If you’re having trouble with your PlayStation 4, initializing may be one of the best troubleshooting steps you can take. It resets the system software to its original factory settings, clearing all data including games and apps installed on the console. It also resets the console’s settings to their default values.
While this process does delete your data, it doesn’t wipe your game saves or other user profiles that have been created. Those hours spent leveling up your character in your favorite games won’t be lost, as all PS4 content is saved to the cloud by Sony. However, if you’re planning on selling your PS4 in the future, it’s a good idea to initialize it to avoid any potential theft of your personal information.
The full initialization process rewrites all of the data on your PS4’s hard drive with random 1s and 0s, making the original data completely destroyed and unrecoverable. This option is ideal if you’re planning to sell or give away your console.
Quick initialization also rewrites the data on your hard drive, but instead of physically deleting it, it simply changes the permissions for that data so that the storage device doesn’t recognize it as valid data anymore. This method still leaves your data intact, but it can be recovered by unscrupulous data miners or thieves. The benefit of this option is that it doesn’t require as long of a wait time as a full initialization and still keeps your personal data safe from anyone that might attempt to steal it.