Flashing white lights on PlayStation 5: Common errors and fixes

The white light of death can be beaten.

Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment

Consoles like the PlayStation 5 are sophisticated enough to let the users know when something is wrong. Many light colors on the PlayStation 5 let users know what the system is doing or if there are any issues.

Normally, there’s no light until you turn it on, which is when the console goes from blue to solid white. When the orange light blinks, the PS5 is heading into rest mode, and a solid orange light means it is in rest mode.

Users should usually only worry about the red blinking light on the console since that indicates it is overheating. Some users have reported getting what they call the blinking light of death, which is reminiscent of the red ring of death experienced by many Xbox 360s.

The blinking light normally comes with the console freezing.

Most of the time, experiencing an issue or two with a console is not really the cause for any alarm. The important thing to remember is that sometimes these problems come and go, and it will only time a fix or two. The solutions below are all possible fixes, but be warned, the solutions become more drastic as we go through the list.

It’s essential to save your PlayStation 5 console instead of worrying about data because you can download games and game saves from the cloud.

Hard shut down or force shut down your PlayStation 5

Also known as a “hard shut down,” you need to have the console shut itself off.

Normally, you should give a console a soft shut down (telling it to turn off), which lets it take its time to turn off, but forcing it into a hard shut down will give it time to recognize what is happening and prepare itself.

You can do it pretty easily, but you should only use it when necessary:

  1. Press down on the power button for 10 to 20 seconds.
  2. When you hear two beeps, let go.
  3. Wait as the PlayStation turns itself off quickly.

The best thing to do is to restart your console and let us see if anything is wrong and if anything can be corrected.

If the PS5 doesn’t do any beeps, you’ll have to skip all pleasantries and force shut it down. Force shutting down anything is another way to say “cut the power source.”

Unplug it from the outlet and wait until all the power goes out. In most cases, this takes only a moment, but you should only do it when you have no choice and the PlayStation 5 is not responding.

Check your PS5 for hardware issues before fixing any software issues

The hardware consists of physical parts that you can touch. There are a few issues that can cause your PS5 to freeze. Below we have a list of issues and what they do to your PlayStation. A lot of these issues are very easy to fix:

  • Your power cord is faulty. A faulty product can be determined by looking at it, if pieces are broken off, or the wire is ripping, it is defective.
    • Not your HDMI cable; that will cause an entirely different issue.
    • A broken power cord, a cord that disconnects easily, or a cord that isn’t providing electricity the same way will cause problems. Due to the PlayStation’s reduced power, some functions will run slower to prevent it from shutting down. Since playing games take up a lot of power, it often causes the console to freeze.
    • To fix this, buy another power cable for your PS5.
  • Your fan is clogged with dust. You can tell this is a problem by the fan’s sound when you play with the console. If it sounds like a jet engine, you need to fix this.
    • The PlayStation 5 needs cool air to operate since its inside gets very hot. Red blinking lights indicate overheating. It doesn’t need to be overheating to a temperature that will activate the red blinking light. Instead, it shows a white blinking light as the screen freezes.
    • To fix this, you can either open the console and clean it or use a compressed air can to blow air into the fans while the console is off. The compressed air method will remove dust, but a real cleaning will do even more. If you’re not comfortable opening your PS5, take it to a shop.
  • Your PlayStation 5 is not positioned correctly. PS5s won’t work properly in cramped spaces or upside down.
    • Make sure there is plenty of space around your PlayStation 5, so it can circulate its hot air. If it’s cramped, its surrounding area will become hot, increasing the temperature of the PlayStation.

Start the PlayStation 5 in ‘Safe Mode’

Start by seeing if your console turns on and works as it should. Consoles freeze, which has been a common problem since the first consoles came to the home. There are times when the freeze is just a one-off, and nothing is wrong internally. If the problem persists and you can’t load the console without it happening again, then you’ll need to use Safe Mode.

Safe Mode is just a way to use your console with the most basic functions, but it is only used to fix it. To activate it:

  1. Your PlayStation 5 should already be off, but if it isn’t, turn it off with the button and wait 10 seconds.
  2. Hold the power button for 10 seconds until you hear two beeps.
  3. Use a USB cable and plug your PS5 controller in to use it.
  4. Press the PS button on your controller.

When Safe Mode starts, it will want you to tell it what to do. We’ve got a list of things that work, but the further down you get, the more it will affect your PlayStation 5. There are only a few ways to fix this kind of error but if none of the above work, these are your last options. Try these in order:

  1. Reset PS5
    • This rarely works, but it’s better to take the chance and see if the PlayStation just needs to start itself up on its own. You should always give it a try, and if it doesn’t work, restart in Safe Mode.
  2. Rest PS5 (Reinstall System Software)
    • In this way, the PlayStation can undo anything that may have gotten in the way of its functionality over time. This rarely affects your data or anything like that, but be prepared to lose it if you can’t back anything up from inside the console. If you have extended storage plugged in, it will not be affected, but you should unplug it first.
  3. Rebuild Database
    • This is absolutely a last resort. This will remove everything you’ve added to the console and wipe it clean. It is essentially pushing it back to Factory settings. The game saves, messages and user data are usually available online, so you can get your stuff back quickly.
    • On every previous PlayStation console, this was called a Factory Reset.

If none of this works, you’ll need to contact PlayStation’s Customer Support or take your PS5 to a shop.