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Home > Tips January 25th, 2017

Adobe Just Stopped Selling Creative Suite 6 Entirely – Here’s Why

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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.

Here's the page where you previously could buy Adobe CS6

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 CC versions, Adobe described new CS6 sales as “de minimis,” with the vast majority of customers choosing Creative Cloud instead.

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.

Shortly thereafter, in September 2015, Adobe stopped selling Creative Suite 6 online 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:

https://www.adobe.com/products/cs6.html

So really the only path forward for Adobe creative products now is CC, 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.

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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  1. faye toby

    Hi, I purchased CS6 boxed set “design and web premium” (student/teacher version) and promptly misplaced the box. Just found, opened, and came up to speed that the webpage is no longer available to obtain the serial number to install, and the standalone product is no longer supported. Is it just (expensive) trash now? Should I commit to Inkscape and other open source source software? I don’t use design software often enough to justify a subscription. Anything to salvage from the CS6 discs? Thanks.

  2. Alli

    Look at Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer from Serif about £50 each, one time purchase. Very good alternatives and can open adobe illustrator and photoshop files

  3. Anonymous

    @ProDesignTools

    It doesn’t matter the excuse. People who purchased physical software in the past should be grandfathered into the monthly program by at least being granted the basic features. Not every human being updates their operating systems & devices. My computer is still overstating on Windows 8 no problem. Still running PS CS6 no problems.

    If you pay for it, it’s yours. Period. They don’t have to provide support but people should

    Also, a non-Adobe reseller that would sell key only would be any university bookstore in any college across the United States up until I believe 2010ish.

    • A university would be an educational volume licensee… That is not at all the same as a reseller. So what we wrote stands.

      No legitimate commercial reseller was/is ever able to offer CS6 downloads other than Adobe themselves. Because Kerry didn’t have actual CD/DVD disc media, it sounds like all she really bought was a (black market) serial number, unfortunately, which Adobe later revoked.

  4. Clément Paradis

    @ProDesignTools

    Same for me. I have two computers bought in 2005 and 2007.
    Those two premiere pro systèmes ( premiere pro 1.5 SD in the first and, and CS3, 4 and CS5 for the second for HD édit ) have acceleration and breakout boxes made and sold by the Matrox company that add input/output connectors. Matrox RTX100 for my SD edit suite and Matrix Axio LE for the one for HD/ and SD edit. I have all the DVD set for those for versions of premiere, but can’t install and/or activate those from adobe and the answer I got is, we do not support it anymore. I do not want support, just the right to use them. For example, I just want to replace my C: drive in one computer. Made a ghost of the disc and put the image on an bigger hard drive and the premiere pro message when I started it said: a change happened on your computer and you need to re-activate it to continue using it, but the server or human to do the re-activation no longer exists and I can’t use my system anymore. Even if my computer is the same when I installed that software, adobe does not let me use those versions that are still strong enough for what I have to do.
    Me too, I just want Adobe to let me use my old things that I had paid for. I don’t want a “by month paying solution” when my old version does all that I need for the family video that I do with my two old systems …

  5. Clément Paradis

    ProDesignTools:

    Well, another anonymous comment with few specific details… While it’s true that CS6 is generally no longer supported, it is untrue that issues with genuine product activation of validly-purchased licenses are unsupported. So something’s not right there.

    Hello again, Mr pro design,

    It’s the same for me. I can’t have support on how to make my legal and registered version of Adobe Premiere Pro that it is installed in the same computer since 2005, if my memory is good, they (Adobe) do not want to help me make my product reactivated for me to continue using it like all those past years.

  6. Dallas Franklin

    I purchased CS6 Master Collection in 2012. I primarily only use about four applications in the collection. The CS6 version of these more than meets my current and foreseeable requirements in this area. At the time of buying the Collection I was still employed, but shortly after I retired. Not requiring all the bells and whistles of the Creative Cloud (CC) versions of the applications I utilise I saw, and currently see, no need to upgrade to CC – to say nothing of the fact that as a pensioner, I cannot afford to ongoing monthly cost. The version of CS6 I purchased was the Apple version. Several months ago, I decided that I wanted to install CS6 on my Windows-based laptop so that I could work when away from home.
    I accessed my Adobe account and sought out the Download and Install page. I was able to access the link for the Windows version of CS6 download. I tried to do this but had problems. It took my some time to resolve these. By the time I had it was early last month. I retried to access the Windows download link again but was unable to do so. I contacted Adobe help via the online chat. It appears to me that the people manning this site have little comprehension of the English language. I explained my problem and was provided with a link. This turned out to be the link for the Apple version. Numerous attempts proved fruitless because the result was the same every time. Yesterday I was given a link and this advised that I was now unable to download CS6 for a platform other than that that I purchased in the first instance.
    If my laptop was an Apple, I could download it and install it on that laptop – but as it is a Windows laptop, I am unable to do so. Adobe’s web page still advises that I am able to install CS6 on two computers regardless of the platform, yet this is not the case. WHY?

