Gaming

The Most Common Issues with PS4 and How to Resolve Them

After eight years and the release of a new console, some of the most prevalent PS4 problems still persist. While certain issues, like the dreaded “Blue Line of Death,” were mainly experienced by early manufacturing runs of the PS4, minor problems such as automatic disc ejection can occur regardless of the console’s age. In this article, we will guide you through solving the most common PS4 problems, covering both major and minor issues.

Identifying Your PS4 Model

Before we delve into troubleshooting, it’s essential to determine which PS4 model you have. Sony produces three different models: the standard PS4, the PS4 Slim, and the PS4 Pro. However, the “Slim” model is referred to simply as the PS4 by Sony, making it harder to differentiate it from the original PS4. To identify your console, examine the edges: the original PS4 has sharp edges, while the “Slim” model features rounded edges. Knowing your model will help you navigate the troubleshooting process more effectively.

Restarting Your PS4

Before proceeding with troubleshooting steps, try completely powering off your PS4 — avoid using rest mode — and then turning it back on. This simple restart can often resolve various issues. If the problem persists, continue reading for further solutions.

Get in Touch with Sony

If the troubleshooting steps provided do not resolve your issue, here is the contact information you’ll need to reach out to Sony for additional support. You can also consult Sony’s error message library and follow the troubleshooting suggestions specific to the error you encountered.

Malfunction: Blinking Blue Indicator Light

Sony PS4 Controller Box

The most crippling problem encountered on the PS4 is the “Blue Line of Death.” Resembling the “Red Ring of Death” experienced by the Xbox 360, this issue manifests as a pulsing blue line that indicates a technical problem potentially rendering your console inoperable. Unlike the red ring, the “Blue Line of Death” does not necessarily mean your PS4 is permanently damaged. However, it signifies a significant problem that a factory reset might not solve.

When booting up your PS4, the LED indicator light on the side of the console should pulse blue briefly before turning white. On consoles affected by the “Blue Line of Death,” the blue light pulsates continuously, indicating failed video output before shutting down unexpectedly. Consequently, the console fails to send a signal to the TV, rendering it unusable. Although this problem was more widespread during the console’s initial launch, it still occurs for a small percentage of users, particularly for consoles manufactured between late 2013 and early 2014.

Potential Solutions

According to Sony’s troubleshooting guide, the blinking blue light could indicate several hardware or software issues. Here are some potential solutions to try:

  • Update your TV’s firmware: Some users have reported that updating their television’s firmware resolved the lack of audio-video signal. If you own a newer television with internet connectivity, refer to the instruction manual for guidance on updating the firmware, as it may address HDMI settings and enhance device compatibility.

  • Check the HDMI ports: Inspect the HDMI ports on both your TV and PS4, as well as the HDMI cable, for any visible abnormalities or damage. If possible, test alternative HDMI cables to rule out any issues caused by a faulty cable.

  • Check the power supply: Press and hold the power button on the front of your PS4 for at least seven seconds until the system emits two beeps and powers off. Then, disconnect the AC power cord from the electrical outlet and examine the AC IN connector and power cord for any noticeable damage or anomalies.

  • Check the hard drive: Ensure your PS4 is turned off, and then disconnect the AC power cord and all other connected cables. Slide the HDD bay cover outward and remove it to inspect the hard drive for any potential damage. Verify that it is properly seated in the HDD bay.

  • Controller reset: Verify that all components are connected correctly. 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’ve tested this method, and it can effectively boot your PS4.

Malfunction: Blinking Red Indicator Light

Reports of the “Red Line of Death” are less prevalent than the blinking blue light issue but are still serious. On consoles experiencing the “Red Line of Death,” the LED indicator light on the side of the console repeatedly flashes red before powering off after emitting three distinct beeps. This problem is often associated with overheating, as outlined in the PS4 user guide and confirmed by Sony. It could result from a fan malfunction, and in some instances, users have reported encountering this issue minutes after powering up the console for the first time. Fortunately, it doesn’t indicate a completely non-functional console.

Potential Solutions

If the problem persists and the potential solutions below do not resolve it, contact PlayStation customer support or visit an official Sony retail store for repair/replacement options.

  • Give it a rest: Touch the power button on the front of your PS4 for at least seven seconds until it beeps and powers off. Then, disconnect the power supply and allow the console to rest for an extended period, giving it enough time to cool down before powering it up again.

