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Home > Tools May 7th, 2015

What’s the Difference Between Lightroom 6 vs. Lightroom CC 2015?


The new version of Adobe Lightroom 6/CC was released for direct download recently, and we keep getting questions from readers like this one:

Are Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC the same?
If not, then what are all the differences between Lightroom 6 vs. Lightroom CC?

Get New Adobe Lightroom 6/CC Now

…so we thought it was time to write a new article about this topic.

Here’s the answer, with the differences put simply:

Lightroom 6 is the core program running on your desktop – the new version that follows Lightroom 5, with significant features and improvements added since LR5. Adobe is offering two options to customers, and the Lightroom 6 route is a perpetual license – basically standalone static software. The updates that Lightroom 6 users receive going forward will be for bug fixes and new camera and lens profiles only, but not new feature upgrades that Lightroom CC customers will receive on an ongoing basis.

Lightroom CC 2015 takes Lightroom 6 and offers it via subscription together with access to integrated mobile apps (like Lightroom Mobile) and online services (like Lightroom Web with unlimited online photo storage).  Lightroom CC also gives you ongoing new feature updates as soon as they are available – including the popular Dehaze and Boundary Warp functions, as well as the new Guided Upright feature and Local B&W Adjustment Sliders – none of which are in LR6.

Adobe describes it like this:

If you have Lightroom as part of a Creative Cloud subscription, you already have access to this upgrade. You can download right away, with no additional cost. All of these updates are also available as part of the CC Photography plan, where Lightroom CC comes together with Photoshop CC for just $9.99/mo USD.

You can also buy a traditional license of Lightroom 6 for $149 (“full” – for those new to Lightroom) or $79 (“upgrade” – for previous Lightroom customers). All upgrades from older Lightroom versions (LR1-LR5) can now only be purchased online direct (if necessary, change your region in the lower left corner).

Please note that this latter (standalone) version of Lightroom does not have access to any of the mobile or web workflows supported by Creative Cloud, and only Creative Cloud members receive ongoing feature updates.

Dehaze and Boundary Warp Features Available in Lightroom CC

The New Lightroom CC Dehaze Feature (Roll Over or Tap for the Before & After)

The new Dehaze filter is already available in Lightroom CC 2015 (roll over or tap image).

Learn More About Lightroom CC's New Boundary Warp Feature

Lightroom CC – Use the new Boundary Warp feature to fill out stitched panoramas.

How often will Lightroom CC receive new feature updates? Well, based on two years of experience with the other CC tools, we expect functionality will be upgraded about once every 3-4 months… Also note that with this version, Lightroom is changing over to an annual cycle for major releases – so we should see Lightroom CC 2016 coming out next year, together with the other CC apps. (We don’t know and haven’t heard about a Lightroom 7 yet.)

Importantly, the free Lightroom trial starts off as LR CC, but can easily be converted to LR 6 if that’s what you want to buy instead. After you make the standalone purchase, the product branding will transform to Lightroom 6 and you will lose access to the mobile app and web features, as well as included future upgrades. To change the Lightroom CC 2015 trial on your system over a perpetual license, you would then follow these instructions after receiving your serial number.

Finally, as with all other CC apps, you do not have to be online all the time to use this new release of Lightroom – whether you go with CC or 6… You can also share catalogs between Lightroom CC and LR6, or migrate catalogs from older versions of Lightroom. And if you stop subscribing to Lightroom CC, you will continue to have access to your work.

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What Else You Get in Lightroom CC That’s Not in Lightroom 6

The gracious and ever-popular Julieanne Kost has a terrific free training series on Learning Lightroom 6/CC – but here in these videos below, she covers what Lightroom Mobile and Lightroom Web are all about and how to use them:

Related: Do you believe any of these? The 10 Most Common Myths About Creative Cloud

See Also

Download New Adobe CC 2018 Free Trials (Direct Links)

Do you have any questions about Lightroom 6/CC?  Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

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  1. Marina

    I am using the trial version of lightroom 6. I am coming to the end of the trial and want to purchase the software that is already working well on my machine… can I do so without CC, and if so how much does it cost as a stand alone application – or is the monthly plan the only way to purchase a serial number?

