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Download Photoshop: How to try Photoshop for free or with Creative Cloud

Download Photoshop
(Image credit: Adobe)

Ready to download Photoshop CC but not sure where to start? It might seem like it should be a simple process, but Adobe has a raft of subscription and app offers that can make choosing how to download Photoshop a little confusing at times. That's why we're here to help simplify things.

Maybe you're already sure that you want to download Photoshop CC for PC, Mac or iPad or that you want to try a free trial of Adobe Photoshop. In that case, scroll down and you'll find links to download Adobe Photoshop right away without further ado (or go straight to Adobe to download Photoshop here). 

If you're still not quite sure, take a moment to consider why you want image-editing software. To do more research, take a look at our guide to the best Photoshop alternatives, or explore Photoshop vs Lightroom to compare Adobe's tools. For help downloading Adobe's other software, see our download Illustrator and download After Effects guides. 

Can I download Photoshop for free?

Yes, you can download Photoshop for free... in a sense. Photoshop is a paid-for image-editing program, but you can download a free Photoshop trial for both Windows and macOS from Adobe. With a Photoshop free trial, you get seven days to use the full version of the software. That gives you access to all the latest features and updates at absolutely no cost. There's no need for a credit card to access the trial. Just follow the link above to get started.

Downloading Photoshop for free in any other way is illegal and definitely not recommended. Not only is it software piracy, it’s also unsafe since you put your device at risk of viruses and malware. Those are dangers that don't exist if you either download the free Photoshop trial or pay for the software upfront. 

How do I buy Photoshop CC?

To download a full version of Photoshop from the outset, you'll need a Creative Cloud membership. There are a number of different options: you can choose a Single App plan, which gives you just Photoshop CC alone, or a plan that includes more of Adobe’s creative apps.

Adobe's Photography Plan gives you access to Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic, which might be all you need if your working with photography alone. However, an All Apps plan (as the name suggests) gives you access to all of Adobe’s apps, plus you get a range of other benefits too. The latter is obviously more expensive, although Adobe occasionally runs deals on both types of plan. It's worth keeping an eye on our Adobe Creative Cloud discounts page for the latest offers.

There are options for individuals and businesses, and if you’re a student or teacher you can save up to 65 per cent if you buy Photoshop as part of the All Apps plan. 

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)

As we've seen, there's a range of different subscription options. The cheapest way to download Photoshop CC is as part of the Creative Cloud Photography plan, which usually costs $9.99 / £9.98 / AU$14.29 per month and gives you access to Photoshop CC, 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).

Alternatively, you can choose the Single App Photoshop plan, which costs $20.99 / £19.97 per month, and will give you just Photoshop, plus 100GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts and Adobe Spark. This option costs more than the Photography Plan, so is only really worth it if you really don't want the other apps and need more than the 20GB storage you get with the Photography Plan.

There's also the Creative Cloud All Apps option, which gives you access to Adobe’s entire collection of creative desktop and mobile apps, including Photoshop, and all of the same additional benefits as the Photoshop Plan. That costs $52.99 / £49.94 / AU$76.99 per month. 

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, it includes Photoshop and Illustrator for iPad, Fresco for iPad and iPhone, as well as Adobe Spark and the Creative Cloud app.

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

If you’re a student or teacher, you can buy Photoshop as part of a discounted All Apps plan at a much lower rate. That will give you the entire collection of creative desktop and mobile apps, plus 100GB cloud storage, 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. 

The only non-subscription version of Photoshop you can buy is Photoshop Elements, which is an entry-level version of the image-editing software. It contains most of Photoshop’s pro features, but is more simple to use and has fewer 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

Once you've downloaded Photoshop, check out our collection of the best Photoshop tutorials to get started. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate-level or a pro, you'll find a huge range of new tips and tricks to help you work more quickly, efficiently and creatively in Photoshop.

Don't worry if you're pressed for time: on our YouTube Channel, we've got a selection of handy Photoshop Two-Minute Tool School videos that walk you through all the essential tools in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea.

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 Adobe’s flagship image-editing app. There's are some good reasons why it remains the industry-standard software for photo-editing all over the world. It’s slick, fast and it boasts a powerful, extensive tool set to bring your ideas to life.

For layered image editing – including typography, 3D modelling, and drawing – it remains the first choice for professional creatives all over. 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)

As part of your CC subscription plan, you’ll receive all Photoshop updates for free. The latest version offers improvements to existing features like Content-Aware Fill, as well as 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

There are also free Photoshop Android and iOS spin-off apps that you can download for your mobile device. These give you access to key Photoshop tools on the move, enabling 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. 

Photoshop alternatives

Finally, if you’re still not sure about being tied into a Creative Cloud subscription plan, there are lots of non-subscription-based 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 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 nearly 15 years.