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Home > Tips January 25th, 2017

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

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 and is not supported on newer operating systems, meaning that officially Windows 8.1 and Mac OSX v. 10.9 (“Mavericks”) are the latest 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 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 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 sells CS6 in any way, some readers may ask if is it still possible to find it secondhand on other sites like eBay or Amazon? The answer is yes, perhaps – but it doesn’t matter, because even if you could, you wouldn’t want to try buying it from those places.

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 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!

See Also

Get New CC 2018 Direct Download Links: All Free Trials

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  1. yasser

    Hi. After Adobe had stopped selling CS products, who owns the products now?

    • Nobody else – CS6 has not stopped being owned by Adobe; it’s just that those tools are now 5 years old and outdated & replaced by the newer CC versions.

      And because CS6 is not supported to run on newer operating systems, plus is not receiving any further maintenance or security updates (being an old release), it is designated End-of-Life and Adobe could no longer responsibly sell it as “new” to customers.

  2. Jason

    I purchased CS6 in 2014 and have still continued to use CS6 without any really issues. However recently when launching the app, a “trial” period window appeared that said I was being given a 30 day trial to try the product. The purchase software button takes me to CC page to purchase the latest version. Is that legal considering I’ve already purchased the software?

  3. BillB

    I have become exasperated trying to get my adobe desktop cloud app to update successfully so my apps I paid for say I don’t have a license and to reinstall. Which it won’t.

    I need to get something done this week and may have to boot up an old PC that had CS6 on it. Is there anything special i need to do when I start CS6 up? Will it just work?

  4. @BillB
    I still use CS6 on my windows 10 machine with no problems. At least as far as Dreamweaver and Fireworks are concerned. The rest of the suite is just bloatware in my opinion. If CC had produced a suite for these two products like they have done for Photoshop, then I would have stuck with CC. It’s just totally expensive compared to the CS6 products regardless of what Adobe say. Can they not do simple arithmetic? I used to update every three years at a cost of about £400. Creative cloud costs more than that every year.

    • Well, what you get with the complete Creative Cloud (All Apps) is roughly equivalent to the old Master Collection suite – better actually – and to upgrade that every two years in the old days would cost over $1,000 each time.

      And with CC there is no upfront cost. CS6 Master Collection cost $2,599 just to get in the door with a static version. So with the relatively very low cost of entry ($50), the tools are accessible to many more people, and ongoing upgrades are automatically included. Creative Cloud’s subscription approach also allows Adobe to keep the software up-to-date more frequently and respond more effectively to rapid changes in technology. In addition, there are many more integrated services included with CC than there were with CS.

      The model is just different, and in a sense you can’t compare them apples-to-apples. But bottom line, for some customers it will be more expensive, and others less.

  5. TheTopdog

    I’m trying to figure out when extortion-ware has become the norm. You used to be able to purchase software and run it on your computer at any time for a decade even at no additional cost.

    A “subscription” works fine for people with money to pay the monthly fee, but those of us who live paycheck to paycheck, it can’t be done and our subscriptions run out and we aren’t able to access the software unless we choose between eating and using the software.

    Usually, we use our tax return to make onetime purchases of big ticket items like software.

    So this new model of “You can’t ever own the software and must pay the monthly fee or you lose access to the program,” isn’t any different than an protection racket, “Pay us half your profits for our protection… from us.”

  6. Rick J Meier

    All (cloud) Applications were created for the benefit of their creators. It is a continuous revenue stream for them, and that is all that it is about. CS6 is still a valid product for someone like me, who has an Imac that can only upgrade as far as Snow Leopard. CS6 is plenty good software, unless you can’t live without the latest, greatest upgrades. As long as my current computer lasts, I could use CS6 and be blissfully happy. When Adobe was still making CS6 available, it was charging original prices to give themselves an argument for upgrading to CC. They could make CS6 available for a fraction of the cost and still make money. I know my computer will not last forever, but financially, I have to see it to the end. Why won’t Adobe make CS6 and other software available so people like me can achieve the value we need? It may be a good business decision for them, but it has no heart.

