Almost five years ago, in the spring of 2012, Adobe launched two major products at one time: Creative Suite 6 and the Creative Cloud. The Creative Suite 6 suites were well received and cost from US$1,300 to $2,600 – while Creative Cloud, a subscription to their full range of creative applications, had a much lower cost of entry and gave customers access to the CS6 tools and services, as well as ongoing upgrades. A year later, Adobe announced that CS6 would be their last perpetual software release, and there would be no CS7.
Since then, the Creative Cloud has evolved to include the newer milestone releases CC 2013, CC 2014, CC 2015, CC 2015.5, and now CC 2017. Over this time, thousands of new features and improvements have been delivered exclusively to Creative Cloud members, while the original CS6 release has remained largely static. By law, with the purchasing model that CS6 had, Adobe could not legally add significant new features to the traditional release.
By June of 2014, after the first two major Creative Cloud versions, Adobe described new CS6 sales as “de minimis,” with customers overwhelmingly choosing subscriptions instead of perpetual model licenses.
Adobe did continue providing maintenance (bug/security) fixes to CS6 and refreshing Camera Raw through July 2015, over 3 years after CS6 came out – but then finally discontinued support in order to evolve the platform and pursue further innovations in image processing and workflow technology.
Thus, CS6 was written before newer operating systems and is not supported on them, meaning that officially Windows 8.1 and Mac OSX v. 10.9 (“Mavericks”) are the last compatible OS versions. In fact, none of the CS tools will even install on any macOS past v. 10.14 “Mojave,” due to Apple removing all support for 32-bit applications.
In September 2015, Adobe stopped selling Creative Suite 6 entirely on their website… Essentially the reason was because the newer CC rapidly grew and took over. Some CS6 editions could still be purchased from the company after that point, although only by calling an Adobe call center directly and only for older operating systems.
But with the official CS6 software EOL (end-of-life) and end of support, there were no further updates, no bug fixes, and no guarantees it will run on the latest or future operating systems. So finally, earlier this month, Adobe ceased any remaining sales of CS6 for good:
As of January 9, 2017, Creative Suite is no longer available for purchase
Looking for Creative Suite 6? The latest versions of all your favorite apps like Photoshop and Illustrator are only available with a Creative Cloud membership. You’ll also get ongoing product upgrades, hundreds of step-by-step tutorials, built-in design templates, your own portfolio website, and more.
That notification comes from this page where you previously could buy CS6:
So really the only path forward for Adobe creative products now is Creative Cloud, which are considered better tools anyway, or you can downgrade them to use CS6 instead – because Creative Cloud subscribers can choose either or both versions (CC plus CS6) with your subscription.
With Creative Cloud, all ongoing upgrades, compatibility updates and product additions are always included – so becoming obsolete will never happen. The monthly payments are also more budget-friendly in the new model than in the old CS model – where the software used to cost many hundreds or often thousands of dollars upfront, and never evolved.
Many of the Creative Cloud desktop applications let you export files to the Creative Suite 6 version of that same application. However, note that new features added to the desktop applications after CS6 may not be supported in the exported file, or by the CS6 application.
Finally, while Adobe no longer makes or sells CS6 in any way, some readers may ask if is it still possible to find it secondhand on sites like eBay or Amazon? The answer is perhaps – but it doesn’t matter, because even if you could, you wouldn’t even want to try buying it from those places… Because if you do happen to see a copy for sale out there, it’s likely neither legitimate nor safe.
Bottom line: Last year we stopped recommending CS6 as a good or viable option going forward, as it is simply not current or future-proof… And as of January 2017, Adobe has finally closed the last door on this. But now you know the full story, and why.
Do you have any further questions about CS6 or CC? Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!
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202 thoughts on “Adobe Just Stopped Selling Creative Suite 6 Entirely - Here's Why”
This is utterly insane. What kind of site thinks a one-time purchase model being erased is a good thing, instead opting into a forever monthly payment system to this monopoly? Either you are a fool or clearly this is an Adobe dummy site.
Maybe you didn’t read the article? We simply reported on what happened, already over five years ago now… The one-time purchase model didn’t work for issuing product updates, and the large majority of customers had already stopped buying CS6 anyway.
Don’t blame the messenger.
The messenger below is a legal-abiding person. So be it. I’m already shopping for other providers like Corel and looking into free softwares with food community support and development. The bazaar, though seemingly messy is a quite a nice place of roaming and discovery.
I used to purchase a new Lightroom every few version at the upgrade price. Renting this would cost me twice as much.
Well, most customers don’t think $10 a month for the latest full desktop versions of both Photoshop + Lightroom (plus all related mobile apps and workflows) is too much to ask, considering that these two best-of-breed professional tools used to cost well over $1,000 upfront just to get in the door, not including upgrades! And people who previously upgraded only once every 4-5 years are probably not the customers Adobe had in mind with the new model.
There’s no question that some folks weren’t happy about the transition from perpetual-only to subscription-only products – but as a Pulitzer Prize winner once said, “I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” Adobe took a risk and it could have crashed and burned. They may have lost some customers, but at the same time gained many new ones because of the far-lower cost of entry than before.
