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Shared Device Licensing FAQ

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Identity and sign-in

The shared device licenses on a machine are automatically deactivated if no user has signed into Creative Cloud, on that machine for 30 consecutive days.

Higher educational institutions can use any of the identity types depending on their preference. However, Federated and Enterprise IDs are the recommended identity types for institutions. For more details, see Adobe-supported identity types.

Yes. Students can have one of the supported ID types. K-12 users must sign in with Enterprise or Federated IDs. For information on the Adobe supported identity types, see this document.

Students can sign in and out of unlimited lab machines. The Shared Device Licensing machines do not have an activation limit. However, if an account is used to sign in to multiple machines at the same time, a security mechanism triggers, asking to set up multi-factor authentication. So, it is important that all users have their own account and one account is not shared with multiple users.

Shared Device Licensing only works on lab machines, so users cannot use shared device licenses outside the institution's lab. Users can use their Adobe IDs or Federated IDs for their home devices and lab devices.

The machine must be online for the user to sign in and to use Creative Cloud services. Users only have to sign in once per session. They will get a warning message after 11 hours of usage, but can continue to stay offline for another hour. This means that users can remain offline for a total of 12 hours in a single session.

No, it is not possible. Email addresses do not activate a machine. A device is registered and activated at the time of the Shared Device Licensing package installation.

You can use the same account on multiple devices. However, if an account is used to sign in to multiple machines at the same time, a security alert triggers for that account, asking to set up multi-factor authentication.

They can either create their own free Adobe IDs from the sign-in page. Or, the school can assign them a free Creative Cloud Shared Device Access entitlement from the Admin Console. On assigning the product, the students receive a welcome email, and they can sign in to Creative Cloud.

Currently, Adobe's SSO setup doesn't support passthrough authentication. Even if you have set up Federated identity, students have to sign in to the machine and then re-enter their credentials when signing in to Creative Cloud.

Yes. You can set access policies to allow only Federated ID sign in. Read more about access policies here.

Your IT department determines if the users are allowed to do so on the lab machines, by setting the appropriate user access policy.

If the user access policy is set to Open Access, the users can use any Adobe ID to sign in. If they have more than one account, each account's storage is unique.

Just one sign-in to Creative Cloud unlocks access to all applications.

The user is required to shutdown the machine, or logout from the machine's OS.

For Federated IDs, access to mobile apps on shared devices is limited to Adobe Express Premium applications, only if the user has been provided a Adobe Express premium entitlement. If they are given a complete Creative Cloud license through the console, they will have access to all Creative Cloud Mobile Apps.


No. Access to Apps on the user's home device depends on the user's entitlement. For example, if users have the Adobe free entitlement, they only have access to the trial versions of Adobe applications. If users use the same account on a device with Shared Device Licensing, they have access to all the applications. Shared Device Licensing unlocks access to all applications.

Shared Device Licensing can only be installed on a device used by multiple users and is not intended for single user access.

In Shared Device Licensing v1.5, Dynamic IP machines can be set to By LAN IP address range or By installed package under Associated Machines in the Shared Device Licensing profile. For details, see Manage permissions.

Shared Device Licensing is not intended to be used on a single owner/user device. It can be used on any institutionally owned machine accessed by multiple users.

Creative Cloud Shared Device Access is used when your users are using Enterprise or Federated IDs. This gives those users 2 GB of storage.

Any entitlement assigned to a user can be used on any device to access Creative Cloud apps or services. Access to the apps and services depends on the entitlement. For example, Adobe free ID allows only for 2 GB of storage and trial access to our apps at home. On a Shared Device Licensing device, users would have 2 GB of storage but access to all the apps installed on the device.

Yes! To assign the Creative Cloud Shared Device Access entitlement, students must be added to the Admin console.

Shared Device Licensing works with either a free Adobe ID (which the students can create) or a Federated ID (which supports directory automation). Any student with a free Adobe ID can immediately access a Shared Device Licensing machine if you have an Open Access policy.

In an open-access lab, you don't have to add the users to the console for basic lab access. Federated ID users need at least a Creative Cloud Shared Device Access entitlement from the Admin Console before accessing the Shared Device Licensing machines.

Shared devices are currently enabled with serial numbers. Unfortunately, that means students do not have access to many of our latest apps, and Creative Cloud services such as Fonts, collaboration and mobile access. Migrate these licenses to shared devices licenses and then deploy the new shared device licenses on these devices. For details, see this document.

Yes, shared device license packages only work within specific IP ranges within the institution. They are not available for home use. At home, students and staff must use a Named User license.

The Egress IP notation only supports single IPs or dash-separated IP ranges. It does not support CIDR notation.

If you are using Dynamic IP addressing, while managing permissions, you can choose by installed package under Associated Machines, to allow for LAN IP ranges.

Shared device license packages are designed to prevent app updates by end users. It can be controlled when creating a package in the Admin console. There is an option to allow a non-admin to update and install apps.

