New Steinberg Licensing Frequently Asked Questions
Requiring an internet connection
Do I have to be connected to the internet to launch the application?
The first time you launch the application, an internet connection is required so that you can sign in with your Steinberg ID and the software can be activated. Once your software is activated, your computer only needs to be connected to the internet once every 30 days to renew the offline allowance for your Steinberg software products.
How often will I need to connect to the internet? Do I need to be connected all the time?
Your computer only needs to be connected to the internet in order to sign in with your Steinberg ID, to obtain the initial activation, and then to renew that activation periodically. Your initial offline allowance period is 30 days, and your computer can remain disconnected from the internet for that whole period: your software will continue its normal operation. Towards the end of the 30 day period, your software will remind you that you will need to connect to the internet to renew your offline allowance. If you do not connect to the internet before the 30 day period expires, your software will be inoperable until you reconnect your computer to the internet.
If your computer is connected to the internet when you start your software, it will attempt to renew the offline allowance in the background automatically on start-up. This renewal is performed silently. Your software will only interrupt you to inform you about your activation status if you need to take action.
So in summary: you need to be connected to the internet to obtain your initial activation, and once every 30 days to renew your offline allowance. If your computer is connected to the internet when you launch your software, it will automatically extend your offline allowance period, so that you will almost always have a full 30 day offline allowance period available. However, running your Steinberg software does not require a constant internet connection (unlike, say, iLok Cloud).
Can I use Steinberg products on systems that are not connected to the internet at all?
We know that some customers prefer to run their studio machines offline, or that for specific projects it may be required for legal or contractual reasons not to connect to the internet for the duration of the project. To meet these requirements, we will shortly be introducing a process of activating a license for a period of one year, so that the computer can remain disconnected from the internet for that entire period and the software will continue to operate as normal.
Two methods of activating a license offline will be provided, depending on whether the computer can connect to the internet for a short period of time. If you can connect the computer to the internet temporarily at the time of software activation, you will be able to check out a license directly using Steinberg Activation Manager, then disconnect your computer from the internet.
If, on the other hand, you cannot connect your computer to the internet at any time, you will be able to use Steinberg Activation Manager to generate a license request that you can save to a removable storage device (like a USB drive) and take to a computer that is connected to the internet. Using Steinberg Activation Manager on the online computer, you can exchange the license request for a offline-activated license. You then save the license file back to the removable storage device, and return to the offline computer, where you use Steinberg Activation Manager to install the license file.
In both cases, the software will then run for a period of 365 days without requiring an internet connection at any time.
We expect to introduce the ability to activate a license offline as soon as we can after the initial launch.
Use on multiple machines
How many computers can I use with a new license?
You are allowed to install our products on multiple computers, but you can only activate a product on two computers at any one time. A single-user license is intended for a single person, and it is not permitted to use the software simultaneously on two computers. If you run out of activations, you can release a license from one of your computers before activating it on a new one.
Can I buy a multi-seat license for an educational institution or business?
In the future, multi-user licenses for educational institutions and enterprise customers will be available, allowing you to choose the number of computers on which the software can be used simultaneously.
For the time being, the offering for educational and business customers will continue to vary according to the product.
If I activate my software on one platform, can I later activate on the other platform, e.g. Windows first, then Mac?
Yes. All Steinberg desktop software products are cross-platform between Windows and macOS, and you can freely activate your software on either platform.
Use by multiple accounts on a single computer
Will my license be usable by other user accounts on my computer?
For single-user licenses, only the user account on your computer which you use to sign in with your Steinberg ID will be able to use the software. Single-user licenses are intended for use by a single person, not for sharing between multiple users on the same computer.
For multiple-user licenses, which will be available later in 2022, further options will be available, including the option to assign a license to a specific computer, such that any user account on that computer will be able to use the software.
Will grace period updates be available for existing eLicenser-based products moving to Steinberg Licensing?
Free grace period updates will still be available for products using Steinberg Licensing. Further details about how to check eligibility for grace period updates will be provided in due course.
Upgrading my computer
Can I upgrade the hardware in my computer without losing my activation?
Your license is tied primarily to your identity, i.e. to your Steinberg ID account. However, we do record some information about the computer on which you activate your license so that we can count how many computers you currently have activated, and enforce the limit of two computers for a single-user license (or, in future, the specific number of computers in a multi-user license). Your privacy is protected: the information that is recorded is not personally identifiable, and no information about specific software or files on your computer is transmitted.
If you change the hardware in your computer significantly, then it may appear to the licensing system that you are running on an entirely new computer. In the event that your computer is identified as a new computer, depending on whether you have a current activation on a second computer, you may have to sign in with your Steinberg ID to deactivate the license on the "old" computer.