By any objective measure, it’s hard to argue that Creative Cloud hasn’t been a major success, surprising a lot of skeptics and even exceeding the company’s own original expectations. Never before (not even with CS6), have so many millions of customers upgraded and been running the same single release of Adobe software, which adds to the power of the platform. There are thousands of advancements and new features in CC 2022 as compared to CS6… If you haven’t missed what you don’t have yet, that’s fine – but if the latest releases can help millions of people get better work done faster, then time is money.
Here’s just one example. To accomplish the work in this piece took 10 hours in Photoshop CS4, but just 10 minutes in the latest version of Lightroom:
Using the Newest Adobe Tools Can Save You Money – Here’s Why
How much is your time worth?
Looking back to 2012, it’s clear now that Adobe didn’t move to subscriptions to make anybody upset but rather made a decision on what would be best for the future of the business. The subscription model is more flexible in many ways and allows them to keep the tools current with fast-moving technology, as well as make record investments in their product line and advance the state of the art in creative software.
Bottom line, you are quite free to stay in the old days. Sure, you can mutter darkly about how you personally don’t like the change but that really isn’t going to change anything. The train left the station a long time ago, but of course you don’t have to be on it – it’s a personal choice. Either way, those CC adoption numbers are impressive and pointing unambiguously to the future, and the company is clearly not looking back now.
It is not even possible to just get Lightroom Classic. I have no want or need for anything on mobile devices or cloud backup. My internet access certainly would preclude Cloud backup.
If there was a basic Lightroom Classic plan…
There is a basic Lightroom plan, but no plan for LR Classic by itself.
What’s the Difference Between the Adobe Photography, Photoshop and Lightroom Plans?
We think it’s unlikely that will change.
I have some old CS6 Adobe files (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) saved from a few years ago when I was working on an Apple Mac. I will be designing again soon as part of my job and will be purchasing the new Adobe monthly subscription, but for a Windows computer. Would I be able to still use these old files on a Microsoft/Windows computer?
I am concerned about the change from Apple to Windows and the old Adobe version (of for example .indd files) to the new cloud version? Will I still be able to use these files?
Yes, you should have no problem. See our guide here for more details:
Can You Open and Use Adobe CS6 Files in Creative Cloud?
That also covers moving or sharing your files between Windows and macOS.
I am trying to make an interactive “submit” button on a form using cs6 (inDesign). So that clients can fill out the pdf form and submit it to me. However, whenever I get everything set and linked to my email, it doesn’t work. Has anyone else had this problem?
Hi Monica, we haven’t heard of that but maybe someone else here has.
Adobe has ways of knowing if you’re using Illustrator or Photoshop CS6 and will make them impossible to use, even though they work up to at least High Sierra and maybe Mojave. First you must use your firewall to keep them from going into your computer and making you sign in to a perpetual loop that goes nowhere. At this point you are stuck. Download Radio Silence app to make sure you won’t inadvertently tell them you are still using these products you paid for but they don’t want you using. You’ll have to use time machine to go back to before they screwed you over. Install Radio Silence and hope everything works again. I despise Adobe customer service, but have used old CS6 so long that I am attached to it and make money with it. I don’t want to be forced into a subscription. That is just wrong.
This is simply untrue, Marcus. Adobe absolutely does intentionally not make CS6 non-functional for anybody. We probably shouldn’t even allow your comment, because it isn’t factual. The only thing that is true is that Adobe knows when you use its software (any software, any version, any year) because you need to sign in to use it.
But Adobe is not making CS6 impossible to use – it’s Apple who is doing that with macOS, dropping all 32-bit support since Catalina.
Thanks. It was intended for those who, like my wife, bought these products years ago and failed to register them. My registered Adobe Photoshop CS6 works, at least for now, in High Sierra. Back 2012 my wife purchased CS Suite which has Illustrator, Photoshop, In Design, etc. for a lot of money. Without warning, Adobe required her to use the license to get in after ten years of use. She had long since lost the original boxes and license on those boxes and CDs in a move. They were working fine in El Capitan just as my Photoshop works fine in High Sierra. The difference is that if you lose the license and fail to register you’re outta luck. Sure, you can say it’s her fault for not registering but Adobe apparently has no record of the sale either. So, I’ll give you that. She was not aware of the rules and it’s on her. Sorry I didn’t provide the whole story, but it was still a lot of money for a product she owned and one day Adobe decided to punish her for not registering it.
The firewall part was how we got around the problem by going back in Time Machine to a point before Adobe started asking for the license number after over a decade of use. In that old system we put on a firewall program so Adobe couldn’t ask for the license and boot her off because it’s like working in those programs offline. Eventually in a few months to avoid this hassle we will be going on the subscription plan, though we probably don’t really need it as our uses are very narrow and what we do doesn’t require all the bells and whistles and the extra $35 a month we don’t want to spend for the suite. Who knows, maybe we’ll broaden our horizons with the subscription, but I kinda doubt it.
OK, that explains the situation a bit better, and thank you for clarifying. However, it doesn’t seem like “punishment,” as most people would agree that keeping serial numbers or license keys is pretty important for any software purchased, if for no other reason than you definitely need them when you move an Adobe perpetual product between computers. It’s also the proof of purchase for owning a valid, legal software product.
From where or who was the software purchased? Adobe also has the right to ask for the serial number to be entered again at any time, if the software was not bought directly from them. The reason is because they often find new pirated or invalid keys and subsequently invalidate them.
For more details, see:
Why Never to Buy Adobe Software on eBay, Craigslist or Amazon Mkt
Thanks again for the explanation.