Today’s Question: [As a follow up to yesterday’s question about the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plans] If I don’t connect to the Internet or, maybe more to the point, if I cancel my monthly payment, what happens to the installed software on my computer and iPad?
Tim’s Quick Answer: If you discontinue your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, you will still have access to your original and derivative image files, but you will (for the most part) not have access to the software applications included in your Creative Cloud subscription. That applies whether you discontinue the subscription or Adobe is not able to validate that your subscription is current.
More Detail: First, allow me to underscore the point that if you discontinue your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plan you will not lose access to your source images stored on your local hard drives. If you had saved copies of your photos on Adobe’s servers as part of your online storage allowance, those files would no longer be available. And in some respects the copies of your photos used to synchronize to mobile devices would be unavailable. But your source images would not be affected by this change, and would remain on your local hard drives.
If you discontinue your Creative Cloud subscription, you won’t have access to the applications included in your subscription, such as Photoshop and Lightroom if you signed up for the Creative Cloud Photography Plan. The specific behavior differs from one application to the next. Photoshop would simply not be able to launch, for example. You would still be able to launch Lightroom, but would not be able to adjust your photos in the Develop module, among other limitations.
The applications installed on your iPad would still be available, but without a current Creative Cloud subscription plan the synchronization services would no longer be available, causing those applications to no longer be very useful.
Note that one of the terms of a Creative Cloud subscription plan is the need to connect to the Internet at least every thirty days in order to validate your subscription. In other words, if you have Creative Cloud applications installed on a computer that is offline for more than thirty days, those applications will no longer be available as outlined in the description above.
So, the bottom line is that if you discontinue your Creative Cloud subscription you will still have access to your own files, but not to the Adobe software included in your subscription plan. For Photoshop PSD files or layered TIFF images, of course, that means you may not have any software available that can properly open the files. That said, if you still have a version of the software applications that precedes the Creative Cloud versions (such as Photoshop CS6 for example) and that software still runs properly on your computer, that would enable you to mitigate most of the issues involved with no longer having access to the Creative Cloud applications.
In other words, the Creative Cloud subscription plans are really designed for you to continue paying a monthly subscription fee indefinitely, until you decide you no longer need to access the applications included in that subscription plan.