Autodesk currently offers four Fusion 360 licenses: Personal Use, Education, Startup, and Commerical. Most hobbyist users are using the free ‘Personal Use’ license type.
I’ve seen an uptick in misinformation with the recent changes to the Personal Use license. Comments on YouTube and around the web have misled many into thinking the Personal Use license is only free for one year. Fortunately, you can continue to extend your free access after your 1-year term expires. The renewal process is not as intuitive as it should be, so I’ve created a video tutorial as well as outlined each required step below.
Fusion 360’s free Personal Use license expires 1-year from the date you sign up. For example, if you sign up on August 10th, 2020, then your access will expire on August 10th, 2021. You’ll be notified 10-days prior to your license expiring, regardless of which license type you’re on.
Autodesk does not currently limit the number of times you can renew the free hobbyist license – and they’ve clarified that they have no intention of getting rid of the free offering.
You will have to follow this renewal process each year unless you decide to upgrade to the fully-featured commercial license.
Tip: The Personal Use license is synonymous with the ‘free Hobbyist license.’ Autodesk technically calls it the ‘Personal Use – Non-Commercial license.’
Steps to Renew Fusion 360 Personal Use (Hobbyist) License
1. Fusion 360 Personal Use License has Expired
10-days before your 1-year term expires, you will see a countdown at the top of Fusion 360 that shows “Trial Ends in 10 Days.” Many people panic when they see this warning; however, there is no need to worry!
During those 10-days, you may receive a pop-up dialog that prompts you to purchase the Commercial version of Fusion 360. You can upgrade to the Commerical license at any time if you decide you want all the professional features. Otherwise, simply close out of the dialog and ignore the orange “Subscribe Now” button.
Before you can renew your free Fusion 360 license, you must let it fully-expire. Once the 10-days are up, you will see the warning change to “Expired Subscription – Read Only.” You cannot renew your license for free until it says “Expired Subscription.”
2. Sign In to the Autodesk Personal Use Home Page
Head to the official Autodesk Fusion 360 Personal Use home page. Click “Sign In” at the top and sign in with your existing Autodesk account.
Enter your Email and Password to sign in to your Autodesk Account.
Important: Be sure to sign in with the same email and password that you currently use for Fusion 360. You will not have access to your existing files if you create a new Autodesk account.
3. Sign Out of the Fusion 360 Application
Sign out of the Fusion 360 application before initiating the renewal process. Signing out will help decrease the potential for your account renewal to get hung up in the automated process.
In Fusion 360, simply click your profile photo (or initials) in the upper-right of the toolbar and select the “Sign Out” option.
4. Initiate the Fusion 360 Renewal Process
Head back to the official Fusion 360 Personal Use home page (where you should still be signed in). Scroll down until you see the heading titled, “Download and Install Fusion 360.”
This part of the process is where many hobbyists get confused – it’s not very intuitive! Autodesk requires you to initiate a new download of Fusion 360, even if you already have it installed on your computer.
Click the “Get Started” link, which will initiate the 1-year renewal process for your Fusion 360 Personal Use license. This is the only way to renew your hobbyist license for free!
Clicking “Get Started” will also immediately start a download of Fusion 360, based on your active operating system.
The page will automatically redirect to “Thank you for downloading Fusion 360.” You can cancel or delete the installation if you already have Fusion 360 installed. Of course, you can continue with the standard installation process for your operating system if you’d like to install it on a new computer.
5. Wait 30 Minutes, Sign into Fusion 360
Autodesk recommends waiting at least 30 minutes before you sign back into the Fusion 360 application. Waiting a minimum of 30 minutes will give sufficient time for your account to propagate in the automated system.
30-minutes later, sign in to the Fusion 360 application. The top of the program now says “Autodesk Fusion 360 (Personal – Not for Commercial Use)” and the orange “Subscribe Now” button will be gone.
You’re now all set and ready to continue using Fusion 360 for free! You will have to follow this same process exactly 1-year from the renewal date. You can continue to renew your free hobbyist license as long as you meet the qualifications outlined on the Personal Use home page.
How to Check Which Fusion 360 License You Have
You can quickly check your Fusion 360 license by going to the help icon in the toolbar, followed by the “About” option. This will open the About Fusion 360 dialog.
You will see the following at the top of the dialog:
- version number
- active license type
- operating system (Mac or Windows).
If you’re on the free hobbyist or ‘Personal Use’ license you will see ‘Personal’ under the Active Plan.
Your Active Plan will say “Subscription” if you’re on the Commercial (paid) version of Fusion 360.