are millions of people who choose a PlayStation as their gaming console.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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