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Adobe Limits Software Version Downloads, Including Some Direct Links

Learn More About Adobe's Changes to Creative Cloud Download Availability

UPDATE (Oct. 2023) – The new Creative Cloud 2024 direct download links are now available.

Adobe has just made a big change to the version availability and usage of its creative software products, both for CC and CS applications…

Since the advent of Creative Cloud in 2012, subscribers have been able to use any version of the CC products that has ever been released. Some customers use prior versions due to compatibility with evolving system requirements, or because co-workers have standardized on the same earlier release.

However, effective immediately, Adobe has completely discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud apps and as a result, under the terms of the licensing agreement, subscribers are no longer licensed to use them.

Per their recent email, “We ask that you discontinue all usage of the unauthorized products listed in this table, and instead update to the authorized versions provided. You will continue to receive all the value that Creative Cloud has to offer, but with more advanced features and capabilities, critical bug fixes, and security updates. For these reasons we recommend all customers use the latest release of our Creative Cloud applications.”

Table of Adobe CC Authorized and Unauthorized Versions [credit to Patrick Fergus]

How does this move impact Creative Cloud users?

These unauthorized versions of CC programs are recommended to be uninstalled, otherwise users “will not have third-party claim coverage pursuant to their contract with Adobe. Should customers continue to use or deploy these unauthorized versions, they may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties.”

Pursuant to this, Adobe has removed access to these specific tools from both the Creative Cloud Desktop app, as well as downloading those tools via the CC direct links… This is something to be especially aware of if you have relied on access to and usage of those older apps.

Fortunately, all tools within the most recent two major releases of Creative Cloud (CC 2021 and CC 2019 and CC 2018) remain fully licensed and authorized, and all of them continue to be available for download & installation via both the CC Desktop app as well as via direct links.

Further, not all older versions of all apps are restricted. For example, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, and InDesign CC 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are all still authorized and all still available for download and ongoing use.

In a new blog post on this topic, Adobe writes:

“Going forward, Creative Cloud customers can use and download only the two most recent major versions of Creative Cloud. This change enables us to develop the features and functionality most requested by customers and ensure peak performance across all Creative Cloud apps and services. We always encourage our customers to use the latest version of Creative Cloud to have access to the latest features, optimal performance, security and other benefits.”

Adobe is calling this their “N-1 Support Policy,” with further details given here. For individuals, it means they will support only the current major release and the one prior.

But, if you are only using the most recent releases of CC apps – as the company says the vast majority of customers are – then you have nothing to worry about.

How does this affect Creative Suite (CS) applications?

Adobe’s changes to download availability also affected CS tools, even those with perpetual licenses. First off, note that perpetual products are not subject to the “unauthorized” issue, even though older releases like CS6 were officially discontinued (EOL) years ago.

So perpetual users are still able to utilize their software. But for those who purchased CS perpetual licenses and need or want to access installer downloads, the options have changed. Historically, there have been public-facing direct download links available for versions like CS4, CS5, and CS5.5.

Now, instead, if you purchased the software directly from Adobe (via an Electronic Software Download), then the company says an installer download should be available under your account by using the process listed in “Find Downloaded Apps and Files” or “Download Older Versions of Adobe Apps.”

If you purchased perpetual software via a CD/DVD or from an authorized reseller/retailer, then make sure to complete the registration process discussed in “Find Your Serial Number.” If you can’t register your software, then you might be able to retrieve your working license key from your computer by running one of the free utilities described here.

Otherwise, if you are unable to find the disc media or serial number that was provided with your purchase, then you may be out of luck. However, volume license customers can still retrieve the volume license perpetual installation files at

The Good News for Direct Download Links

The good news is that most direct download links remain working and available for the two most recent releases of Creative Cloud – CC 2019 and CC 2018 – while older versions still retain some direct links which are functional within CC 2017, CC 2015, CC 2014 and CC 2013.

Regarding standalone installers for the older end-of-life Creative Suite products, some direct download links for CS6, CS5.5, CS5, CS4 and CS3 are still working and available.

