Can I upgrade from Cubase pro 8.5 to 12?

I have Cubase Pro 8.5. Can I upgrade to Cubase pro 12 directly ?

Hi @tfo819,

welcome to the forum!

Yes, you can upgrade from Cubase Pro 8.5 to Cubase Pro 12.
Only with Steinberg’s recent change towards the new licensing method a few things might look a bit more complicated:

Are you on a Mac or on Windows?

  • Windows: 64-bit Win 10 v. 21H2 (or higher) orWin 11 v. 21H2 (or higher)
  • Mac: Big Sur, Monterey

The only thing that you need to consider - apart from paying for the upgrade and making sure that your computer is up-to-date - is that beginning with Ciubase 12 (all versions) Steinberg’s new licensing system is being used. The Cubase Pro 8.5 license which you have on your eLicenser USB Dongle will be marked as “used” for further upgrades, and your current license will be ID based (see your Steinberg web account).

Your eLicenser USB dongle and its Cubase Pro 8.5 license need to be registered and visible in your Steinberg account. Your newly acquired Cubase Pro 12 license (upgrade) will be visible within the new Licensing section of your Steinberg account. After the purchase you’d get a Download Access Code (25 digits) which you’d have to use within your Steinberg account in order to generate a “finalizing” activation code (32 digits), which needs to be written onto your eLicenser dongle’s Cubase Pro license (in eLicenser Control Center), and that dongle license has to be kept (never sold!) as long as you use the upgraded license for Cubase Pro 12 (things would only be different if you bought a full version license for Cubase Pro 12) .

Tools you need to install:

  • Steinberg eLicenser Control Center (ideally the actual version, “eLCC”)

  • Steinberg Download Assistant (“SDA”)

Steinberg Download Assistant | Steinberg

  • Steinberg Activation Manager (“SAM”) <------ new licensing system

Steinberg Activation Manager | Steinberg

  • Steinberg Library Manager (“SLM”)

Steinberg Library Manager | Steinberg


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Go here. Click the red “BUY CUBASE 12” button. Click “BUY CUBASE 12”. Click “Updates & Upgrades”.

Edit: Markus beat me to it! (And with a lot more useful information. Thanks Markus!)

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hi @mlindeb,

thanks, and sorry for posting practically at the same time as you intended to post.
I could see your avatar writing when I was about to send my post.


No harm done, buddy! Better one post too many than one too few.

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Thanks for your help :heart:

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I have a similar question :slight_smile:

Im about to upgrade from Cubase pro 8 to Cubase pro 12. My question is…
I use a USB dongle for the Cubase pro 8 license. I would really like to move to the new licensing system so i could use the Cubase pro 12 on multiple computers without the need to always carry my USB dongle around. I cant seem to find an answer if, with buying through the upgrade system, i would also move to the new licensing system.

Thanks for the help

Hi @zmazek.ziga,

at first: welcome to the forum!

If you decide to purchase an upgrade license for Cubase Pro 8 → Cubase Pro 12, then the resulting license will be in the new Steinberg Licensing system - whereas the “old” eLicenser license on your USB dongle will need to be “finalized” to its non-upgradeable state (which means that it can still be used for any Cubase version from version 8 on downwards, but from then on it would be of “legacy” status).

In addition, please also note the following: Steinberg’s Terms of Service determine that after upgrading from an eLicenser license to Cubase 12 (or higher), an USB dongle with the finalized license needs to be kept (and can’t be sold seperately), since in this case “only” a considerably less expensive upgrade license for Cubase Pro 12 had been acquired, and not a full version retail license (where the license would technically also be within the new Steinberg Licensing system right away, for example if someone bought their user license for Cubase Pro 12 as a new customer).

Perhaps this support article by Steinberg might be helpful too:

Best wishes,

Thanks so much for a quick answer :slight_smile: This is just what i needed


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