The PlayStation 4 is nearing six years old, and in that time, it’s changed quite a lot. Through countless system software updates, Sony has added all kinds of bells and whistles to the console’s interface — so many, in fact, that a lot of people may not even be aware of some of them. No matter how long you’ve had your PS4, there might be some little tips and tricks you’ve never spotted. In this guide, we’re going to go through some lesser known PS4 features you might not know about.
This is probably one of the better known features in this guide, but we hardly hear of anyone actually using it. Share Play is a clever way to, well, share your games with your friends. In Sony’s own words, “Share Play lets any friend who owns a PS4 console join you on a virtual sofa”. Essentially, you can let a friend watch you play a game, take control of the game themselves, or even play a local multiplayer game over the internet — whether your friend owns the game or not.
Share Play has lots of uses; you can use it to let a friend try a game before they buy it, or get them to help you through a tricky section you’ve been stuck on.
It’s easily activated. While playing a game, bring up the Share menu with the Share button and choose Start Share Play. Following a connection speed test, you can then choose a friend from your list who you’d like to share the game with. Easy peasy.
You can run a game and an app at the same time. This can come in handy in certain situations. Say, for example, you want to follow a walkthrough online with the PS4’s web browser. You can easily have the web browser running at the same time as your game — there’s no need to close one down while you use the other.
You can’t have two games running simultaneously, but your PS4 is capable of some useful multitasking. Depending on the application, your PS4 might suspend your game, but you can jump right back into it where you left off.
Double press the PS button to swap between screens
If you double press the central PS button on your controller, you’ll hot swap between your game or media app and the last screen you were viewing in the PS4’s menus. This also extends to the web browser and PlayStation Store. If you’re buried within the PS4’s settings menus or checking your notifications, double pressing the PS button will get you back to your game or media app immediately.
Press L1 and R1 to skip to the left and right of the main menu
Using the shoulder buttons, you can jump straight to the far left or right of the main ribbon of icons. This little trick will allow you to navigate a little more quickly.
Press square on hidden trophies to see their details
If you’re struggling to figure out what those hidden trophies are meant to be, you can easily find out. Press square when viewing a hidden trophy, and all its details will be revealed.
Additionally, if you hit the Options button when viewing a hidden trophy’s details, you can select Search Internet to automatically do a Google search for said trophy.
You can dim your controller’s light
Not a fan of your DualShock 4’s big blue light bar? You can change how bright it is. You can’t turn it off altogether, but you can change its brightness in the Settings menu.
Go to Settings > Devices > Controllers. You’ll see an option named ‘Brightness of DUALSHOCK 4 Light Bar’. Here, you can toggle between three settings: Bright, Medium, or Dim.
Your controller’s light bar tells you how charged the controller is
When you plug your DualShock 4 into your PS4 to charge up, the light begins to glow orange. You’ll no doubt have noticed that it pulses on and off during the charge, and when it’s fully charged, the light will be off altogether. However, did you also know the pulsing light slows down the more it’s charged up?
Remap all your buttons
The PS4 has a bunch of accessibility options, but one of the most useful is probably customising your button layout. In Settings > Accessibility, scroll down to Button Assignments and tick the box. Then, you’re able to choose what functions your PS4 controller’s buttons do. You can fully customise your control scheme in this way.
Control your PS4 with your face and voice
If you have a PlayStation Camera, you can activate some fun interface options. When the camera is active, you can say the word “PlayStation” and then begin using several voice commands. You can start games and applications, take screenshots, and perform other basic functions using the microphone. This also works with any other mic you might have to hand.
You can also sign into your PS4 with just your face. Go to Settings > Login Settings > Enable Face Recognition. From here, you can use the PlayStation Camera to take a snap of your mug, and from then on, simply use your face to log into your PS4 profile.
Type with the touch pad and motion sensors
If there’s one thing that’s clumsy about the PS4’s interface, it’s the on-screen keyboard that appears whenever you have to enter text. It’s not too bad to type things out with your controller, but there are a couple of optional alternatives that might make it a little quicker.
You can use the touch pad rather than the regular buttons. Slide your finger across the pad to choose a digit, and then press down to select it. You can also use the DualShock 4’s built-in motion sensors to type more quickly.
You can create events
If you want to schedule in a time to play a multiplayer game with your chums, the PS4 has a built-in way to manage this. In the top menu, you’ll find Events, marked with a calendar icon. Here, you can see upcoming game tournaments or seasonal events, but you can also set up your very own.
Scroll down to Create Event and select it. From here, you can name your event, set a date, time, duration, game, and number of players, and then send invitations to whoever you like. It’s a great way to organise a group of players.
Choose who can send you messages
Have you ever had a spam message on your PS4? Or maybe you’ve had someone throw some unsavoury language at you? There’s a way to prevent all that. Go into Settings > Account Management > Privacy Settings, then choose Personal Info | Messaging. Scroll down to Messages. Here, you can choose who can send you messages — Anyone, Friends Only, or No One. No more nonsense from people you don’t know.
View patch notes on all your games
If you’re not playing a game, you’re probably downloading an update for it. Patches can be annoying, but they more often than not make your games even better. You’re able to view the entire history of patches and updates for any game, if you want to see what’s changed or been added. Hover over a game’s icon, then press Options and scroll down to Update History. Depending on the game, you should be able to see all the patch notes for each update it’s received.
Turn the controller off with one button
Sometimes, you might want to turn off your active controller, but there’s one very easy way to do so. Simply hold down the PS button for about 10 seconds, and your DualShock 4 will turn off. That’s much simpler than going through the menus.
You can zoom in
Another accessibility setting allows you to zoom the screen in. Primarily for the visually impaired, you can activate this option by going to Settings > Accessibility > Zoom. Enable it, and then use square + PS button to zoom into the screen at any point.
What other little known tips and tricks do you know about the PS4? Do any of these come as a surprise? Share the knowledge in the comments below.