Creative Cloud Giveaway! Win the Complete Adobe CC Release FREE
Home > Tips February 11th, 2016

How Many Systems Can You Use Adobe Products (CC, CS6) On?

This is one of the most common questions we get, and the answer may pleasantly surprise you…  The place to look to find the answer is the Software License Agreement, also called the terms of use or EULA. This agreement governs the use of your Adobe product, and is translated into 28 languages within each document. It also covers some basics about product activation.

See the Adobe End-User License Agreements (EULAs)

So, in general, how many systems can you install Adobe software on, including the Creative Cloud (CC) and CS6?  The answer for individuals (as opposed to businesses) in most cases is two.  The catch is that both computers must be used only by you and the two systems cannot be used at the same time. This policy was designed so that you could run Creative Cloud (or Creative Suite) at home on your desktop PC, as well as while traveling with your laptop or tablet PC. But the types of computers and their usage has blurred so much now that you can just pick any two you own and the product should install and properly activate on both…

For example, here is the key text from the EULA for Photoshop CS6:

2.1.3 Portable or Home Computer Use. Subject to the important restrictions set forth in Section 2.1.4 [having to do with volume licensees], the primary user of the Computer on which the Software is installed … may install a second copy of the Software for his or her exclusive use on either a port­able Computer or a Computer located at his or her home, provided that the Software on the port­able or home Computer is not used at the same time as the Software on the primary Computer.

And there’s similar language in the Terms of Use for CC Software:

1.1 Use of Software: Subscription-Based License. You may activate the Software on up to 2 devices (or virtual machines) at a time, if these activations are associated with the same Adobe ID for the same individual, unless stated at the Adobe Activation page. However, you may not use the Software on these devices simultaneously.

Important Details – and Key Differences with CC

So the primary user may install another copy on a secondary computer for their own use, but the two installations cannot be used simultaneously.  Generally, for Creative Suite and Adobe Acrobat standalone, the two machines should also be of the same operating system (Windows or Mac), because the software is licensed and delivered for use on one specific platform.

However, now Creative Cloud members and single-app CC subscribers (and that includes all customers of the $9.99 Photography Plan) can install and run their tools on up to two machines of either operating system, including both a Mac and a PC.  Other Adobe products like Photoshop Elements and Lightroom are also always sold multi-platform, making it easier to mix-and-match Windows and Mac OS for your two installations.

Another key benefit with Creative Cloud is that it does not use serial numbers like CS did – instead, you activate CC by logging in with your Adobe ID, thereby providing the ability to more flexibly manage your usage. So if you install the CC apps onto a third computer, it will ask you if you want to automati­cally deactivate the other two… Just hit “Continue” at the Maximum Activations Exceeded box, and it will handle activation of your new system and deactivation of the others for you. Afterwards, you can reactivate again on one additional machine. This can be useful if you’re moving around, or if one of your earlier systems crashed, or if the software is otherwise inaccessible.

Special: Legally download dozens of free Adobe books for a limited time!

How About for Use of Prior Versions?

Worldwide Offer: Get New Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 plus Lightroom 6/CC for $9.99 a Month (Regular Ongoing Price)

There is one additional requirement for upgrade versions of Adobe software: If you upgrade but want to continue using your prior release, then per Adobe licensing terms the older product must be on the same computer(s) as your newer upgrade version.

And new since 2013: all Creative Cloud subscribers have full access to download and use previous major releases such as CS6 – instead of or in addition to the latest CC version – together on the same machines.

Install now: Get all new Adobe CC 2015 direct download links and free trials.

Licensing for Education Editions

Note that the above policies work exactly the same for Adobe’s Education versions – there is no distinction for those here…  However, one major difference in restrictions for all the Student and Teacher Editions is they can be run only on the customer’s privately-owned computer(s) and used by the eligible licensee.

Licensing for Virtual Machines and Servers

Importantly, Adobe defines a computer as “a virtual or physical device,” not just a CPU – so that includes running on virtualization platforms such as VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop, Citrix XenApp, and Oracle VM VirtualBox. The same thing goes for a dual-boot system with a product installed on both partitions, including Apple Boot Camp.

So each virtual machine you install the software on would count as a single product activation per the rules described in this article. However, this does not mean the software can be installed on a server and accessed by multiple users that are more than the number of licensed seats that have been purchased (see Section 2.1.7 “Server Use” for more details).

Final Word

So there’s your answer for most current Adobe software, although we recommend confirming the terms for your particular product or suite because the license agreements are somewhat different for each package (including the Creative Cloud, Creative Suite, Acrobat, Lightroom, Elements, etc.) and version (CC, CS6, CS5.5, CS5, CS4, CS3).

