In the old days, video game consoles could do just a single thing: play video games. Thankfully, those days are long gone now. Modern consoles are fully capable multimedia hubs for your living room. Not only can they power the most impressive and graphically intensive video games of all time, but they also offer a whole mess of options and features you can use at your will. If you’re one of the millions of PlayStation 4 owners, you’ll want to check out some of these useful PS4 features you might not have known your console could do.
1. Stream your game sessions
Listen up, aspiring streamers and YouTubers: You’ll be pleased to know you don’t need an expensive computer to stream your PlayStation 4 game sessions online. With nothing more than a PS4, you can stream any game you own directly to Twitch, YouTube, Daily Motion, or UStream.
All you have to do is start the game and press the Share button to bring up the sharing menu. Once you’re there, just press Begin Broadcast, sign into your account, and go live.
To make your streams the best experience possible for viewers, I recommend using an Ethernet cable to plug the PS4 directly into your router to maximize your upload speed. It’s also good manners to use a headset so you can talk to viewers and answer any questions they might have. Before you know it, you could be raking in millions like a PewDiePie for a whole new generation. It’s good to have dreams.
2. Save screenshots
Games on PS4 look incredible. And thanks to the screenshot function, you can save the image onscreen whenever you want. You can send these out on social networks, use them as desktop backgrounds, or just look at them to remind you of your favorite moments from the games you’ve played. To save a screenshot, just press and hold the Share button until the screenshot icon pops up in the upper left corner of the screen.
3. Remote play
Believe it or not, you don’t actually need a PlayStation 4 hooked up to a screen to play your PS4 games on it. You can play them on your PS Vita, on another TV if you have a PlayStation TV, and even on your computer. Streaming PS4 games to other screens is called Remote Play. It’s a fairly complicated process, so check out our Remote Play article to get started.
4. Dim the light on your controller
I’m sure Sony had good intentions when it decided to make the light bar on the back of every DualShock 4 controller glow with the force of a thousand stars, but it can be distracting when you’re playing in the dark. To dim the light on your controller, go into Settings > Devices > Controllers > Brightness of DualShock 4 Light Bar. Here you can set it to Bright (standard), Medium, or Dim.
5. PlayStation app
The PlayStation app, available on iOS and Android, lets you check into your PlayStation account. You can use it to manage your game downloads, redeem codes, and compare trophies with friends. It even lets you use your phone or tablet as a keyboard for text entry fields on your PS4. That comes in more handy than you might think.
6. Use a mouse and keyboard
While most PS4 games aren’t compatible with the standard mouse-and-keyboard controls PC gamers enjoy, using a mouse and keyboard can help you navigate other apps much more quickly. Just plug them into the USB ports on your PS4, and you can use them in the system’s built-in web browser, and to type text into entry fields.
7. Quickly switch apps
If you ever want to switch apps without the bother of going back to the home screen, you can do so by double-tapping the PlayStation button. This lets you toggle between the two most recently used apps.
8. Get game audio through headphones
If you’re playing a game and you don’t want to bother other people in the room, you can plug earbuds or headphones directly into the 3.5mm jack on your controller. Then just hold down the PlayStation button, select Adjust Devices > Output to Headphones, and select All Audio, and you’re all set. Now you can mute your TV and listen to the audio from the game or app without bothering anyone.
9. Charge your controller in rest mode
To charge your controller during the PlayStation 3 era, you had to leave your console on for hours. If you found that baffling and annoying, you can rest assured that it’s not the case with the PlayStation 4. When your controller battery gets low, you can simply plug it in while your console is in Rest mode, and it’ll be charged and ready to go next time you want to play a game.
10. Enable a passcode
Let’s say you don’t want your stupid roommates playing your PS4. To restrict who can use your console, you can set a passcode. To do so, go into Settings > Users > Login Settings > Passcode Management. That’ll teach them.
11. Remap buttons
In a move to improve accessibility, Sony now lets any PS4 owner remap the buttons on the DualShock 4 controller. To switch them around, go to Settings > Accessibility > Button Assignments > Enable Custom Button Assignments. Now you control the buttons; they don’t control you.