We love the PS4 and DualShock 4 controller. But if there’s one area where it falls short, it’s definitely battery life.
Nothing tanks a tense round of Apex Legends like having to grasp a USB cable for a recharge, leaving it twisting across your living room. However, there are certain things you can do to extend the battery life a little bit further.
There are a few specific things that can cause the circa 8-hour battery on the PS4 controller to drain significantly. Many people point to the bright light bar on its back, but that’s not the only culprit.
Out of the box, the PS4 controller stays on as long as your PS4 is on. That’s fine while you’re gaming, but what about when you’re on a marathon Netflix session? You don’t need it on all the time for that. Then there are the speakers and the vibration motors.
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Trusted Reviews has compiled all our our top tips and tricks for increasing your DualShock 4’s battery life.
Reduce the Brightness of the PS4 Controller’s Light Bar
This change will have the smallest impact on your gameplay experience, so it’s a no-brainer to start off with.
You can’t turn the light-bar off completely, but you can reduce its brightness so that battery drain is minimised. Here’s how to do it:
You can dim the light-bar by accessing the quick menu and selecting Dualshock 4 from your devices. Recent updates have made this even easier to execute.
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Disable Vibration on your PS4 Controller
Now this has a more profound effect on gaming. Vibration is a big part of immersing yourself in a game world. Who doesn’t love to feel rumble of an engine in DriveClub or the satisfying kick of a rifle in Destiny? However, this feature eats at the battery life of your PS4 controller. Follow these steps to turn it off:
On your PS4 go to Settings > Devices > Controllers > Enable Vibration then uncheck the box and vibration will be turned off.
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Reduce the Volume of your PS4 controller
Having the speakers on the DualShock 4 blare out can reduce the battery’s longevity. Here’s how to reduce the volume:
On your PS4 go to Settings > Devices > Controllers > Volume Control, where you can then adjust the volume using the left or right buttons on the controller.
The speaker is only used in certain titles and it’s usually contextual for the action taking place on-screen, but if you’re after a few extra minutes of charge, this is worth a punt.
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Automatically Turn Off your PS4 Controllers
One of the biggest reasons the battery drains so quickly is that the PS4 controller doesn’t turn off while the console’s running. Here’s how to change that:
On your PS4 go to Settings > Power Saving Settings > Turn Off DualShock 4 Automatically – this is automatically set to off, which means that your PS4 controller stays on until the battery dies. Instead set it to 10 minutes to save as much battery life as possible. Other options are to turn off after 30 or 60 minutes. This does mean you’ll have to power it back on when you sit back down, but it’s a small price to pay.
Turn Off your PS4 Controller
If you don’t want to wait 10 minutes, you can manually turn off your PS4 controller by pressing the PlayStation button on the controller for 10 seconds.
This is a bit of a problem if you’re trying to watch a movie, as it takes you out of your current app. To combat this, press the O button and then X (e.g. for Netflix) to continue watching while you keep the PS button pressed. You should have enough time to get back to what you were watching before the controller turns off.
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Get a DualShock 4 Battery Pack
You can now get officially licensed Venom rechargeable battery packs for your PS4 controller. These clip to the bottom of the controller and add a claimed 20 hours of use. These do change the heft and shape of the controller, though, so try and have a go before you buy, in case you don’t like the change.
We gave the Venom PS4 rechargeable battery pack a whirl and gave it a full review. Although it couldn’t give that claimed extra 20 hours of play, we managed to more than double our DualShock 4’s battery life by using it.
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Get a Second DualShock 4 Controller or use your PS Vita
Having a second PS4 controller isn’t just useful for some same-screen multiplayer action. It also means you can have one on charge while you’re playing your favourite games with the other. If you’re charging your controllers via the PS4, though, make sure you keep the USBs powered even when it’s in Rest mode. To do this:
On your PS4 go to Settings > Devices > Power Saving Settings > Set Functions Available In Rest Mode > Supply Power to USB Ports and turn the option on.
Alternatively if you have a PS Vita you can use it as a controller. It’s not ideal as you’ll need to use the rear touchpad for the buttons like L2 and R2 that don’t exist on the Vita, but it does work if you’re in a pinch.
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Replace the Battery on your PS4 Controller
The final way of improving battery life on your PS4 controller requires getting your hands dirty.
The PS4 controller has a 1000mAh battery, but you can buy a 2000mAh DualShock 4 replacement battery and install it yourself. It’s not as tricky as you might think, and will double your controller’s battery life, although it will void the warranty.
You might struggle to find an official version of the battery, so if you do buy a third-party unit, make sure it’s good quality by checking reviews.
Check out this DS4 teardown video, which shows you how to replace the battery on a DualShock 4.
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Got any other tips and tricks for improving the battery life of the controller? Share your secrets with us on Twitter at @TrustedReviews.