How to Connect Your PS4/PS5 to a Laptop or Mac

Playstationlaptop Controller

When you have your PlayStation next to a monitor or TV, it’s convenient to hook up your console to your setup for quick and easy gaming. However, if you own something like a Mac or a laptop, you may need to do a little more legwork to play games on your screen. Let’s take a look at how you can connect PS4 or PS5 to your laptop or Mac.

The Problem With Using a PlayStation’s HDMI Cable on a Laptop or Mac

If you use a traditional computer and monitor setup that uses HDMI connections, plugging in a PS system is easy. If your monitor has two HDMI ports, plug in your PlayStation into the second port and switch between the inputs. On the other hand, if your monitor only has one HDMI port, you can use an HDMI splitter to toggle between your computer and the console.

Ps4 Mac Ports
Image source: Unsplash

Your laptop and/or Mac has an HDMI port, so that solves that, right? Unfortunately, the HDMI ports on your computer are different from those on a monitor. Monitor HDMI ports listen for data because a monitor’s primary job is to display information. Your laptop or Mac’s HDMI ports, however, are designed to send data instead.

As a result, if you plugged in your PlayStation’s HDMI cable into the HDMI port, nothing will happen. That’s because your laptop wants to send data down the HDMI port, but your console also wants to send data back down the cable.

How to Play PS4/PS5 Games on a Laptop or Mac

Because a direct HDMI connection is not possible between a PlayStation and your laptop in the majority of cases, you’ll have to resort to taking advantage of your own wireless network to “stream” the content. If you want to play your console’s games on a laptop or Mac, you can use Remote Play.

Remote Play is an app for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It lets you connect to your PS4 or PS5 remotely, as long as you have a fast Internet connection. When you first use it, it’s eerie to see your console turn on “by itself.” However, once it’s running, you can see and interact with its screen from any device.

How to Use Remote Play

To use Remote Play on a laptop or Mac, download it from the website. On Mac, it’s a PKG installer and on Windows it’s an EXE file.

While you wait for the download to finish, hunt around for a USB cable and a PlayStation controller, then plug them into your system. While you can use your keyboard to navigate your console, you’re limited to only the arrow keys to move, Enter to confirm things, and Esc to go back.

Once the app is downloaded, boot it up and log in with your credentials. Then, click Start to search for your device.

Ps4 Remote Start

If the app finds it, it will turn on your console and show you a feed. If you’re next to your console when this happens, it should beep and boot up “by itself.”

Ps4 Remote Connect

Now you can use your PlayStation controller to play games or use the keyboard to perform basic menu navigation.

How to Turn Off PS4/PS5 Controller

Once you’re done gaming, you may be tempted to hit the cross at the top-right of the window. However, if you do this, all it does is close the remote connection to the console; the console itself will continue to run.

To turn off the PS4/PS5 properly, press the PlayStation button and select the power options from the menu. With a controller, this is easy; it’s the shiny button in the middle with a PlayStation logo on it. Without a controller, you need to wiggle the mouse over the window to get the bottom bar to appear, then click the middle button with the logo.

Ps4 Remote Button

Frequently Asked Questions

What operating system do I need on my laptop to play PlayStation games?

For Windows, 10 and up works fine. On Mac, you need at least the High Sierra version. This may cut off a significant portion of systems made prior to 2016, but it was necessary to maintain compatibility with certain communications features, which weren’t fleshed out in prior versions of these operating systems. As an alternative, Remote Play also works on mobile devices running Android and iOS.

Do all my games work with Remote Play?

Compatibility with Remote Play is limited only by any extra peripherals like the PlayStation camera or Move Controller, both of which cannot be passed on through Remote Play. If any games use these two peripherals, they will not work properly.

What are the best conditions for a smooth gaming experience?

To make sure you avoid frame skipping, micro-stutters, and other issues related to using Remote Play, you must have at least 15 Mbps bandwidth available to dedicate to gaming on your wireless router.

Nowadays, most routers provide ample room for this within the local wireless network, so make sure your PlayStation and laptop are both on the same local area network (LAN). Some routers will even provide Quality of Service (QoS) features. If you have such a feature, enable it to ensure that streaming services like Remote Play are given top priority.

Also, make sure that the path between your laptop and the console is not interrupted by devices that can cause interference. These include microwave ovens and other wireless devices. If you encounter significant stutters, disconnect all wireless keyboards/mice and other such accessories from the laptop and any other devices in your home and try playing again. If you find this improves your performance, slowly re-connect each device one by one to isolate what exactly may be causing the interference. Remember, Wi-Fi technology relies on radio signals in the 2.4 GHz and sometimes also the 5 GHz band. If anything else is using the narrow band your router allocated for the PlayStation, it will cause issues.

Can I connect PS4/PS5 to a Linux device?

Yes, you can, using a free and open-source Remote Play alternative called Chiaki.

Image credit: Piqsels

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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