  7. kevin d kellis

    I bought Creative Suite 2 in about 2011 and it has CS6 Illustrator and PhotoShop, but it says on the box CS2.

    The program on my computer with windows 7 says it is CS6 64-bit and I have always known it to be that.

    Is there an answer for that, plus I’m ready to get a HP laptop with Windows 10 and they are assuring me at Best Buy (the manager of that dept., who is a Windows employee) that it will run in compatibility mode.

    I want to run it on Windows 10.

  8. Cindy Harrison

    I purchased CS6 in 2012 and used it until my iMac crashed in 2019. After moving and misplacing my CD, I purchased a new iMac, retrieved the files from my old mac but it will not open on the new mac. What can I do?

  9. V.Veer

    The Creative Suite (CS) nomenclature only began with the bundled products that targeted various workflows, starting with CS, CS2, CS3, etc.

  10. n

    So, the only possible way to get CS6 is to use an illegal version, really??? If it’s so much worse than CC, why isn’t it for free on their website? I’m not willing to pay monthly. I’ve just changed AutoCad for ZWCAD because of the subscription and not regretting it :))

    • CS6 is completely unsupported with no further updates for years, so Adobe does not offer it in any form. It was also written back in 2011-2012 for older operating systems, so it is not at all compatible with modern platforms like macOS Catalina.

      And if Adobe gave it away for free on their website, then users would no doubt be contacting them for assistance, and perhaps fewer would end up being paid customers for CC. Vulnerabilities and incompatibilities would persistently arise, as this is dated software.

      In any case, Creative Cloud is the evolution of CS6 and has added thousands of new features, performance improvements and other enhancements since then. 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.

      How much time (and money) will you lose by using outdated and less-productive tools indefinitely? In most people’s lives and/or careers, the amount of time needed to complete your work is important. In other words, work smarter, not harder.

      As for trying to get/use an illegal version of CS6, that would not be a good idea:

      A Word on Adobe Software Piracy – “If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…”

  11. Hithere

    @Clément Paradis
    I upgraded my 2009 iMac OS several times since 2009 until the Mac OS High Sierra, and my CS3 is working as it should be without any problem that I know. I still use CS3, it does everything I needed to. IMO, you pay more for newer version just to get more tools, but I prefer to do everything with just simple pencil, brushes and paints and that’s how to develop your skills as real artists. It’s real, cheap, and cheerful!

  12. Oleg Fastfoot

    I’ve used After Effects CS6 for these 8 years. Of course I’ve tried the newest versions from CC2014 till CC2020, but I was not so comfortable with some changes in the interface and application and most of all I didn’t like constantly lagging playback and render. I thought that’s because my computer is pretty old for new applications.

    Now I’ve upgraded my computer and after installing Windows, it turned out that I’m able to install only the current version of After Effects… I’ve been trying to work in AE2020 for a month now and it’s lagging and freezes constantly and out of memory on the simplest projects. I understand that new users just can not compare this with a normally-working application because they started their learning from CC versions. Now I understood all these memes with AE errors. I saw these error messages once a week with CS6, now I see them many times a day.

    I don’t know how I can get CS6 legally. It seems like piracy is the only option and I don’t want to do that.

  13. Anonymous

    @Cindy Harrison
    Make sure you do not have Catalina OS installed, as it will not work properly. High Sierra will work and maybe Mojave. I tried the Catalina upgrade and completely messed up my Mac. I had to reinstall the original OS using the online recovery tool (Command + R on boot up). Then I had to do an upgrade to High Sierra. I still had a few issues but came across a blog that gave the info need to do a bug fix so that CS6 would still work.