  • Give it ample space: Place your PS4 in a well-ventilated area, ensuring it has sufficient breathing room. Avoid placing it on carpet or similar surfaces whenever possible. Some users have reported that positioning the console vertically helps reduce overheating, although this contradicts the fact that, in this position, access to the side vent is blocked.

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Problem: Damaged HDMI Port and Faulty HDMI Cables

Although not widespread, some PlayStation players have encountered issues with damaged HDMI ports on their PS4 units. This problem leads to a lack of audio or video output on the TV and is often caused by a connection obstruction due to a bent metal component within the console’s built-in HDMI port. The reason for the bent component remains unknown, rendering the port incompatible as it can no longer establish a proper connection with the HDMI cable. There have also been reports of faulty HDMI cables that fail to function correctly for various reasons. While subsequent PS4 shipments resolved this issue following the console’s initial launch, pre-owned units or consoles experiencing HDMI problems may still require troubleshooting.

Potential Solutions

If the potential solutions provided below do not solve the problem, consider contacting Sony. Although not confirmed, Sony might send you a free replacement cable once the problem is confirmed.

  • Check the HDMI ports: Examine both the HDMI port on your TV and your PS4, along with your HDMI cable, for any obvious abnormalities or damage. If possible, try testing alternative HDMI cables.

  • Bend back the metal: If you can observe a piece of metal bent upward within the console’s HDMI port, use a pin or small tool to bend it back down. Ensure that the port has not damaged any teeth or caused additional harm to the HDMI cable. If this is indeed the issue, you may still want to contact Sony and request a replacement, even if the console starts functioning correctly.

  • Use a different HDMI cable: If you received a faulty HDMI cable from Sony, simply switch to another cable that you have available or consider purchasing a better-quality HDMI cable.

Problem: Damaged DualShock 4 Analog Sticks

The most common PS4 problems and how to fix them

While we appreciate many aspects of the DualShock 4 controller, the soft rubber padding on its analog sticks is prone to tearing, especially during gameplay that demands frequent and rapid movements (e.g., Bloodborne or Dark Souls). However, a torn rubber pad doesn’t mean you need to discard the controller.

Potential Solution

Invest in analog stick covers, such as GelTabz, which are available at retailers like GameStop and on Amazon. These covers fit easily over your analog sticks, providing enhanced comfort during gaming sessions while also safeguarding the sticks. Despite their flat design, these slightly textured covers prevent your fingers from slipping. Each package contains four covers, and GelTabz designed for PlayStation work with both DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 controllers.

Additionally, you may need to clean your controller. As you play, dirt and grime can accumulate around the buttons and seep into the controller. Therefore, if it’s been a few months or even years since your last cleaning, give your DualShock 4 a thorough cleaning. We have a handy guide on cleaning your DualShock 4 from the inside out that you can reference before attempting to sync your PS4 controller again.

Bug: PlayStation Network Connectivity Problems

The most persistent complaint regarding the PS4 is network connectivity issues, frequently manifested in error codes NW-31201-7 and WV-33899-2. The PSN experiences occasional outages, but they are usually brief and not long-lasting. Often, network errors are a result of routine PSN service maintenance (error code CE-33991-5), and users need to wait until it is completed. Nevertheless, outside of maintenance periods, there are several troubleshooting methods you can employ to restore your online connection.

Potential Solutions

  • Change DNS settings: If all other devices on your home network are functioning correctly, but your PS4 still cannot connect, try modifying your DNS settings. Navigate to Network Settings and select Custom for your connection type (Wi-Fi or wired). Choose your network, opt for the Automatic IP Address setting, and select Do Not Use for the DHCP Host Name. A prompt with two different DNS settings will appear, choose Manual. Set the primary DNS as “8.8.8.8” and the secondary DNS as “8.8.4.4”. The console will then run tests and reconnect you to the network.

  • Update your router’s firmware: Outdated firmware frequently causes connection issues. Usually, information regarding how to check for a firmware update is available on the bottom or back of your router. Follow the provided steps or contact your internet service provider for guidance. After updating your router’s firmware, you may be able to reconnect. At the very least, you can eliminate it as the cause of the problem.

  • Unplug and re-plug: Power down your PS4 and unplug it from the power source. Then, unplug your modem and router. Wait for a few minutes and reconnect the modem and router to the power source. After both devices are completely booted up and back online, plug your PS4 back into the power source and turn it on. This process fully resets both your PS4 and home network, potentially restoring your PS4’s connection.