    • Guys, this ship has sailed. Adobe is not going back and they’re not changing the model. Creative Cloud was launched six years ago last month – and the current offering still looks remarkably like it did back then at its introduction in November 2011. You have to hand it to the company for having a different vision and then following it through now with 12 million paid subscribers, despite skeptics. So if you’re still having this debate now, then we’re convinced it’s just barking at the moon and not going to accomplish anything.

      Some people are arguing that their overall cost of Adobe’s products may go up in the transition from perpetual licensing to subscription licensing. If that’s the point you want to make, then so be it. For others, it will go down (or already has).

      Most customers don’t think $10 a month for the latest full desktop versions of both Photoshop CC + Lightroom CC (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 5 years are probably not the customers Adobe targeted 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 flopped or flown. 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.

      Adobe closed the last door to turning back last month when they stated there will not be a Lightroom 7 perpetual offering, and that going forward, Lightroom is available via subscription only. It’s done.

      However, note that even after a subscription has lapsed, you can still start up Lightroom CC to access your catalog and have limited use – see:

      What Happens to Lightroom After My Membership Ends?

  7. jermone

    Thank you, hit the nail on the head. I purchased a extra Mac Book and Mac book pro, set them up with CS 5.5 and CS 6, set them in storage. I have two other Mac’s that I use for my small business. When they die I have the others to fall back on. I have also found other non-cloud based software to use. Bottom line, if your software serves it’s purpose you do not need the cloud pay monthly subscription. The folks that are pro-cloud are mostly large companies and the guy who has to have the latest of everything are not looking at the big picture. I have found a big movement of many folks who will not buy into this cloud model. Now for you folks that do, well God Bless You. The rest of us will find another way. If you think that Adobe will not raise the monthly costs once they have the market controlled you’re in for a shock. If you have not looked at what it will cost you long term you might want to.

    • Holy smokes, are you kidding? What was the total cost of purchasing two extra Macbooks plus additional licenses for Creative Suite? Probably thousands of dollars for depreciating assets, both of which will be obsolete if/when you take them out of storage. And what are the potential costs, compromises, and security risks of running an old macOS and programs that can never be updated?

      Your speculations about CC members are off base. By virtually every measure in the industry, the transition to Creative Cloud has been widely hailed as a major success, surprising a lot of skeptics and even exceeding Adobe’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 makes the platform all the more powerful. There are thousands of improvements and new features in CC 2018 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.

      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.

      What we have found when readers occasionally make inaccurate claims about the differences between the versions is that they come in with an existing mindset rather than having taken the time to educate themselves about what really has changed. We here in our office love CC, use it every day, and would never want to have to go back to CS6.

      Looking back to 2012, it’s clear now that Adobe didn’t do this to make anybody upset but rather made a business decision on what would be best for the future of the company and the sustainability of their franchise. 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 2011. Sure, you can mutter darkly about how you personally don’t like the transformation but that really isn’t going to change anything. The train has left the station but of course you don’t need to be on it – it’s a personal choice whether to remain competitive as a provider of creative services or not. Either way, those CC adoption numbers are pretty impressive and pointing unambiguously to the future, and the company is clearly not looking back now.

  8. Jean

    While I respect the cloud/subscription model in general, there are two related issues that I would like to hear from Adobe on:

    (1) Provide more à la carte options. By this I mean that the $10/mo Photoshop deal is great, but I am not interested in tweaking photos. I want to do vector graphics and only those, so I would like an à la carte option for Illustrator. Any plans for this kind of option?

    (2) What, if any, consumer protections has Adobe planned for in the unlikely event the company goes out of business? I know this is a remote thing, but you never know when an unexpected breakthrough by some future competitor could capture the lion’s share of the market, leading to Adobe closing shop. So what happens to all the online tools and files then? This is the core problem with cloud-based services, it is impossible to say “forever” but Adobe, as a responsible vendor, needs to say something.

    Thank you.

  9. Wow ProDesignTools, your responses on here are very full of emotion and negatively judgemental of people with concerns. I get it that you are “a fully Authorized Adobe Affinity Partner since 2006 and longtime member of the Adobe Community Professionals Program,” but I seriously am put off by your tone and tenor to your readers in the comments above.

    • Hello Clarke, not really sure what you’re referring to, but you’re certainly entitled to your opinion (as well as your own blog if you want one 😉 ). We maintain that our responses are less “full of emotion and negatively judgemental” than many of the comments we’re responding to here. And most observers consistently cite our website’s professionalism and consistency in taking the time to help and respond to all our readers’ comments and questions.

