Adobe CS4 and macOS 10.14 Mojave

How about using an old unsupported CS application on current macOS?

Today I had a reason to try it out. The short version is that it seems to work with Photoshop and Illustrator, but not with Indesign.


Adobe used to sell “perpetual licenses” with their Creative Suite software. Years ago they stopped doing that and changed to a subscription model with Creative Cloud. People with perpetual licenses could still use them, but support in mac OS is getting more troublesome with every upgrade. A perpetual license could be used on two computers, and there was an activation/deactivation feature.

My Case

I have a friend who use CS4 on two older Macs running unspported version of macOS. My friend now got a brand new MacMini (with macOS 10.14 Mojave) and ideally we wanted to deactivate CS4 on the old MacMini, and activate it on the new. That was obviously a gamble.

Activation Servers Down

It appears the Adobe Activation servers are down. Deactivation on the old MacMini was not possible. Thus proper Activation should also not be possible.

Trying an old workaround

There used to be an old workaround (clearly used for software piracy) described here. We tried installing CS4 on Mojave and that worked fine. We then did the hack in the article, and that worked too. It seems Photoshop and Illustrator worked correctly, but Indesign did not. Indesign ran into a perhaps well known problem about “empty toolbox”. Also, when choosing “New”, an empty dialog window opens. This can perhaps be fixed, but we did not bother.

Restoring CS4 using Time Machine gave the same result for practical purposes: Photoshop worked but Indesign appeared broken and could not even be started.

CS5, CS6

Obviously, I can’t say anything definite about CS5 and CS6. I guess the workaround does not work. And I believe after reading some forums that the activation servers are down as well.


You may be able to install and use CS4 Illustrator and Photoshop on macOS 10.14 Mojave. Rumours indicate that it will not work at all in 10.15 when 32-bit support is finally dropped from macOS.

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