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How Many Systems Can You Use Adobe Products (CC, CS6) On?

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How Many Computers Can You Install or Run Adobe Software On?


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770 thoughts on “How Many Systems Can You Use Adobe Products (CC, CS6) On?”

  1. Hi, we are printing publishing house and intend to purchase the Creative Cloud for Teams. We are currently working on CS3.

    My question is that, we are a team of 4 and usually work in Photoshop, illustrator, indesign, acrobat at one go. do we purchase all four apps for 4 different users?

  2. I am currently using the old CS2. I want to upgrade to CC. I would prefer to buy the “Individual” versions, since I do not need all of the cloud usage on the “Team” platform and it’s less expensive.

    I want to purchase the full CC license for my use on my main computer and my laptop. I also want to purchase just the Photoshop/Lightroom package for my husband. He only uses Photoshop to slice my templates for web design and occasionally enhances a photo.

    What are the steps to make this flawless? I see licensing issues if people use the same email. Also, does using the same credit card, same address, or having been a previous customer make problems with buying one full package, then one desktop app purchase? Will the Single App Photoshop/Lightroom also work cohesively with the full CC package Photoshop?

    I won’t be doing this until the fall of 2015…I just really want to have a good experience and I am doing my research before purchasing.

    • Hi G, you would definitely want to use two different emails when you get two different Creative Cloud packages that overlap in tools, because each Adobe ID can support only one license per CC application.

      Meaning, your husband would want to use his own email to run his Photoshop, so that it can be different from the Photoshop license that you’re running. Otherwise, the licensing would conflict if he’s trying to run Photoshop or Lightroom on his computer at the same time that you’re trying to use any CC app on your computer.

      Other than that, there should be no issues. Using the same credit card or address (or PayPal account even) are not a problem.

      As for being a previous CS customer, if you had CS3 to CS6 then you could get a big discount on CC for your first year… But CS2 is a too far back to qualify for that special offer – sorry!

      Hope that helps! If you have any further questions then feel free to post back.

  3. Since CS6 can only be active with the same license code on two computers, is it possible to deactivate the photoshop from one computer so that it can be used on another?

  4. hello Adobe,

    I have just upgraded to Yosemite OS on my MacBook Pro & now my CS5 (Student version) won’t open.
    It gives me a message saying I need to download a legacy version of Java. I followed the link & downloaded this from the Oracle site.
    But CS5 still gives me the same message & won’t open.

    I’m rather worried, as I need to edit some pictures & am stumped without Photoshop.
    I’ve read that I now need to reinstall CS5.
    Is this right? If so, how do I approach this? Over-writing the existing software or removing it first?

    Your advice appreciated.

  5. One question I have. You are the primary license holder, but your son, daughter, wife, or a visitor need to use Photoshop on your computer. I suppose it’s permissible, except when you are using that second PC.

    So basically if you are working off your laptop, your son is not allow to access Photoshop on the Desktop until you exit your second copy?

  6. Hi, could you clarify for me a question i have? I am looking at installing CC on my work computer, which i have gathered i can install at home as well. Do i need to exit the program at work to be able to use at home, because i leave my work computer on. Would this flag up with adobe?

  7. Just purchased Lightroom and Photoshop cc as the photography package. I have it installed on a desktop imac and a macbook pro. Am i allowed to install the app version on my iphone, or does that exceed the 2 computers authorized in the licensing agreement?


  8. After reading lots of information I can’t seem to find an answer to this situation.
    I have CC Photography with Lightroom and Photoshop CC.
    I have it installed on my desktop at home and on my laptop for travel.
    I understand that is completely legal and it works fine.
    Now my question:
    Am I allowed to also use the Lightroom app on my IPhone or is that considered a third device and therefore violates the software agreement?
    Thanks for your help.

  9. Hi there,

    I have CS3 Master Collection on a laptop that is from a volume license edition that was purchased from the school I work at. I would like to add this to a new computer, however, it says that I’ve reached my authentication limit and need to deactivate another computer. It will not allow me to deactivate on my laptop (it’s not an option under “help”) and I’m thinking it’s because it’s a volume license copy. Is there a way to get around this issue and put in on my new computer without having to purchase another serial? Thank you!

    • Sorry Braidi, not that we know of. There may be nothing further you can do, so in that case you’d have to contact the person who manages the Adobe volume licenses there.