All Cloud services such as font access and in-app libraries are disabled. However, users can access the web versions such as to manually access, upload, and download cloud files.

To associate an Active Directory organizational unit to a Product Profile, it has to be a leaf directory. This implies that it has to be the bottom-most directory, with no other directories below it.

Yes, assignment By Microsoft Active Directory organizational units supports AD-joined MACs.


If your students and educators use shared device licenses, they won't be able to access the Firefly features, as shared device licenses don't include services - only desktop apps. You must assign a named user license or an Adobe Express license to provide them with Adobe Firefly generative AI features.

If your institution has renewed or updated the Adobe plan, you will need to re-deploy the licenses to the machines. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Create a Shared Device Licensing package.

    • If you are deploying this package to machine in which Adobe apps are already previously installed, you are not required to re-deploy the apps. Which means that, when creating the package, you are not required to include apps.
    • If, however, you are deploying the package to machine where Adobe apps are not previously installed, you will need to include the required apps, when creating the package.

    Learn how to create Shared Device Licensing packages.

  2. Deploy the package to the machines.

    Learn more.

To recover a license from an inoperable machine, you'll need to reset the licenses of all machines of that product profile.

However, to recover the license from machine to which you have access, you can deactivate the license on that machine itself.

Staff and faculty can use Named User Licensing.

No. Only lab machines are available for shared device license deployment. All other home and BYOD devices require a Named User License assignment. See this document for the Adobe-supported licensing methods.

Share Device Licensing does not require you to assign licenses to students. When a shared device license package is installed on a lab machine, it is automatically registered and activated.
Students only need an Adobe ID, not a Share Device Licensing entitlement. See this article on how to create an Adobe ID.

The terms of your licensing agreement with Adobe remain the same. So, if you have full coverage of your lab devices, that continues with shared device licenses.

The number of device licenses in your contract are determined during the contract process. It depends on the contract of your institution with Adobe.

If you have been able to use serialized deployment for your lab machines, then those same lab machines can use shared device licenses.

Once deployed, the shared device license is tied to a machine. If the machine is re-imaged, re-deploy a shared device license package to that machine.

No, you can deactivate and relicense it with the licensing toolkit.

When you run the device license to shared device license migration workflow, all your device licenses are migrated to shared device licenses. For teams subscriptions, after you create and deploy the shared device license packages on the devices in your labs, the legacy device licenses stop working in 30 days after migration.

You can use either of the methods. If you are working from a cloned image, use the licensing toolkit to re-register the clone.

Shared Device Licensing v1.0 must be updated to the latest environment (currently Shared Device Licensing v1.5) to provide new features, such as independent access policies and association by Package affiliation.

To redeploy the latest environment, apply a shared device license only package to the machines with the older environment. You do not need to reinstall the applications.

Yes, there is no difference between the Shared Device Licensing and Named User Licensing versions of applications. So, deploying a Shared Device Licensing package and then using Named User Licensing install techniques for applications works. Installing some CC 2019 applications in the Shared Device Licensing package and others using Named User Licensing also works.

Look for the OperatingConfigs folder on your machine, it exists only for Shared Device Licensing installs.

Windows: C:\ProgramData\Adobe\OperatingConfigs 

MacOS: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/OperatingConfigs

The Adobe License Decoder is a command-line tool that tells you about all the shared device licenses on a computer. This tool examines globally-installed license files and provides the following information:

  • The apps associated with each license file
  • The packages the apps have been installed from
  • When the apps were installed and their corresponding license expiry dates.

Use the Github repository to download the tool and for detailed documentation.

Other questions

Beginning in September 2023, the Creative Cloud Shared Device Access entitlement will no longer include access to Adobe Express for higher education institutions.

Lightroom (CC) was originally included in error in the device packager and we were made aware of its inclusion through an increase in calls from customers with confusion. Lightroom (CC) requires cloud services that are not available in SDL and was therefore never supported in lab environments.

Beginning in December 2022, we began removing Lightroom (CC) from Shared Device License (SDL) and admins will now see this error fixed in the packager workflow. Users have been able to and will continue to be able to use Lightroom Classic.

No, the stand-alone Creative Cloud Packager does not work for shared device license packages. You must use the web-based Creative Cloud Packager located in the Admin Console. Read this document for the details on how to create shared device license packages.

No, Shared Device Licensing only grants the ability to launch desktop applications. It does not provide a user’s Adobe account with licensing for cloud-based services. 

Some services are available for free with an Adobe ID account. However, some require a product purchase. The same Creative Cloud services, which your user account is already entitled to, can be used with the installed shared device license.

For Enterprise IDs and Federated IDs, the Admin Console will soon have a basic font and Creative Cloud service access, similar to the free services entitlement through the Adobe Express for Higher Ed Product.

See this document for what you get free with your Creative Cloud membership.

No. Shared device license packages cannot be installed on virtual machines.

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