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Download Photoshop: how to get Adobe Photoshop free or with Creative Cloud

Download Photoshop: Photoshop on MacBook Pro
(Image credit: Adobe)

If you're looking to download Photoshop then you've come to the right place. In this guide you'll find everything you need to know about Adobe's incredible digital photo, art and graphic design software. Photoshop is the most famous piece of art software in the world (fun fact, it was designed to create the VFX shots in the 1989 movie The Abyss).

Photoshop can do almost anything when it comes to digital images, whether 2D or 3D, and when it comes to downloading Photoshop it there are a few options to be aware of too. In this guide I'll round up everything you need to know and answer some key questions, all to make downloading Photoshop even easier.

You can download Photoshop right now without paying anything

Adobe offers a variety of Creative Cloud plans that'll give you access to Photoshop, as well as other essential creative apps if you need them. Its top-of-the-range All Apps plan means, unsurprisingly, that you can use every CC app, but if you don't need quite that much versatility there are more focused plans available, including the option for Photoshop 2022 on its own.

There are free trials available, too, so you can download Photoshop right now without paying anything, and if you don't want to download anything there's even the new in-browser Photoshop that you can try out.

Not sure whether Photoshop's what you need? Take a look at our Photoshop 2022 review for all the juicy facts, or alternatively head straight to Adobe's page to download a free trial of Photoshop (opens in new tab) and see how you get on. 

Download Photoshop? But what is it?

Basically, Photoshop is the world's leading image editing package, and the go-to app for all manner of creative disciplines, from graphic design and illustration through to photo retouching and 3D animation. While it started out as a photo editing tool, today's Photoshop is a whole load more versatile; as Adobe says, "If you can dream it, you can make it."

Of course, Photoshop isn't the only image-editing option available. If you don't think Photoshop is for you, then we have a handy guide on the best Photoshop alternatives. Or if you're debating whether to invest in Photoshop or Lightroom, then check out our piece on Photoshop vs Lightroom, where we compare two of Adobe's most popular photo-editing tools.

Can I download Photoshop for free?

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Download a free Photoshop trial for PC, Mac or iPad now (opens in new tab)
Adobe's seven-day trial lets you download Photoshop for free. You don't have to buy the software once you're done, but if you like it you can convert to a paid Creative Cloud membership after the trial has expired.

While it's a paid-for program, you can in fact download Photoshop for free, but the catch is that it's only for seven days. Adobe offers a free week-long trial on its creative apps, both on Mac and PC, and it's the real deal: you'll get the the full package with all the latest updates and features, to do with as you wish.

Of course a week isn't really a very long time when you're getting to grips with a heavyweight design package like Photoshop, but it's just about long enough to get a handle on what it's like to use and whether you want to to continue on to a full subscription. And before you ask, no, you don't have to submit your credit card deals to get a hold of the trial, so there's no chance of accidentally paying for a full year's subscription without meaning to (we've all done it).

I seriously do not recommend using any other platform to try and download the software for free. Not only is it illegal software piracy, but downloading it from an unreliable source may invite harmful malware or viruses onto your device. Thankfully, if you download directly from Adobe, you won't have to worry about any of that stuff!

How do I buy Photoshop CC?

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Buy Photoshop CC from £9.98 / $9.99 per month (opens in new tab)
Adobe’s industry-leading software enables you to create and enhance photos, images and designs. You can download Photoshop to your PC or Mac from $9.99 / £9.98 per month, and there's a seven-day free trial to experiment with first.

If you want to download the full version of Photoshop from the get-go, you're going to need a Creative Cloud plan. There are quite a few options to choose from, starting with Single App plans that are pretty self-explanatory, as well as plans that provide you with a discipline-specific set of apps.

I'd suggest checking out Adobe's Photography Plan, which gives you access to Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic. If you're working with photography alone, Lightroom may actually be all you need. It's a similar beast to Photoshop, offering a slightly pared down suite of photo-editing tools, but very likely all the ones you'll need. 

This also offers a lot of tools that are amazing for speeding up workflow, allowing you to easily import, manage and organise your files. If you're producing high volumes of images, it's a lifesaver. 

Getting Photoshop with the All Apps plan

Need more than photo or image-editing tools? You may well need Adobe's All Apps plan, which gives you access to pretty much every creative app you're likely to need, so as well as Photoshop you'll be able to use Illustrator for digital art, Premiere Pro and After Effects for video, and much more besides.

Getting Adobe’s entire collection of creative desktop and mobile apps (although not the new Substance 3D apps), including Photoshop, and all of the same additional benefits as the Photoshop Plan, will usually cost you $54.99 / £51.98 / AU$79.99 per month.

Naturally, this is more expensive than any other plan, and is only really worth it if you're planning on using all of the apps. As an individual, this is unlikely, which is why Adobe offers a range of plans for businesses. Plus, teachers and students can save up to 65% by getting Photoshop CC as part of the All Apps plan.

It's also worth keeping an eye out for deals, as Adobe often runs limited-time offers that allow you to snag multi-program subscriptions for a fraction of the usual asking price. Sadly at the moment there aren't any deals to be had, but keep an eye on our Adobe Creative Cloud discounts page, which we'll update with the latest offers as soon as they appear.

What’s the price of Photoshop CC?