If you’re part of an organization, group, business, or school, and/or need more than one user or computer running the software at the same time, then take a look at the flexibility and ease of maintenance available through Adobe’s Creative Cloud for Teams offering. There you can save time, money, and headaches for multiple users, while benefiting from direct expert support:

Learn more about Creative Cloud for Teams and how to easily manage multiple copies.


See Also

Download New Adobe CC 2015 Free Trials (Direct Links)

Do you have any questions about CC or CS6?  Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers!

Keep up with the latest on Adobe software — subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter or Facebook… You can also enter your email and have new articles sent directly to your inbox.

Categories: Tips Tags: , , ,

Share This

Email this page
Available Worldwide! Get New Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 plus Lightroom 6/CC for Just US$9.99 a Month (Regular Ongoing Price)
  1. Owen

    Hi, we are printing publishing house and intend to purchase the Creative Cloud for Teams. We are currently working on CS3.

    My question is that, we are a team of 4 and usually work in Photoshop, illustrator, indesign, acrobat at one go. do we purchase all four apps for 4 different users?

  2. I am currently using the old CS2. I want to upgrade to CC. I would prefer to buy the “Individual” versions, since I do not need all of the cloud usage on the “Team” platform and it’s less expensive.

    I want to purchase the full CC license for my use on my main computer and my laptop. I also want to purchase just the Photoshop/Lightroom package for my husband. He only uses Photoshop to slice my templates for web design and occasionally enhances a photo.

    What are the steps to make this flawless? I see licensing issues if people use the same email. Also, does using the same credit card, same address, or having been a previous customer make problems with buying one full package, then one desktop app purchase? Will the Single App Photoshop/Lightroom also work cohesively with the full CC package Photoshop?

    I won’t be doing this until the fall of 2015…I just really want to have a good experience and I am doing my research before purchasing.

    • Hi G, you would definitely want to use two different emails when you get two different Creative Cloud packages that overlap in tools, because each Adobe ID can support only one license per CC application.

      Meaning, your husband would want to use his own email to run his Photoshop, so that it can be different from the Photoshop license that you’re running. Otherwise, the licensing would conflict if he’s trying to run Photoshop or Lightroom on his computer at the same time that you’re trying to use any CC app on your computer.

      Other than that, there should be no issues. Using the same credit card or address (or PayPal account even) are not a problem.

      As for being a previous CS customer, if you had CS3 to CS6 then you could get a big discount on CC for your first year… But CS2 is a too far back to qualify for that special offer – sorry!

      Hope that helps! If you have any further questions then feel free to post back.

  3. Erin

    Since CS6 can only be active with the same license code on two computers, is it possible to deactivate the photoshop from one computer so that it can be used on another?

  4. hello Adobe,

    I have just upgraded to Yosemite OS on my MacBook Pro & now my CS5 (Student version) won’t open.
    It gives me a message saying I need to download a legacy version of Java. I followed the link & downloaded this from the Oracle site.
    But CS5 still gives me the same message & won’t open.

    I’m rather worried, as I need to edit some pictures & am stumped without Photoshop.
    I’ve read that I now need to reinstall CS5.
    Is this right? If so, how do I approach this? Over-writing the existing software or removing it first?

    Your advice appreciated.

  5. Gene

    One question I have. You are the primary license holder, but your son, daughter, wife, or a visitor need to use Photoshop on your computer. I suppose it’s permissible, except when you are using that second PC.

    So basically if you are working off your laptop, your son is not allow to access Photoshop on the Desktop until you exit your second copy?

  6. dan

    Hi, could you clarify for me a question i have? I am looking at installing CC on my work computer, which i have gathered i can install at home as well. Do i need to exit the program at work to be able to use at home, because i leave my work computer on. Would this flag up with adobe?

  7. Trent

    Just purchased Lightroom and Photoshop cc as the photography package. I have it installed on a desktop imac and a macbook pro. Am i allowed to install the app version on my iphone, or does that exceed the 2 computers authorized in the licensing agreement?

    Thanks

  8. Trent Watts

    After reading lots of information I can’t seem to find an answer to this situation.
    I have CC Photography with Lightroom and Photoshop CC.
    I have it installed on my desktop at home and on my laptop for travel.
    I understand that is completely legal and it works fine.
    Now my question:
    Am I allowed to also use the Lightroom app on my IPhone or is that considered a third device and therefore violates the software agreement?
    Thanks for your help.

  9. Trent

    @ProDesignTools
    Thanks so much for the information. It is nice to have that confirmed.