    Please advise, it doesn’t seem obvious on my end.

  2. Steve

    Hi. I’m hoping you can assist. I am trying to install Lightroom 6 on one of my computers. I have run into an issue after I am asked to enter my Adobe ID where the program installs as Lightroom CC and not the standalone Lightroom 6. It seems that as soon as I enter my Adobe ID that I am signed into my Creative Cloud account.

    How can I avoid having that happen? When I install the Lightroom 6 file I am not provided any option to enter my serial number, it automatically defaults to Lightroom CC. The computer in question has CS6 Design and Web Premium, Technical Communication Suite 5 and Technical Communication Suite 2015. I mention this as I am a Creative Cloud subscriber but it is NOT installed on the computer on which I am trying to install LIghtroom 6.

    Any assistance would be appreciated


  3. lynne heldenbrand

    If i start with the Lightroom CC for PC and then switch to a Mac, can my subscription be changed without major problems?

  4. Laurie

    Just bought a macbook and trying to fill it with all Photographic tools.

    Question 1. CC vs Just install. I have never mastered Photoshop. I love Lightroom 6. Do I really need the CC.

    Question 2. What happens when there is no Wifi. I’ll shoot in areas where there is none.

    I’m not a pro and not an amateur. I will be doing more in a few years when I retire.


  5. Collette

    If you have LR6 on a computer and the computer crashes and you lose LR6, can you re-install it? Or do you have to contact Adobe and then they tell you that your serial number is not valid?

  6. George Quittner

    If I upgrade from LR 6 to CC what happens to all the changes, presets etc. with almost 20,000 photos? Can I leave LR 6 on my computer and revert to it if I cancel my subscription?

  7. John

    I have Lightroom 6 which I purchased, have the install serial code, but recently through updates it has changed over to Lightroom CC. I did not purchase CC and I can’t get back into my Lightroom develop module. What goes?

  8. Duane C.

    I have Lightroom 6, along with Photoshop Elements and Premiere 14. I am considering the Photoshop/Lightroom CC subscription. If I start a subscription, what happens to my licensed Lightroom 6 if later I drop out of the subscription? Also, I assume that Photoshop does not have the “Premiere” video functionality, but that my licensed copy will remain available if needed. Thanks!

    • Welcome Duane, those are great questions. Let’s see if we can answer them for you.

      You said have a perpetual version of Lightroom 6. That will not change regardless of what happens with the CC subscription. If you later decide to cancel the CC subscription, you can easily reactivate your static copy of LR6. Of course, any upgrades are sold separately for those traditional releases and not included as they are for Creative Cloud versions.

      The other point is about your catalog. Normally when Lightroom releases a new major version, there are changes to the catalog format which are not backwards-compatible. Your catalog is updated to the new format moving forward, however it’s not possible to migrate your full catalog backwards – meaning, you couldn’t use a LR6-compatible catalog running on LR5. Similarly, if you move forward to Lightroom 7 (when it comes out) with your CC subscription, you may not be able to go backwards and use your LR7 catalog with your older copy of LR6.

      But wait, there is a potential workaround. While you can’t move entire catalogs back, usually you can move individual photos and their adjustments backwards to an older version of Lightroom. See this post for the trick on how to do it.

      Also, the Lightroom Team has thought about this. Even if your CC subscription lapses, you can continue to use many features of the last version of Lightroom CC that you have installed on your machine, for free, for life… Check out how this works here:

      What Happens to Lightroom CC After My Membership Ends?

      So no matter what, you will not lose access to your catalog.

      Finally, on your last question about video functionality in the full Adobe Photoshop. Actually, Photoshop does have some pretty amazing new video capabilities of its own (that are built right in), but you can of course (also or instead) continue to use whatever else you have available.

