Sony’s first beta for the PS5 is rolling out today and there are a lot of reasons to be excited. The most notable update is the long-awaited unlocking of the system’s m.2 SSD bay, allowing users to expand their console with storage fast enough to play next-gen games.
But it’s not just SSD expansion that Sony is rolling out in this update. 3D audio, the PS5’s most overlooked feature, is now compatible with built-in TV speakers alongside headphones, and Sony is bringing a suite of improvements to the console’s social features, like the ability to compose messages to your friends in the Game Base instead of needing to open the full chat screen. As with all betas, there could be bugs.
If you don’t want to wait for the final release, here’s how you can enroll in the beta.
How to enroll in the PS5 beta
To enroll your PSN account in the beta wishlist, go to this webpage and make sure you’re signed in to your PlayStation Network account. Unlike most public beta programs, this beta is currently invite-only, so you’re not guaranteed early access to the beta by enrolling. If you are selected for the Beta, Sony will send you an invitation email.
How to back up your PS5 before you install the beta
First, connect an empty USB drive to your console. Make sure you connect it either to the USB-C port on the front, or one of the USB-A ports on the back, since the USB-A port on the console’s front is very slow. In the “System” section of your settings, go to “System Software” and select “Backup and Restore”, then select “Backup your PS5”. Next, select all the data you want to backup, then start the backup. Once the backup is complete, you’re good to disconnect the drive and update your console to the beta.
How to actually update your PS5 to the beta
If you receive a beta invite, follow the instructions in the email Sony will send you. Then boot up your PS5 and go to Settings > System > System Software > System Software Update and Settings. Here, you should see the “Update System Software” option should say “beta” now. Select this and the update should start.
How to unenroll and go back to stable firmware
If the beta makes your console too unstable and you don’t want to wait for future beta updates that could resolve it, Sony thankfully makes uninstalling beta software as easy as installing it. Go back into your settings and navigate to the “System Software Update and Settings” menu. You should see a new option that says “Stop Using Beta Version”. The console will reinstall the stable build of the PS5 software. Since your account is still enrolled in the beta program, if future betas are more stable, you can always opt back into using beta builds.
How to use 3D Audio on your TV with the PS5 beta
3D audio has, up until now, been exclusive for headphones on PS5, offering a more immersive sound experience, comparable to surround sound speaker systems. With this beta, Sony is bringing 3D audio support to built-in TV speakers as well.
If you want to try it out on your TV, first make sure that your TV isn’t outputting to a soundbar or other sound system as Sony has yet to offer support for those. Either disconnect your TV from those devices or just switch the audio output in your TV’s settings to its built-in speakers.
To have your PS5 output 3D audio go to Settings > Sound > Audio Output and then turn on “Enable 3D Audio for TV Speakers”. This will enable the console’s generic 3D audio profile which may perform better or worse depending on the acoustics of your room. To get a more tailored experience, make sure you use the beta’s 3D audio calibration function after enabling it for your TV. The PS5 will perform an audio calibration that uses the microphone on your DualSense controller to measure how sound travels in your space and then tune the 3D audio algorithm accordingly.
Since this is the first time 3D audio is available without headphones, expect more changes to this setting throughout the beta. It's worth checking the beta notes as new updates drop to see what other improvements Sony brings before the beta ends.