Download Photoshop: All Above the Sky by Erik Johansson

All Above the Sky, by Erik Johansson (Image credit: Adobe / Erik Johansson)

There are loads of subscription options that'll get you access to Photoshop CC, at different prices, and the cheapest option right now is the Creative Cloud Photography plan mentioned above, which usually costs $9.99 / £9.98 / AU$14.29 per month.

This gives you access to Photoshop CC, Photoshop for iPad, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic, plus 20GB cloud storage, Portfolio (for creating portfolio websites), Adobe Fonts and Adobe Spark (where you can quickly create your own branded graphics, web pages and videos).

You could instead opt for the Photoshop Single App plan, which will cost you $20.99 / £19.97 per month and which comes with Photoshop, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts and Adobe Spark. But why would you go for that when you can have the Photography Plan for under half the price? Good question; the other benefit of the Single App plan is that it comes with 100GB of cloud storage, which isn't to be sniffed at.

If you like creating on the move, Adobe has put together a new bundle, which saves you 50 per cent on the price of its four design apps. Appropriately called the Design Mobile Bundle (opens in new tab), it includes Photoshop and Illustrator for iPad, Fresco for iPad and iPhone, as well as Adobe Spark and the Creative Cloud app.

There's also the All Apps version that we've detailed in the section above. And finally, you can buy Photoshop through an All Apps + Adobe Stock option for $82.98 / £73 / AU$116.58 per month, which (as the name suggests) gives you access to Adobe Stock on top of the All Apps benefits. 

Photoshop discounts for teachers and students

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Adobe Creative Cloud Students and Teachers: $52.99 $19.99 / £49.94 £16.24 per month (opens in new tab)
Save 65%:
The best offer Adobe offers is for students and teachers, who can get around 65% off the All Apps package (discounts vary slightly according to territory). This is an unmissable offer if you're eligible.

For students and teachers who need Photoshop as well as other creative apps, there's a discounted All Apps plan (opens in new tab) available with a seriously impressive 65% discount. This gets you the entire suite of desktop and mobile apps as well as 100GB of cloud storage, plus Adobe Portfolio and more, for just $19.99 / £16.24 / AU$21.99 per month for the first year, $29.99 / £25.28 / AU$43.99 thereafter. 

If you don't want to be tied into a subscription, the closest thing you can get to Photoshop is Photoshop Elements. This is an entry-level version of Photoshop that has many of the pro app's features, but it's easier to use and doesn't have as many options. You can download Photoshop Elements 2021 for PC or Mac for a one-off cost starting from $99.99 / £69.99 / AU$145.19.

How can I get started with Photoshop?

Download Photoshop: Image of a person hiking in a forest

In this Photoshop tutorial, illustrator Charlie Davis walks through how to use the Pen tool and textures to add depth

If you've downloaded Photoshop or fired up the web-based version and don't really know what to do next, we can help you out. Our collection of the best Photoshop tutorials will link you up to all sorts of how-to guides, and regardless of whether you're a fresh-faced beginner, a grizzled pro or somewhere in-between, you'll be able to find plenty of tips and tricks to help you work more quickly, efficiently and creatively in Photoshop. Meanwhile, you might also want to check out our round-up of the best free Photoshop brushes the internet has to offer.

Photoshop CC: Key info you need to know

Photoshop CC is arguably Adobe's most famous app, not to mention the industry standard for photo and image editing, and with good reason. It's slick and fast, with an enormous and powerful tool set that's capable of bringing even your most exotic ideas to life.

It's a brilliant tool for layered image editing, enabling you to mix up typography, raster artwork, 3D models and much more. And with new AI-powered updates to streamline your workflow even further, it's increasingly freeing graphic designers, artists and photographers from the tyranny of tedious, repetitive processes so they can focus on the fun part of creating (see our Photoshop CC review to learn more)

Keeping Photoshop CC up to date is easy; all updates come as part of the CC subscription plan, so you'll never have to miss out on hot new features, updates to existing features or performance enhancements. Photoshop is available for desktop, smartphone or iPad, and supports every file format available. A full version of Photoshop CC for iPad is also now with us.

Adobe Photoshop: Android and iOS apps

Want to use Photoshop tools on your iPhone, iPad or Android device? There are Android and iOS spin-off apps that you can download and which enable you to create, edit, annotate and share images wherever inspiration strikes. 

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you can send your images to Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC to fine-tune them on your desktop later. Alternatively, if you're not sure about committing to Photoshop CC, these stand-alone mobile apps offer a good way to test the water. 

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Adobe Photoshop Express (opens in new tab)
This mobile photo editor and collage maker allows you to quickly edit and share your photos. It offers Raw photo support and features such as Auto Fix, Blemish Removal, Noise Reduction, Perspective Correction, watermark functionality and more. The app now includes the former Photoshop Mix and PhotoshopFix.

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Adobe Photoshop Sketch (opens in new tab)
With Photoshop Sketch, you can create expressive drawings using natural drawing tools like pencils, pens, markers and watercolour brushes. They interact naturally with the canvas, so you can create all the textures and blending effects you’d get on paper.

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Adobe Creative Cloud for mobile (opens in new tab)
With Creative Cloud for mobile, you can organise your projects with mobile access on your devices. Collaboration with other CC members is easy too, with features such as screenshot syncing to annotate or mark up designs.

Photoshop alternatives

Finally, if you don't want to sign up for a subscription and would rather pay once for an image-editing package, there are plenty of Photoshop alternatives, such as Affinity Photo, that let you purchase a licence with a one-off fee instead.

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Julia Sagar
Julia Sagar

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.