Adobe Creative Cloud's launch in 2013 marked the company’s shift towards becoming a cloud-based software-as-service provider, which means you can no longer install standalone versions of the program like Photoshop CS5 or CS6.
There are a few ways you can get Photoshop running on your machine, however – including a free trial. You can also get a discount if you’re a student or affiliated with an educational institution. Lastly, if you’re not fussed, you can also download a very old version of Photoshop for free.
We also have an entire dedicated guide to Creative Cloud CC, which you can read here. Also see our round up to the best free and cheap photo editing software. Also see our full guide on how to get Adobe InDesign.
On 4 November, Adobe released Creative Cloud 2020, with loads of upgrades and new tools all round. See our full Adobe CC 2020 coverage over at our sister site Digital Arts.
Photoshop CC Photography Plan
To get the latest version of Photoshop, you would need Adobe Creative Cloud. A Creative Cloud subscription means you either pay an amount every month or a lump sum cost for a year. This promises ongoing access to updates at no additional cost.
You don’t have to buy all the Adobe CC programs at once though. If you only need Photoshop you can subscribe to the Photography Plan, which has a few options (we've outlined these below) depending on how much cloud storage you need.
Photography Plan (20GB storage)
The 20GB Photography Plan includes Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic CC and of course Photoshop CC with 20GB of cloud storage. There are a couple of pricing plans available:
Photography Plan (1TB storage)
If you need more storage, you can opt for the 1TB Photography Plan which costs £19.97/month for a year, or a prepaid lump sump of £238.42 for the year. In the US, that translates to $19.99/month or $239.88 for a year, respectively. It comes with the Lightroom apps as well.
Single App subscription
If you prefer just getting Photoshop CC on its own without Lightroom in the bundle, you can opt for the Single App plan from Adobe CC. The Single App includes the latest version of Photoshop, 100GB of cloud storage, access to premium fonts, as well as Adobe Spark (a social media graphics creation tool) and Adobe Portfolio.
There are three payment plans to get Photoshop CC on its own.
- Annual monthly: £19.97/$20.99 per month
- Annual, pre-paid: £238.42/$239.88 (lump sum)
- On-going monthly: £30.34/$31.49 per month
Photoshop student and teacher discount
While Adobe doesn't offer a discount on Photoshop alone, students and teachers can get a 65-percent discount on the full Creative Cloud bundle (60-percent in the US).
This not only gets you Photoshop CC, but an army of other powerful apps such as Illustrator, Lightroom, InDesign, Premier Pro, Acrobat Pro, Spark and Adobe XD – all at a significantly reduced rate. See all the apps included with the full Creative Cloud bundle here.
For UK customers, the student discount makes the entire suite's price cheaper than the 1TB Photography Plan and the Single App Photoshop subscription plan by £68.20, annually. Students and teachers can choose from two annual payment plans:
- Annual prepaid: £196.30 per year (VAT included) or US$239.88 per year
- Annual, paid monthly: £16.24 per month (VAT included) or US$19.99 per month
You will have to show your student eligibility or institutional affiliation to get this discount however. You can find all the eligibility requirements here.
Photoshop free trial
You can also download a free 7-day trial of Photoshop CC. The download provides you the entire version of the software.
PC users will need Windows 7 or later and at least 2GB RAM (though 8GB is recommended). Mac users will need macOS version 10.14 (Mojave),10.13 (High Sierra) or 10.12 (Sierra). For more details on both Mac and PC system requirements, go here.
Get Photoshop CS2 for free
If you’re looking for a completely free version of Photoshop, you can install Photoshop CS2, a super early, discontinued version of the program directly from Adobe.
But note that Adobe no longer supports this version of Photoshop and the company advises against using unsupported versions of its software. Adobe also warns that existing operating systems may be too advanced to support CS2 as well. The program is also intended for those who legitimately purchased CS2, but Adobe no longer verifies activation as the software is so out of date.
If you would like to throw caution to the wind and download Photoshop CS2 anyway, you will at least need Mac OS X (version 10.2.8 to 10.3.8) and a PowerPC G4 or G5 processor. PC users will need Windows 2000 or Windows XP with an Intel Pentium III or 4 processor.