Last, but not least

Finally, and importantly, Creative Suite 6 is no longer available to download as part of a Creative Cloud membership. CS6 was the first release of software that early Creative Cloud subscribers received in 2012, but it is no longer offered with CC membership.

That said, Adobe is not doing anything to actively uninstall CS6 (or any older CC version) from Creative Cloud customers’ machines – the removal of any such now-unauthorized version is ultimately up to the subscriber.

Do you have any questions about this policy change, or Creative Cloud in general? Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

See Also

Get the New Creative Cloud 2024 Direct Download Links

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77 thoughts on “Adobe Limits Software Version Downloads, Including Some Direct Links”

  1. Has anyone had any luck getting CS6 direct download links from customer service?

    I just had to reinstall CS6 and they keep saying the patch links are no longer available on their website and then send me the master collection link. I tell them I already have the software installed and only need the links to the update installers. They act like they don’t know what I’m asking for, and around and around we go!!!

    Should I keep at them or is it a lost cause?

    • Give ’em heaps buddy, I purchased CS4 MC, and CS6 MC, why should we pay by the month, it’s all about getting profit, they will always have some lame excuse that it’s to do with US!!!
      Shove the prescription option, I went to Affinity Photo, purchased the program and IT’S MINE< MINE< MINE.

  2. @Keith
    I’m pretty much in the same boat. I have Design & Web Premium CS6, but I can’t find any working link anywhere. Short of ridiculous you have the license to run the software but you can’t get it.

  3. Seems my predictions are becoming a reality.

    Notice that adobe has essentially revoked all cs, cs2 and cs3 perpetual licenses by shutting down the activation servers and refusing to provide non-activation versions of said software.

    Guess what, cs4, cs5 and cs6 users will be in the same boat sometime next year and thus adobe will have completed the goal of revoking the licenses of any existing perpetual license software that competes with their creative cloud offerings without actually revoking the licenses. Pretty sneaky, eh?

    Two more predictions are the update servers for said creative suite products mentioned above will also be shut down and on with the other goal of having no perpetual license software at all be getting rid of the photoshop elements product line, since no one in their right mind would pay to subscribe to them.

    • The only thing (mostly) true in what you wrote is the first paragraph. A while back, Adobe shut down the activation servers for CS2 and CS3, but did provide non-activating replacements for years.

  4. I’ve been using InDesign CS6 to open Pagemaker files for updates. These files are a core part of my business and are often books of up to 250 pages. I am now in the situation where I have a client’s whole output to revise to the 2020 editions, but Adobe have prevented me from accessing the files.

    This has, in a nutshell, left me stuffed with no means of editing these files and hundreds of hours work to reset the whole shooting match. Who’s going to pay?

    • Hi Roland, what’s happened in your case exactly? InDesign CS6 is officially “unauthorized” – but you’ll have to weigh any risk yourself of continuing to use it for your workflow.

  5. It seems that “adobe dude”‘s predictions (in his second and possibly even third paragraph) came true, insofar as every license prior to some versions of CS6 have been, in effect, revoked. Every link everywhere – that I’ve been able to find — points to a single webpage at Adobe. That page suggests that you try a Creative Cloud trial version. Even links to FTP sites show a total absence of any folders or files earlier than CC.

    I don’t mind leasing CC by the month as needed for Premiere Pro and After Effects, but it really would be nice to have PhotoShop on standby all of the time.

    • That’s simply not true.

      Adobe may have pulled the old CS downloads from public view, but that action does not impact existing licenses. All customers who bought those products years ago should have their own copies of the installers anyway (or they would be available from their online Adobe accounts).

      As we noted above, Adobe shut down the activation servers for CS2 and CS3 awhile back, but did provide non-activating replacements for a number of years.

      In other words, NO licenses have ever been revoked by the company. And everything for CS4, CS5, and CS6 customers remains as it did before, with the exception that public access to most of those dated installers is no longer available because Adobe discontinued the product line several years ago.

      Hope that clarifies.

  6. Some computers (like mine) had to install Windows 10 from scratch due to incompatibility issues in the Windows upgrade process, thereby wiping out all software. Other computers crashed their hard drives and did not have current images. My copy of CS5 Production Premium existed at some point as a download link — not an iso or a CD. I would love for someone to tell me how I can regain access to the installer from my Adobe account, in the absence of that link destination.