  14. BStar

    If you have a boxed, licensed and registered copy of CS6 Design & Web, are you still able to use it? I will no doubt need to upgrade my laptop at some stage and would like to reinstall the software with the disks I have (including serial number). It’s a student edition paid for in full in 2013. I only have it installed on one computer so can I just install it onto a new Windows 10 computer, then deactivate and uninstall it from the old computer, to avoid chances of completely losing the use of the software altogether.

  15. Animator

    Hello,

    I was working in Flash CS5.5 and CS6 for some time and I really liked it. CS6 was the best version. At school they had to upgrade to CC and every graphic design teacher hated and was every time swearing during lessons on how terrible the CC is and that it’s updated so fast, that it’s hard to even orientate in the UI. To be honest, I found the CC versions very unkind… And since I legally have PS CS6 and AE CS6 for some time, I want to use CS6 myself again but now on my device. I really don’t want to pay monthly for something I won’t even use. (Tools which CS6 has is all that I need to create what I want) I don’t worry about compatibility because I tried to install a trial on win 10 and it worked all right. I saw you wrote on your site that it’s available to downgrade CC to CS6. Is it still available? And if I downgrade the software, would it be mine forever without paying monthly? Myself I see that Adobe doesn’t like beginners of their own carrier… I finally want to make something with it but the CC is useless in my experience and it costs a lot of what it can do. Also as I said above, you pay for some tools which you won’t use. One of the examples is auto- lip synch. I really don’t need it since I can make it well… So if there’s some possibility to downgrade I would be really glad :)

    Best regards

    • This article is a few years old and due to recent changed in licensing terms, last year Adobe revised their policy about CC subscribers being able to download and use CS6 instead… Please see:

      Adobe Limits Software Version Downloads, Incl. Some Direct Links

      In our opinion from using the Creative Cloud tools every day, both the performance and ease-of-use for virtually every Adobe product has improved since the Creative Suite days… Especially for Photoshop and Illustrator.

      Adobe has generally streamlined and improved the user interfaces and continues to increase deep GPU support within the CC products. We think the applications are smoother, faster, and better-looking. You also benefit from regular upgrades included in the price, keeping your tools fresh, relevant and useful.

      For example, the current featuresets for Premiere Pro and After Effects 2020 are now light years ahead of that they were back in the CS days.

      So on the whole, we would not want to go back to using the older releases if we had a choice.

  16. Oleg Fastfoot

    I suppose that the real reason of unavailability of old versions is some legal issue with copyrights, that they spoke of a year ago… Because After Effects got some new or updated tools but it became slower and less stable and all these ‘light years ahead ‘ improvements are just an excuse. (I am speaking only about AE, not Photoshop or Illustrator.)

  17. Bernard Pearce

    I have been using the “Adobe Creative Suite CS6” for years. Since it’s no longer available, I would like to purchase the latest which features Adobe Illustrator; Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. What item should I now ask for?

    • Hey Bernard, that would be the Creative Cloud “All Apps” plan; it’s the subscription plan which includes everything – all creative tools (those you mentioned plus many more) and all services…

      You can compare & choose Adobe’s different options here:

      http://www.ChooseCreativeCloud.com/

      Hope that helps answer your query, and just post back if you have any follow-up questions.

  18. Wolfgang N

    Hallo,

    ich habe mir 2012 CS6 Design Standard gekauft. Bin bislang sehr zufrieden damit. Da ich einen neuen Computer habe benötige ich die Installationsdateien nun erneut. Gibt es noch irgendwo einen Download-Link. Alle Links, die ich auf dieser Webseite gefunden habe landen bei der Adobe Cloud-Version.

    Vielen Dank
    Wolfgang

  19. Scott Banks

    @faye toby
    All they want is to bill everyone monthly.
    Do you realize how much money they are making on these idiots paying monthly for software.
    How fracked up is the world now.

    • Actually, by June of 2014, after the first two major CC versions, Adobe described new CS6 sales as “de minimis,” with the vast majority of customers choosing Creative Cloud instead… Creative Cloud has steadily grown since then and the total number of paid subscribers is now over 18 million customers – far more users than Creative Suite ever had.

      So this ship has sailed – Adobe is not going back and they’re not changing the 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 flopped or flown. They may have lost some customers, but at the same time gained many more new ones because of the far-lower cost of entry than before.

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Update: You Can No Longer Buy CS6 from Adobe - Here's Why
https://prodesigntools.com/adobe-ends-cs6-sales.html