      Whether you personally like the content of the answers – in that they may reflect the facts and realities of Adobe’s business model – is another issue. But we don’t set or create the company’s course or product offerings, we merely endeavor to report on and clarify them. And it would be a disservice to lead some people on to believe misconceptions or to think that Adobe will ever bring back perpetual licenses, if that’s what you’re referring to.

  10. Bishop

    Does this mean I could download the Creative Suite and use it? Will I be violating Adobe’s copyrights?

  11. Bishop

    By this I mean if it’s legal or OK to download CS6 given its current status.

  12. Bishop

    I know CC is far better. I have had a taste of it and would prefer it to CS6. Compared to CC, CS6 would feel a bit sluggish. But I can’t currently afford CC. Access is a bit of an issue for me. So a standalone version of Photoshop will be a better option for now. That is why I asked if downloading CS6 will be legal given its current status.

    Thank you.

  13. Bishop

    Hello. I just want to find out. Since Cs6 is no longer sold by Adobe, will it be illegal to download and use a copy of it?

  14. Bishop

    Sorry I asked the same questions all over. I thought the first ones didn’t deliver. They are trail versions. How about my using the full licensed version?

  15. Bishop

    Understood. My point is can I use it without legally having it licensed? Will be I be violating your rights?

  16. Bishop

    I noted you’re not selling it anymore. Like I mentioned I need a licensed copy of Cs6 just to get things going until I can afford the monthly subscription plan. Can I use a copy that isn’t legally licensed without infringing upon your rights? That’s my whole point.

  17. Bishop

    I understand you. What I if I get a copy that can be otherwise licensed?

  18. Bishop

    Ok. Thanks. I’ll use the trial version of Photoshop Cs6. And when the 30-day period is up, I’ll uninstall it. I hope that is ok?

  19. John C


    I have used Adobe products since Pagemaker. The length of time is the reason I am aware of your establishment. I view you as a solid source of information and hoped you might answer a question for me.

    The new cc/CS6 subscription service is beyond my ability to afford. I recently upgraded systems and my current Adobe software will not transfer. I am looking to buy the a used CS6 Master Collection from an enterprise that holds a number of licences. The owner has been assured by Adobe that he can sell his licences with their blessing.

    Can you tell me if there is any problem buying a licence and using it on a Windows platform when it was originally installed on a MAC system. I understood that CS6 is switchable between platforms.

    The business is not selling me actual discs. Only the licence and I will be downloading the application.

    If you take the time to answer my question, I will be eternally grateful as I have years worth of Adobe files that I can no longer access.

    Regards, John

  20. John C

    Thank you very much for looking out after my better interest. I do appreciate it.

    The problem is I cannot access my current adobe files, because I am unable to get my legitimate mix of CS3 and CS6 apps to transfer.

    One further question. Do you deal with Quark.

    Do you have any articles about using Quark to convert Adobe files?

    Regards, John

  21. David

    I am using CS6 currently with a windows 10 system. I purchased this software outright 6 years ago and it has met my needs. I am not a pro photographer and need constant upgrades or all the bells and whistles of CC. I would like to outright purchase a copy of CC, but dislike the expensive subscription costs. Will keep CS6 for a few more years, I hope.

  22. Vanessa Kerton

    Just wanted to point out that the cloud is awesome. Massive eye roll. Well, it is for for those countries whose internet is; not priced per mb, yep you read that correctly per MEGABYTE, is more unreliable than predicting weather patterns and works when we have power. Some of us are located in regions/countries where anything cloud-based is simply an impossibility. I am a professional photographer based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and we can barely get imagery to international clients via the internet, let alone attempt to upload and download copious amounts of data to and from a cloud. Well done Adobe for not considering that the purchase of an actual cd/dvd with the software that is required for business may still be a necessity for a large percentage of the population. I have always saved, purchased my upgrade and or new software when necessary – most recently the Creative Suite bundles – my main usages are Lightroom and Photoshop, however I do use, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and other items. Now, it is not only almost impossible to find an actual download of an item, they seem to keep them all secret. I love Adobe software however am quite cross at this entire situation. Thank you for reading. Cheers, Ness

  23. Lanny

    I am extremely disappointed that CS is no longer available. For someone like me who is a hobbyist and
    does not make a living with graphics, the continual monthly expense is not practical. I may go a month and not even use the program. Also, if the internet is down, I could still use a program that was loaded on my Mac…but not one in the cloud. I had Creative Suite 4 where I work and love working with Photoshop and InDesign. Sad for people like me.