    I know the license was not explicitly revoked, which is why I used the term “in effect.” If I can no longer get to my installer to rebuild my licensed software, and no ISO is made available, then I can no longer use the product I paid lots of money for. I envy those CS5 users who can continue to use their software for as long as their computers will allow them to do so.

    • Customers who bought those products years ago should have their own copies of the installers – either via a purchased CD/DVD or electronic download, depending on the manner of original delivery of the product.

      And if those downloads were available via customers’ online Adobe accounts before, then they will continue to be available there going forward. For more details, see this page:

      Adobe Help: How to Find Downloaded Apps and Installer Files

      What the company did is take down the the public-facing links of discontinued and EOL (end-of-life) products. But the original licenses and installers for CS4 / CS5 / CS6 were not impacted for customers of those versions.

  7. Hi there, I am wondering if you have a link for incremental version – 15.1.2 ? of After Effects 2018 ?


  8. I haven’t had any issues acquiring installers for CS6, ever. It’s always been one of my registered products on my Adobe account and has always provided installer links. That said, I do have my original discs still in case something weird happens.

  9. @ProDesignTools
    Really? I’ve been using cs5 for years off and on, as a hobbyist not a pro. I had to update my mac recently and needed to re-install cs5 suite, which i did. I then needed the updates to 12.0.4 and camera raw 6.7, which i can’t get even with the help of adobe support. They provided links to the software, but unfortunately it simply won’t run – so i’m stuck with version 12.0 without the updates. They pointed me here… Fortunately LR updates are ok using the links on here. So, Adobe helpful, not so much for older customers. I have many elements versions for the kids, if i lost those then i guess I’d be in the same boat again.

  10. Thank you very much, super helpful. To be fair to Adobe support, they do go out of their way to help… I reviewed the conversation with the last one and realised he/she may simply not have been as knowledgeable as the others i’ve spoken with before. In any case, i’m sorted now, thank you.

  11. I am downloading the 2017 version but it has failed three times. It is too much time consuming but I am new to all these things. Can anyone help me ?

    • Sorry, not sure; did you receive any error(s) or other messages?

      If so, what are they exactly – and did you try googling that to find a solution?

      Just tested the direct download links and they work 100% fine for us…

      Nobody else has reported any issues, so we’d definitely need more detail in order to help you out.

      Did you try using a different web browser, or another computer or Internet connection?

  12. I need a download link for InDesign 2020 (32 and 64 bit-Version, Windows). Adobe support told me to look for it on prodesigntools :-D, but I have only found the InDesign CC 2019 installer here…

    • Hello Rick, now that’s a bit circular, isn’t it?

      Many paying customers have older systems which cannot run the latest Creative Cloud release, but Adobe never made the 2020 downloads available publicly.

      So we here do not have those offline installers to give you – but in our article about CC 2020 direct download links, we advise that paid subscribers can try contacting Adobe Customer Care directly, as they are the only ones who could provide that version.

      Alternatively, as you note, the CC 2019 direct links still work well, and are immediately available for download to everyone… All current subscribers can choose to run any version of CC you wish.

  13. Need a link to Photoshop 2020 (ver. 21.0.0). It is the last and only version that will work on my computer. I have explored many of the suggested options even asked for help from an Adobe Supervisor. Your help is my last resort before I am forced to end the use of Photoshop entirely, even though my annual subscription lasts till May 2024 on this older computer.

    • Hi Roy,

      We here have not tried in a while, but last time it worked with some repeated persistence and requesting a supervisor. It sounds like you have done that at least once.

      Adobe officially has a “N-1” Support Policy, which means they will only support the current major release and the one prior.

      So technically, now, that would mean CC 2024 and CC 2023.

      We think Adobe should really still be giving out CC 2020 installers because many subscribers do need them, if for some reason you can’t run the latest CC release – for example, like when you have a slightly-older computer, as you mentioned. The company could still provide these versions, but just disavow any and all official support.

      If not, is the alternative just losing paying customers? That doesn’t seem better.

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