  10. I just purchased Premiere Pro cc yesterday and installed one on my iMac at home and the other I installed on my Dell laptop. The one on my Mac works fine, however the copy that I installed onto my Dell laptop seems dormant. I cannot get the app onto my desktop. The only way that I can even see the app is when I go to (Start-Control Panel-Uninstall programs) then I can see it. So It’s on my computer but all I can do is uninstall it. I cannot open the app at all. This would be my second device that I am putting the program on sooooo it should work. What am I doing wrong?

  11. My daughter wants to install CS6 on my computer. She has two installations, only one of which has been used. I have the registration CD for her installation but I think she downloaded the product from Adobe’s site. My question is can I download Adobe’s trial version and upgrade it to a registered version?

  12. Hi – I have bought the acrobat software in the US for my company. We are running a small project in India. Is it possible for me to make a copy and share my software with our partner Indian company so that they can use the software to work on our project? Basically, can the Indian company use the software bought in the US on their system for the purpose of a project they are accomplishing for us only. Couldn’t understand what the EULA said about this. can you please help?


    • Sorry Allena, it doesn’t really work that way. The individual Adobe products are single-user licensed, so you can’t split them between two parties using the program at the same time.

      You could possibly legally transfer the software to them to use – but if we understand correctly the hypothetical scenario you’re describing, license-sharing is against the terms of use:

      You may activate the Software on up to 2 devices (or virtual machines) at a time, if these activations are associated with the same Adobe ID for the same individual, unless stated at However, you may not use the Software on these devices simultaneously.

      Restrictions. Unless permitted in these terms, you must not:

      (6) rent, lease, sell, sublicense, assign, or transfer your rights in the Software, or authorize any portion of the Software to be copied onto another’s device. If you purchase Creative Cloud for team or Creative Cloud for education (named user), then you may designate seats pursuant to the applicable documentation.

  13. I have purchased a single app subscription through creative cloud, premiere pro cc, and successfully installed it on my laptop.

    I have attempted to install it on my desktop through creative cloud, and creative cloud shows that it is downloaded – but how do I open the program? I can’t find it on my desktop, in installed apps or anywhere.

  14. Hi,

    I’m interested in buying Creative Cloud for teams license, According to Adobe website, as far as I understand it, it can be installed on three computers and used AT THE SAME TIME on two. Is that correct?

  15. @ProDesignTools

    Thanks for your response. I have realised that my desktop is a 32bit machine and will not therefore run premiere pro. Coincidentally the original installation on my laptop which was working fine has now stopped working and presents an error message stating that there is no capable video module, this is disturbing as it was working last week and nothing has changed on my laptop at all. I have tried using a previous version of premiere pro but get the same message. Any ideas please??

  16. If we have three edit systems at work, each with multiple users on those individual systems (separate Windows log ins), does each user need an Adobe ID/license to use those systems? These edit systems also aren’t connected to the internet, except when I, as the administrator, temporarily connect them to download updates. I guess I’m wondering if there is a way to tie the license to a machine rather than individuals?

  17. Does the two-computer-limit apply to Creative Cloud as a whole, or to the individual apps? For example, can I install Photoshop on computers A and B, and Illustrator on computers B and C with a single Creative Cloud individual license?

    • Good question Joe. The licensing applies to the entire package or suite of applications as a whole… So outside of the two computers you install and activate the CC software on, you cannot split or distribute it across a greater number of systems.

      If you want to do that (with more machines), then you’d need multiple CC Individual licenses, or Creative Cloud for Teams.

  18. Dear prodesigntools,

    Am I correct in assuming that the outlined 2 computer license enables me to use an ipad for editing-on-the-couch convenience next to my laptop while on holidays and the desktop at home?

    Kind regards,

    Antoon Schotman

    • Yes Antoon, that sounds like it should work fine…

      The iPad/iPhone or Android running the CC mobile apps doesn’t count in the two-computer equation for the CC desktop tools… The mobile apps are free and unlimited.

      And it sounds like you wouldn’t be trying to run the desktop applications on two systems at the same time.

      Hope that helps!