Do I need to take any special precautions
Provided you are updating your operating system in place, without reformatting your computer or installing a new hard disk, etc., then your software should remain activated after the OS update. However, it is not impossible for an OS update to make sufficiently large changes to your computer that it may be interpreted as a new computer when you next renew your online activation. In the event that your computer is identified as a new computer, depending on whether you have a current activation on a second computer, you may have to sign in to the licensing portal on the Steinberg web site with your Steinberg ID to release the license on the "old" computer.
Can I continue using my eLicensers?
Yes. The eLicenser system will be maintained and run for some time to come, at least until such time as all actively-maintained Steinberg products have been transitioned to the new Steinberg Licensing system. Even after the eLicenser server is eventually decommissioned, further still into the future, existing USB-eLicensers will continue to work for as long as they remain functional and you are still able to run the corresponding software versions on your computer.
However, if you want to take advantage of the new features and improvements that will be introduced in major updates to Steinberg software, when you update to a new version using Steinberg Licensing, you will not have the option of using your eLicenser for that version of that product.
What happens if I lose an old USB-eLicenser after the switch to the new system has been made?
Steinberg Zero Downtime will continue to be available for some time after the introduction of the new Steinberg Licensing system, at least until such time as all actively-maintained Steinberg products have transitioned to using the new Steinberg Licensing system. Although we are no longer manufacturing new USB-eLicensers, we expect it to be possible to buy USB-eLicensers for some time to come, either direct from the Steinberg Online Shop or from authorized resellers.
What about products from other companies that I have on my eLicenser?
Over time, other companies that currently use the eLicenser system will transition to alternative licensing systems. Please contact the vendor of your third-party software for more information about their plans.
Migrating existing licenses
Can I migrate all my licenses to the new system?
Steinberg Licensing will be used for new products and updates to existing products as they each arrive at their next major version, but until each product has been updated to use the new Steinberg Licensing system, existing licenses will continue to use the eLicenser system during the transitional period. We expect to transition all actively-maintained products to the new Steinberg Licensing system within the next two years.
After I update to Steinberg Licensing, will I still be able to run previous versions of the products I’ve bought?
Yes, provided you either have your USB-eLicenser connected to your computer, or the Soft-eLicenser containing the license for the previous version of the product is present on the computer. The new Steinberg Licensing system does not apply to versions of our products prior to the first version that uses the new system: so if you buy, say, a new license for Cubase 12 as a brand new customer, you cannot run Cubase 11 or earlier, but if you are an existing Steinberg customer who updates to Cubase 12 from Cubase 11, you can still run Cubase 11 or indeed any previous version of Cubase provided you connect your USB-eLicenser containing the license for Cubase 11.
Can I sell licenses? If so, how?
Yes, you will still be able to sell your retail licenses using the Steinberg Licensing system. We will provide details of this process in the future.
Note, however, after you have updated an existing license for a Steinberg product to a version that uses the new Steinberg Licensing system, although the license for the previous version will remain in your eLicenser, you cannot resell, transfer or update/upgrade that license.
Pricing and business model
Will I still be able to choose when to upgrade or update?
Yes, just as you have always had the option to decide whether or not to purchase an update to the new version of a product after it is released, you will still be able to choose if and when to update. After a new version is available, your license for your current version will continue to work as normal.
Does the introduction of Steinberg Licensing mean that Steinberg is introducing subscription pricing?
The introduction of Steinberg Licensing does not change anything today about the way we sell our products. However, the new system does open up many new possibilities for the way we offer our products, and we plan to explore these in future.
We know that many of our existing customers are concerned that Steinberg may switch to a subscription pricing model for our products. Please be reassured that whatever options for buying Steinberg software products may be offered in future, we have no plans to withdraw the option to buy and use our existing software products under a perpetual license, just as we always have.
What data does Steinberg collect in the course of the activation process?
Your software licenses are tied to your Steinberg ID, which uses your email address as your unique identity. Each computer on which you activate your software will transmit a unique hardware identification key to identify that computer for the purposes of allowing you to run your software on the appropriate number of computers. This hardware identification key does not include any personally-identifiable data, and does not include any information about the configuration of or specific files on your computer. The host name of your computer may be transmitted for the purposes of showing you the names of the computers on which you have activated the software on the Steinberg web site, should you need to deactivate a license from a computer other than the one you are using.
When you activate your software, the time of activation is recorded for the purposes of allowing you to run your software offline (i.e. disconnected from the internet) for the specified offline allowance period. Each time you run your software when an internet connection is available, it will attempt to renew your activation, to extend your offline allowance period. When you activate your software, or when the activation is renewed, only the time and hardware identification key is transmitted, along with a request for which specific license the software requires.
Does this new licensing system apply to Steinberg's apps for iOS and Android?
No. Steinberg Licensing is only used by our software products for WIndows and macOS. Our apps for iPad, iPhone, Android and Chromebook devices will continue to use the standard licensing terms and systems of the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.