    • Hey Lanny, if you don’t need or use the software every month, then there is also the option of a month-to-month plan, where you can start and stop whenever you want:

      (In other words, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a continual monthly expense.)

      Regarding the rest of your comment, all the major CC tools are desktop applications that download and run locally on your computer, just like CS did… They do NOT “run in the cloud,” nor require an ongoing Internet connection, nor need to be online in order to run or use the software. Please see:

      The 10 Most Common Myths About Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC)

      Hope that helps clear things up.

  24. Jessica

    I’m sorry, but even month-to-month is still ridiculous. Since I had kids, a lot of the graphic design work I do is contract work, and the jobs are few and far between – but it doesn’t take me a whole month to do the work. In other words, I’d be paying for a month to do a few days worth of work? What the heck is the point of that if the money I get from the job simply goes to paying for the stupid software?! It’s completely ridiculous for them to force people to either subscribe to their “rental” service or have to use completely different programs. I just upgraded my 10-year-old Mac, for two sole purposes: The first, being that I could finally update all of my programs since all of the ones on my old computer were no longer updateable. I couldn’t download programs, I couldn’t restore an iPhone, I couldn’t even read my frigging emails in outside of html versions because NOTHING was supported anymore. The second reason is because the memory on the old Mac was MAYBE 256MB, So there wasn’t a whole lot of room to use the CS4 Design Premium that I paid over $700 for. It was hard enough finding a way to get a “new to me” two-year-old laptop, only to find out that CS4 isn’t supported by the new Apple High Sierra Operating system I installed two freaking days ago. What was the solution I was given by adobe? “upgrade to CC or downgrade my operating system”. Oh that’s great, so now I’m being punished for not being able to afford an upgrade until now.

    • Jessica, it’s important to understand that the situation you describe with CS4 is not Adobe’s fault… They do NOT control the operating system support for programs that were written and released 10 years ago.

      All Creative Suite software is over 6 years old and end-of-life. Most computer software has a limited lifetime of viability before it is no longer supported or won’t run on modern hardware without upgrading.

      The main issue is always about the core operating system support for older runtimes and dated API’s in programs that were written in 2008 (like CS4). To be clear, this has far more to do with Apple dropping that support as they move forward, than it does Adobe. Apple is notorious for doing this with macOS. Microsoft is a bit better at managing old interfaces and compatibility in later Windows o/s releases.

      As with all static perpetual versions, they eventually grow obsolete and won’t run if you can’t preserve the original platform that they were built for. Upgrades and maintenance are an ongoing necessity in order to maintain virtually anything in life, especially something that moves as technologically fast as computer software.

      One of the important advantages of Creative Cloud is that all ongoing upgrades, compatibility updates and product additions are always included, including a steady stream of new features and performance improvements at no additional cost. So the tools will never become obsolete or stop working on a new operating system, and in fact they are written to take advantage of the speed and optimizations that the newer platforms bring.

      That’s just the way it is with software. Similar to how modern programs wouldn’t work on your 10-year-old Mac, it goes vice versa as well, where many (sophisticated) 10-year-old programs wouldn’t work on a modern Mac. But don’t blame the messenger, or the top of the food chain. It’s Apple who’s discontinued support for those old application programming interfaces and runtimes.

  25. Terry W


    Software does not die of natural causes. The company pulls the plug for money.

    • No, the company moved on from CS6 – just as they did with all prior versions such as CS5, CS4, CS3, CS2, and CS1 before it…

      You should no more expect them to still support CS6 as you would expect them to release new updates for CS2. Similarly, Adobe is no longer issuing fixes for older Creative Cloud versions like CC 2013 or CC 2014.

      In other words, the business model changed from perpetual to subscription – but older versions are still not supported.

      At some point, you have to move forward. Fortunately, with CC, ongoing upgrades are always included, so getting stuck running an old/dated release doesn’t happen much anymore.

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