Relax: Photoshop CS3 works on Snow Leopard

A firestorm erupted when Photoshop CS3 users thought their software wouldn't work on Apple's new Mac OS X. But it will.

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Stephen Shankland
3 min read

An Adobe Systems executive is trying to calm Photoshop users who were alarmed to hear an earlier but still widely used version of Photoshop isn't supported on Snow Leopard, the new Apple operating system arriving Friday.

Photoshop Principal Product Manager John Nack on Tuesday published Adobe's FAQ about its Creative Suite support for Snow Leopard, aka Mac OS X 10.6, that said the current CS4 version from October 2008 is the only one that's supported. The comments quickly took on panicky and angry tones among people who thought their older CS3 version of the software wouldn't work on the new operating system, so Nack followed up on Wednesday with a new post to clarify that CS3 would work, albeit with some caveats.

"To the best of our knowledge, PS CS3 works fine on Snow Leopard," Nack said. "We have reason to expect that all meaningful issues of running Photoshop CS3 under Snow Leopard have been resolved. However, because we have not done the level of testing that true certification demands, we need to stand by our statement that we don't officially support CS3 on Snow Leopard."

This is the statement in the FAQ that got people riled up:

Q. Will older versions of Adobe creative software--such as Adobe Creative Suite 3 or Macromedia® Studio 8 Software--support Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6)?

A. Older versions of Adobe creative software were not included in our testing efforts. While older Adobe and Macromedia applications may install and run on Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6), they were designed, tested, and released to the public several years before this new operating system became available. You may therefore experience a variety of installation, stability, and reliability issues for which there is no resolution. Older versions of our creative software will not be updated to support Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6).

Wrote one commenter, "I understand that you don't want to waste resources, but I plan on upgrading to Snow Leopard, but cannot afford a new version of CS. At this point, I will not be out growing this version for some time. PLEASE don't leave thousands of us weekend warriors behind with version after version. True, the new tools are cool for the power users, but average folk just can't keep up on price!!! HELP - please support CS3 for a little while longer!!!"

And another: "The lack of CS3 testing is very disturbing. It was one thing for Adobe not to release CS4 in 64 bit for the Mac. I understand that recompiling the program in a different language is a major undertaking. OK, I can wait for CS5. But now, in what can only be interpreted as an attempt to force an upgrade to a program that doesn't even take advantage of the 64-bit programming in Snow Leopard, Adobe will not even test CS3 for Snow Leopard compatibility."

Nack denied that particular idea.

"This isn't some kind of ploy to force people to upgrade; rather, it's a recognition that resources are not infinite, and we need to focus our efforts on current and future technology," he said.

The upgrade from to Photoshop CS4 costs about $190; various Creative Suite collections that include other Adobe software packages such as Flash Professional, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver cost more.