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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 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:

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.

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172 thoughts on “Adobe Just Stopped Selling Creative Suite 6 Entirely - Here's Why”

  1. Hello, is there I way to enable Illustrator CS5 with my current Adobe CC license? I just want to use Illustrator CS5 for a plugin I just found out about (scriptographer), that didn’t manage to upgrade towards a CS6 version. I managed to install CS5, but only in trial mode.

    • 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. 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. 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. 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 one-time 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. 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 22 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. @Rick J Meier

    There are plenty of viable alternatives to software like this. The people who say “This ship has sailed” are the same people who never question anything and have the funds to pay for whatever is thrown at them like this, so they just accept it.

    For Photoshop, you could instead use award winning software like Pixelmator, or opensource Gimp, or Corel’s Paintshop Pro which is becoming a powerhouse in its own right. These are good substitutes, with some positives and negatives to each of course, but won’t break the bank for those of us living paycheck to paycheck.

    For MS Office, there are alternatives like OpenOffice.

    The one and only positive aspect of “cloud services” software is that it is re-igniting the open source community to fill in the gaps for the people left behind (poor people) that the big corporations don’t give a crap about in their money grab.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. @TheTopdog
    I am a long-time customer of Adobe. I am upset that since half a year, my photoshop was not working. I found out the way to answer this, it’s called Affinity Photo. Bye Bye Adobe.

  12. 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.

    • No, it’s not a legal issue to download the software linked above and use the free trial, but that only works for 30 days.

      When you say you can’t afford Photoshop CC, are you talking about the $9.99/mo. CC Photography plan – which includes both Photoshop and Lightroom, plus other tools and ongoing upgrades?

      If so, would you have preferred if Photoshop CS6 was still for sale, and you would have paid $699-$999 upfront for it?

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

    • Again, as detailed in the article above, CS6 has been discontinued by Adobe and not made or sold anymore… It is nearly six years old now and unsupported & end-of-life.

      But as noted, Creative Suite 6 used to cost a whole lot more than 10 bucks a month, with no upgrades or other software/services included.

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

  16. 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.

    • You can download and use the free trial version linked above.

      Adobe’s trial license allows it to work for 30 days on your computer, and then stop.

      That is not a violation, and is all we can offer you.

  17. 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?

  18. Staff—

    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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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


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