How to get Photoshop for free

If you’re here, you’re probably searching for a simple way to use Photoshop for free, which is increasingly harder to find. Whether you’re editing a fantastic meme or trying to get professional work done for a client, Photoshop is almost entirely a subscription service.

With periodic updates these days, the old methods of using a past version of the software don’t function anymore. To get the full version of Photoshop now, you will need to pay at least $10 per month, which is hard to justify unless you’re a professional. An entry-level version called Photoshop Elements, however, is available for $100 and comes with several pro-level features — but there are far fewer options overall.

So, let’s talk about the best way to experience Photoshop for free and the rare cases in which old downloads may be the best option for you. You may also want to check out other free photo-editing software available online or look for the best photo-editing apps for iOS or Android if you prefer to work on mobile. But for the best results, keep in mind that you will probably want a great photo-editing monitor to work on as well.

Download your free trial

Right now, the top way to use Photoshop while paying nothing is to sign up for the free trial and then cancel before that trial ends (usually seven days). Adobe offers a free seven-day trial of the latest Photoshop version, which you can start whenever you want.

Photoshop free trial website screenshot

Step 1: Navigate to the Adobe website and select Free Trial when you are ready to begin. Adobe will offer you three different free trial options at this point. You probably want to choose the one on the left, which is Photoshop plus Adobe Fresco, the recent version of Adobe’s paint app, which you may be interested in trying but can always ignore. The middle option, known as the Photography plan, will give you access to many additional photo tools you may find useful for your trial. When you’re ready to choose a plan, select that plan’s corresponding Start Free Trial button.

Photoshop free trial options screenshot

Step 2: Now, you will go to a checkout screen where you enter your email (if you are a new user, you will eventually have to create a password and account with this email, too).

After these steps, the download should automatically begin. This download will work with both MacOS and Windows 10 as long as you have several GB of storage space for the app and related hardware.

Step 3: Find the Photoshop_Installer.dmg file in your browser’s Downloads folder and open it. Adobe will then download the Photoshop program and the Creative Cloud desktop app onto your computer because this allows the company to tempt you with various other Adobe apps besides Photoshop. You may now need to fill out a few quick questions and sign in with an Adobe account or create a new Creative Cloud membership — this is the membership you will have to pay for after the trial.

Step 4: You can now use Photoshop for seven days, starting when you download the free trial. Make sure you cancel the trial and remove your Creative Cloud account before your trial ends so you don’t start paying for anything!

It’s incredibly challenging to get a second free trial on Adobe, as they track and record all of your computer downloads. You can try your hand to eliminate Photoshop from your computer or use another computer and sign in with a new Adobe account. These methods might score an additional trial, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t always end in a win for you.

The end of Photoshop CS2

At one time, Photoshop Creative Suite 2 (CS2) was a free service. But it was only free for users who had previously bought Photoshop’s outdated version. Because tons of people were searching for a free Photoshop app with CS2-like features, this worked out great for the countless, long-time Photoshoppers who didn’t want to shell out money for a Photoshop plan or download the recently upgraded versions. Sadly, now there are giant caveats involved in this system that has rendered the program useless for many users. Take a look at some of these issues below: 

  • Adobe has disabled activation servers for CS2 and Acrobat 7. They are neither supported nor updated.
  • They required an original serial number from a past purchase to download and use CS2. This requirement is no longer the case — now, you can only use the specialized version of CS2 with a single serial number provided by Adobe. Your original software is no longer supported.
  • Windows 10 has had growing problems trying to use Photoshop CS2 because of outdated compatibility. It isn’t easy to get the software running on Windows anymore.
  • MacOS has not been compatible with CS2 since OS X 10.7 Mountain Lion, and current versions of MacOS can no longer support it.

Adobe has even gone as far as to delete a last-ditch Photoshop CS2 download from its site to cut off its support for installing earlier versions completely. There is a glimmer of hope (maybe). If you search hard enough, you may run into the CS2 download on another site. However, we do not suggest downloading it from other sources. Chances are, it won’t work correctly, and it could potentially result in serious issues for your operating system or attack your software with viruses and other dangerous security threats.

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