  19. I currently have Adobe CS 5.5 Student/Teacher edition on my MAC OS (I think its Lion 10.8.5) – it’s pre-Yosemite/El Capitan and I was unable to reach any choice on the Adobe phone line to ask questions since all their recordings say they no longer support these products.
    I would like to keep my hardcopy CS5.5 as long as my computer holds up. I’m even supposed to be able to put it on a 2nd computer but need more info if newer operating systems are compatible. If I have to get a new computer,
    will CS5.5 download on the newer operating systems (Yosemite/El Capitan). I’m not sure how to proceed. When I did work in CC at my school, I could save to the earlier version but I don’t know if I can still use my hard copy of CS5.5 if my computer dies and I get a newer operating system and Adobe won’t help. Where is a good place to ask questions to fill this gap?

    • Hey Esther, you could try searching and/or asking on the Adobe Online Help Forums… They are free and there are lots of folks who have similar questions or issues.

      Generally we have found that Apple is not so great at preserving backwards compatibility with older application software between major releases of their operating systems. So if possible, you are safer keeping the same Mac OS release as what the older Adobe tools were originally built to run on, if possible.

      Note that with the Creative Suite software EOL and end of support, there are no updates, no bug fixes, and no guarantees it will run on current or future operating systems.

  20. I currently own Adobe photoshop elements 8.0, I’ve had it for many years and I have three serial codes. I’m using one for my desktop and one for my laptop. But lately I’ve been having issues with trying to open the editor on my laptop,The issue I’m seeing is “Adobe Photoshop has suddenly stopped working”. I’ve uninstalled it last year and ended up wasting one serial code and used my last code for the same laptop. It worked for a year or so and I haven’t see the issue any more, until now I’m seeing the same issue again, I’ve tried all everything I did last time but again I’ve had no luck. I don’t want to uninstall it again because I’m not entirely sure if I can use my three serial codes again. I’ve used it once for my computer, and twice on the same laptop. Basically what I’m asking is, if i’m understanding right, one code is registered on my desktop and one is registered on my laptop, is that third serial code still available for another computer? or did I waste two of them on my laptop?
    I really need this explained to me, I don’t want to uninstall Photoshop and then try to reinstall it only to see that I won’t be able to use photoshop anymore. I can’t afford to upgrade to photoshop elements 14, let alone buy a whole new art product.

    • Hi Jessica, each Adobe serial number should allow you to install and use the tool on up to two computers, within the rules outlined in the article above.

      Outside of offering that guidance, unfortunately we don’t have the ability to fix licensing issues with the software – it’s beyond our power and control… You have to contact Adobe Customer Support about those kinds of questions; only they can help:

      (via live online chat is usually fastest/easiest)

  21. Hi there… I think I was one of the first people to start this blog… maybe..??
    Well..I installed CS 5 on my iMac back in… ( can’t remember exactly ) about 6 years ago more or less.
    Anyway…NEVER had a problem after asking the question and following a simple guide.

    1. Install on both computers
    2. Open one of them online and register according…
    3. Choose Photoshop and go to the “help” menu.
    4. Scroll down to ” Deactivate ” ( just above ‘updates’ )
    5. Once you have one of your computers deactivated then the other should work fine. You can even update without problems.
    6. Remember to deactivate the computer you don’t want to use and to reactivate the other computer you want to use if deactivated…

    It was a policy that Adobe had to stop people buying a private use version and then networking 4 or 5 computers…i.e. ” Piracy “. I am a Music Technology Engineer so I understand all of this reasoning.
    Hope this helps a little. Just be aware when you go online with activated Licensed Adobe software.

    Good luck

  22. Hi there…I installed Licensed version of CS5 many years ago and haven’t had any issues to date. I have been using it for about 6 or more years now. I was one of the first to hit this blog with the ” working 2 or more computers”.

    When I contacted Adobe, they simply told me to make sure that when installed on 2 computers ( one back up version allowed on another computer )…that I always make sure to “deactivate CS5′ on one of the computers before going online. It is a Piracy prevention thing.

    1. Open Photoshop
    2. Go to the “HELP” menu
    3. Scroll down to ” Deactivate ” and click.
    4. Turn on other computer and make sure it is activated.
    5. Always check to see if one of your computers is deactivated in Photoshop…or other software.

    Hope this helps. If not…try re-installing the software. Your codes and other numbers are Protected if your version is licensed to you. Make sure you write all the info down before installing again so when you register…your info with Adobe is re-connected and you should be fine. You should also have an Adobe Account where they will give you any free updates necessary / allowed with your software.

    Good Luck

  23. Sorry…it is also a Networking prevention scheme. If you try to use 2 or more computers online at the same time then it will NOT recognise your private use version as being a Networking version. Basically it WON’T work and you will have problems.



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