      Here are more details and information on that:

      Learn More: New Video Features in Adobe Photoshop

      How-to: Video Editing Basics in Adobe Photoshop CC

      Hope that fully answers what you wanted to know, if not then just post back.

  9. Chris B.

    I recently purchased an iPad Pro 9.6″ and would like to do my photo editing and organizing on it using Lightroom CC. Do I also need to install Lightroom CC on the shared family desktop, which runs Windows 10? How much memory is required to do that?

    Also, can I continue to share new photos in albums on Flickr?


  10. Hello.
    There was a while when Photoshop CC was not available in where I live, there was no way to get it.
    Today I tried and it started downloading.
    Now, I have the Lightroom 6.9 with plug-ins etc.
    If I download the LR6 CC, what will happen?

  11. Clifford Pringle

    I upgraded Lightroom 5 to Lightroom 6 standalone. Can I upgrade to 6.5? I have a NikonD500 and need 6.5 to shoot raw format. I am using a MacBook Pro with OSX 10.11.6 El Capitan.

    • Yes. Within any major version of Lightroom, all minor upgrades are free… So if you purchased Lightroom 6, then Lightroom 6.5 or even version 6.12 are free to download. Basically, anything that’s 6.x. To get the most recent revision you are entitled to, try running “Update” from the Help menu – or you can direct download the updates here for Windows or here for Mac.

      The key difference between Lightroom 6 vs. Lightroom CC, as described above, is that Lightroom CC customers always get all upgrades free, even across major versions… Lightroom CC subscribers also receive additional new features delivered in both the minor and major updates, that Lightroom 5 or 6 users do not (for example, the new Dehaze feature, among others).

  12. Tom Whittington

    When I discovered that I could not process my Nikon 850 images, I looked for a solution and came across Adobe’s excuses about the 850 and its lies about Lightroom 6. Its a shame Steve Jobs passed on, he detested Adobe and would have maintained a viable alternative.

    Adobe has been consistently lying about Lightroom and the upgrade options. Its business plan is clearly to push everyone to the more profitable CC plan – the post below from Adobe’s web site is a lie. Its been nearly impossible to stay with 6, why not just admit that they are greedy jerks who are only providing one viable pathway for Lightroom’s user base.

    Lightroom 6
    Why did you abandon the Lightroom standalone version?
    TH: Customers are overwhelmingly choosing the Creative Cloud Photography plan as the preferred way to get access to Lightroom. We’re aligning our investment with the direction our customers have signaled over the last several years.

  13. Eric Stetzler

    I’d like to switch from a Lightroom 2015 CC subscription (now expired) to a perpetual license for Lightroom 6. My question is: am I eligible to purchase an Upgrade license for Lightroom 6, or do I need to buy the full version?

    Note: I don’t own any previous versions of the Lightroom standalone app, only the CC subscription.

    • Hey Eric, in order to be eligible for any Adobe upgrade pricing, you had to have had a previous version of a perpetual product (not subscription)… In this case, that would mean Lightroom 1-5.

      With subscriptions, ongoing upgrades are always included and available to you, so that has a different benefit.

      Note that, as described in the article above, Lightroom 6 has fewer features than Lightroom CC 2015 (a subset of the functionality)… So, if you used any settings like Dehaze in your Lightroom processing, then you will lose those adjustments if you downgrade from Lightroom CC to Lightroom 6.

      Also be aware that typically between major LR releases, the catalog file formats evolve and are not backwards-compatible… So with the new Lightroom Classic CC (which succeeds and replaces Lightroom CC 2015), the catalogs are not interchangeable with Lightroom 6 / CC 2015. In other words, LR 6 (2015) cannot read the new LR 7 (Classic) catalogs.

  14. Eric Stetzler

    Got it – thank you so much!

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Compare Your Options: The Differences Between Lightroom 6 vs. CC