  10. Braidi

    Hi there,

    I have CS3 Master Collection on a laptop that is from a volume license edition that was purchased from the school I work at. I would like to add this to a new computer, however, it says that I’ve reached my authentication limit and need to deactivate another computer. It will not allow me to deactivate on my laptop (it’s not an option under “help”) and I’m thinking it’s because it’s a volume license copy. Is there a way to get around this issue and put in on my new computer without having to purchase another serial? Thank you!

  11. Jahmal Phillips

    I just purchased Premiere Pro cc yesterday and installed one on my iMac at home and the other I installed on my Dell laptop. The one on my Mac works fine, however the copy that I installed onto my Dell laptop seems dormant. I cannot get the app onto my desktop. The only way that I can even see the app is when I go to (Start-Control Panel-Uninstall programs) then I can see it. So It’s on my computer but all I can do is uninstall it. I cannot open the app at all. This would be my second device that I am putting the program on sooooo it should work. What am I doing wrong?

  12. Richard

    My daughter wants to install CS6 on my computer. She has two installations, only one of which has been used. I have the registration CD for her installation but I think she downloaded the product from Adobe’s site. My question is can I download Adobe’s trial version and upgrade it to a registered version?

  13. allena

    Hi – I have bought the acrobat software in the US for my company. We are running a small project in India. Is it possible for me to make a copy and share my software with our partner Indian company so that they can use the software to work on our project? Basically, can the Indian company use the software bought in the US on their system for the purpose of a project they are accomplishing for us only. Couldn’t understand what the EULA said about this. can you please help?

    Thanks,
    Allena

    • Sorry Allena, it doesn’t really work that way. The individual Adobe products are single-user licensed, so you can’t split them between two parties using the program at the same time.

      You could possibly legally transfer the software to them to use – but if we understand correctly the hypothetical scenario you’re describing, license-sharing is against the terms of use:

      You may activate the Software on up to 2 devices (or virtual machines) at a time, if these activations are associated with the same Adobe ID for the same individual, unless stated at http://adobe.com/go/activation. However, you may not use the Software on these devices simultaneously.

      Restrictions. Unless permitted in these terms, you must not:

      (6) rent, lease, sell, sublicense, assign, or transfer your rights in the Software, or authorize any portion of the Software to be copied onto another’s device. If you purchase Creative Cloud for team or Creative Cloud for education (named user), then you may designate seats pursuant to the applicable documentation.

  14. Simon

    I have purchased a single app subscription through creative cloud, premiere pro cc, and successfully installed it on my laptop.

    I have attempted to install it on my desktop through creative cloud, and creative cloud shows that it is downloaded – but how do I open the program? I can’t find it on my desktop, in installed apps or anywhere.

  15. Hi,

    I’m interested in buying Creative Cloud for teams license, According to Adobe website, as far as I understand it, it can be installed on three computers and used AT THE SAME TIME on two. Is that correct?

  16. Simon

    @ProDesignTools

    Thanks for your response. I have realised that my desktop is a 32bit machine and will not therefore run premiere pro. Coincidentally the original installation on my laptop which was working fine has now stopped working and presents an error message stating that there is no capable video module, this is disturbing as it was working last week and nothing has changed on my laptop at all. I have tried using a previous version of premiere pro but get the same message. Any ideas please??

  17. Ritch

    If we have three edit systems at work, each with multiple users on those individual systems (separate Windows log ins), does each user need an Adobe ID/license to use those systems? These edit systems also aren’t connected to the internet, except when I, as the administrator, temporarily connect them to download updates. I guess I’m wondering if there is a way to tie the license to a machine rather than individuals?

  18. JoeL

    Does the two-computer-limit apply to Creative Cloud as a whole, or to the individual apps? For example, can I install Photoshop on computers A and B, and Illustrator on computers B and C with a single Creative Cloud individual license?

    • Good question Joe. The licensing applies to the entire package or suite of applications as a whole… So outside of the two computers you install and activate the CC software on, you cannot split or distribute it across a greater number of systems.

      If you want to do that (with more machines), then you’d need multiple CC Individual licenses, or Creative Cloud for Teams.

  19. Antoon Schotman

    Dear prodesigntools,

    Am I correct in assuming that the outlined 2 computer license enables me to use an ipad for editing-on-the-couch convenience next to my laptop while on holidays and the desktop at home?

    Kind regards,

    Antoon Schotman

  20. Dan Dixey

    I currently have the old CS4 suite on my computer and am looking at upgrading to the Photography Pkg (Lightroom and Photoshop CC), If I do will my OTHER Programs still work (Adobe Acrobat 9.5… etc)?

Comment pages
1 13 14 15 5407
  1. No trackbacks yet.