  • Re-learn your network: Sometimes, technology can be unpredictable, and resetting your PS4’s network settings can resolve connection issues. Instruct your PS4 to forget your network and then go through the necessary steps to reconnect your console.

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If these steps do not resolve the problem, ensure that the issue is not on Sony’s end. Visit the PlayStation Network service status website, where you can find a list of all offered features and their current status. Green indicates that the features are functioning correctly, while other colors indicate ongoing issues. You’ll also find a reminder at the top of the page for scheduled maintenance periods to plan accordingly for PSN downtime.

Malfunction: Disc Auto Ejects or Fails to Eject

User reports regarding malfunctioning optical drives on PS4 have been trickling in since the console’s launch. Some consoles are unable to eject discs, while others automatically eject inserted discs. Some reports mention that the console continuously attempts to eject a disc even if no disc is present.

This issue primarily affects early PS4 models, which featured touch-capacitive power and eject buttons. When the eject button is touched on these models, a piece of rubber assists in the ejection process. The problem arises when overheating causes the rubber to expand, resulting in random disc ejections. Sony addressed this hardware issue in later console models by replacing the touch-operated sensors with mechanical buttons. However, for users with the original model, the risk of auto-ejection persists.

If the problem persists after trying the potential solutions below, contact Sony for additional assistance.

Potential Solutions

  • Place the console vertically: Some reports indicate that this issue is more frequent when the PS4 is positioned horizontally. Consider purchasing a stand for the console and try placing it vertically. If the issue persists, it may be a hardware problem requiring a replacement.

  • Manually eject the disc: If your console is unable to eject a disc, press and hold the power button on the front of the PS4 for at least seven seconds until the system emits a beep and powers off. Then, disconnect the AC power cord and all other connected cables. Slide the front panel of the console off, following the extraction tutorial provided on the PlayStation site.

  • Power cycle: Power down your console, unplug all cords, and hold the power button down for 30 seconds. Then, allow it to sit for at least two minutes before reattaching all cables and powering on your system.

Problem: Running Out of Storage Space

Current PS4 models, including the “Slim” model and the more powerful PS4 Pro, offer increased internal storage of up to 1TB. This capacity provides ample space for several AAA games, allowing you to switch between favorites without needing to delete any. However, those with a 500GB internal drive frequently encounter storage limitations, especially as game updates increase file sizes beyond their initial launch sizes.

Potential Solution

You have two potential solutions to address storage limitations:

  • Connect a USB external hard drive: The PS4 supports any USB 3.0-compatible hard drive. Simply connect the hard drive to one of the PS4’s USB ports and select the “Format as Extended Storage” option.

  • Swap out your PS4’s internal storage: Any 2.5-inch drive with a storage capacity between 160GB and 8TB will work with your PS4. You can replace the internal drive without voiding your PS4’s warranty. Before starting, upload all your saved files to the cloud through PlayStation Plus or save them to a flash drive. After completing the storage upgrade, you can easily retrieve your saved files by following our step-by-step guide.

Bug: Disc Read and Application Errors

Disc read errors, often indicated by error code CE-35486-6, may suggest a damaged disc. While errors occurring with undamaged discs are unfortunate, they are rare but possible. Similar issues can also occur with downloaded games (error CE-34878-0). In either case, the same steps can potentially resolve the problem. If the issue occurs with a physical game you recently purchased, the disc may be defective, and you may need to consider exchanging or returning it.

Possible Solutions

  • Power cycle: Similar to the auto-eject error mentioned earlier, a simple power cycle can sometimes resolve 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 cables and powering on your system.

  • Reinstall: Even physical games require installation on your console. Eject the game and locate its on-screen icon. Press the Options button on your controller and delete the game from your hard drive. Insert the disc again, and the installation process should start automatically, indicating that your console recognizes the disc. For digital games experiencing issues, uninstalling and reinstalling the application can also solve the problem.

  • Rebuild the database: Remove the disc in question, power down your console by holding the power button until you hear two beeps, and then hold the power button for about five seconds to boot the console in safe mode. Connect your PS4 controller to the console via USB and choose the rebuild database option. The process can take a few minutes or even a few hours.

  • Install the latest updates: Check for any system or application updates. If updates are available, install them and restart your console.

