Can You Buy Adobe Creative Cloud Outright?

For many years, Adobe Creative Cloud was exclusively available via a subscription-based model. However, in 2021, Adobe introduced a new option for purchasing select Creative Cloud apps outright, marking a significant shift in their software distribution strategy.

Purchasing Individual Apps

Adobe now offers perpetual licenses for individual Creative Cloud apps, allowing users to purchase and own the software without the ongoing subscription fees. This option is particularly attractive for individuals who use only a few specific apps or have limited budget constraints.

Perpetual Licenses for Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Elements

Currently, Adobe offers perpetual licenses for three of its flagship Creative Cloud apps: Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere Elements. These perpetual licenses provide a one-time purchase option, eliminating the need for ongoing subscription payments.

Pricing for Perpetual Licenses

The pricing for perpetual licenses varies depending on the app and the region. For instance, the current pricing for Photoshop is $299, Lightroom Classic is $149, and Premiere Elements is $749.

Benefits of Purchasing Perpetual Licenses

Purchasing perpetual licenses for Creative Cloud apps offers several benefits:

  • Full Ownership: You own the software outright, eliminating the need for recurring payments.
  • No Upgrades Required: You have the flexibility to upgrade to new versions of the app at your own pace and budget.
  • Offline Access: You can use the software offline without being connected to the internet.

Drawbacks of Perpetual Licenses

While perpetual licenses offer certain advantages, they also have some drawbacks:

  • No Updates: You will not receive automatic updates to the software, and you may need to pay for updates separately.
  • Limited Support: Support may not be as readily available as for subscription users.
  • Limited Features: Perpetual licenses may not include all the latest features and enhancements.

Subscription vs. Perpetual License

The decision of whether to purchase Creative Cloud apps outright or subscribe depends on your individual needs and preferences.

  • Subscription: If you frequently use multiple Creative Cloud apps, value the latest features, and don’t mind ongoing payments, a subscription might be a better option.
  • Perpetual Licenses: If you have specific needs for a few apps, prefer to own the software outright, and are willing to manage updates and support independently, a perpetual license might be a good choice.


Adobe’s introduction of perpetual licenses for select Creative Cloud apps provides greater flexibility and choice for users. While subscriptions remain the primary distribution model, perpetual licenses offer an alternative for those seeking ownership and control over their software purchases.