  • Initialize the system: A fresh start can sometimes resolve persistent disc and application errors. Prioritize backing up all your saved data to a USB drive or the cloud. Then, navigate to settings and select initialization. This will return your system to its initial setup, meaning you’ll need to reinstall all your applications. However, it may also solve various disc and application errors.

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Problem: A Game Has “Bricked” Your System

In early 2019, the online role-playing game Anthem by Electronic Arts and BioWare caused issues that “bricked” PS4 systems, seemingly rendering them non-functional. However, the situation is not that dire, and you should be able to return to normal gameplay. Please note that while the reports specifically mention Anthem, you should follow the same process for any game causing similar issues.

Possible Solutions

  • Boot your PlayStation console in safe mode by holding down the power button until it beeps twice if Anthem has crashed your system.

  • Once the console restarts, select the Rebuild Database option. This action will not erase your game save data, and if the issue occurs again, preventing access to your data, repeat these steps to restore functionality.

  • BioWare and Electronic Arts are actively investigating the crashes to identify the underlying cause. Stay updated for any relevant announcements.

Problem: Excessive Fan Noise

The most common PS4 problems and how to fix them

Games like The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima push the PS4 to its limits, resulting in the fans working at maximum capacity. However, if you experience excessive fan noise during less demanding games, there might be an issue. If you see no red blinking lights, your PS4 is not overheating. Nevertheless, the fans may not be functioning optimally.

Possible Solutions

  • Clean with compressed air: Completely power off your PS4 by holding the Power button for at least seven seconds. Then, unplug the HDMI and AC power cables. Inspect the vents for any dust buildup. To clean the vents, use compressed air, ensuring that you direct the air stream away from the console. This process requires caution to avoid pushing dust further into the system. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can open your PS4 and clean out any dust inside. Please note that this advanced process will void your warranty, so it’s not recommended for inexperienced users.

  • Elevate your console: Once you have removed the dust, raise your console as high as possible from the floor. For optimal dust prevention, place it on a hard, flat surface (not carpet). Additionally, pets can exacerbate the issue, so keep your console out of their range.

  • Give it space: Excessive fan noise usually results from dust and improper ventilation. Clear some space around your PS4 to ensure adequate airflow, preventing the fans from working overtime.

Problem: Headphones Not Working

If you’re not hearing any sound through headphones connected to your DualShock 4 controller, there may be an issue. Bluetooth headsets present their own challenges, so consult our guide on connecting Bluetooth headphones to your PS4. For an audio upgrade, consider browsing our list of the best PS4 headsets.

Possible Solutions

  • Unplug and replug your headphones: As with most hardware issues, a reset often provides a solution. Unplug your headphones and then plug them back in to see if this resolves the problem.

  • Configure headphone settings: If you still encounter issues, audio may not be routed to your headphones. Navigate to Settings > Devices > Controllers from the home screen. Select Output to Headphones and choose All Audio. If you cannot choose Output to Headphones, your DualShock 4 may not detect your headset. In the same menu, you can adjust the headphone volume.

  • Clean the headphone jack: If your DualShock 4 does not detect your headphones or if issues persist, the headphone jack is likely to blame. The 3.5mm headphone jack can be finicky, so try rotating your headphone plug to check for audio pop-in. If necessary, unplug your headphones and clean the headphone jack using a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol. Use just enough alcohol to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. You can also use a toothpick to gently remove crumbs or other debris, but exercise caution. Pushing too hard could damage the headphone jack.

If you’re contemplating upgrading to the next-gen console and want to part ways with your PS4, check out our comparison of the PS4 vs. PS5 consoles. Alternatively, read our full review of the PS5. And if you’re considering switching teams, explore our PS5 vs. Xbox Series X comparison. It’s important to note that as the next-gen consoles advance and PS4s age, issues may become more frequent. However, this is expected with any aging technology.

Conclusion

In this article, we have explored the most common problems encountered with the PS4 and provided potential solutions to address each issue. By following these troubleshooting steps, you can resolve many of the common problems affecting your PS4. If the issues persist or if you encounter any other problems, do not hesitate to contact Sony for further assistance. Remember to always stay updated with the latest system and game updates to ensure a smooth gaming experience.

OnSpec Electronic, Inc. is committed to providing high-quality electronic products and customer support. If you have any specific questions or concerns related to OnSpec Electronic, Inc. products, please reach out to our support team. We are here to assist you.

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