Frequently asked question

Activating and Renewing an ArcGIS Developer Subscription

Last Published: December 13, 2023


The ArcGIS Developer Subscription (ADS) activation and renewal process may seem a bit daunting. Some common questions that arise are: Which account do I use when renewing? Do I have to create a new ArcGIS Online Development and Testing Organization each year? Why does my subscription have two usernames? This article provides answers to these questions, and describes the steps to activate and renew your developer subscription in just a few minutes.


Before following these steps, it is necessary to obtain an ArcGIS Developer Subscription (ADS) code in an email sent from My Esri. If you cannot locate this, contact your My Esri administrator.
  1. Sign in to My Esri using the account you'd like connected to your Developer Subscription. Under the Get Connected tab, you should see an area titled For Developer Subscribers, as shown in the image below. Enter your 12-digit Developer Code here and click Subscribe.

  1. Choose your display name for the account and a URL for your organization. Select Continue Activation.

  1. To complete the process, review the information and confirm your selections by choosing Complete Activation.

Once the activation is complete, logging in to this My Esri account now redirects to a Developer Subscription dashboard, as shown in the next image.

There is one final step in completing the activation of your ArcGIS Developer Account - connecting to an Organization to access.


It’s that time of year. Your ADS is about to expire and you’ve been sent a new code to renew it. It has been so long since you originally activated or renewed that you can’t remember the process, or the users involved in the renewal process. How do you get started? Let’s jump in.

When choosing to renew a Developer Subscription, you will receive a new ADS code that works to extend the life of the subscription. Each ADS code is a unique string beginning with 'ADS' followed by nine digits. Your renewal ADS code is used to replace the previous ADS code, thus extending the expiration date on your Developer Subscription.

Once the user has purchased an extension on the subscription and received a new ADS code, then what?

When renewing Developer Subscriptions, we should be concerned with three unique accounts:

  • Your My Esri account,
  • Your Development and Testing  ArcGIS Online Organization
  • Your Platform/Pay-As-You-Go account

Sometimes the My Esri account and the Pay-As-You-Go accounts have the same username, but sometimes they have different usernames. This is what often causes confusion, so keeping track of the usernames for each account is crucial.

This is key: The My Esri account and ADS codes are tied together, and the Development and Testing Organization account is dependent on the My Esri username. If you use a different My Esri username than before, the ADS code will generate a new Development and Testing Organization, effectively severing the tie to your original Development and Testing Organization. The two scenarios most users encounter are as follows, and shown in the next two images:

  • Three usernames, one for each type of account
  • Two usernames, one used for two of the accounts


To continue using the same ArcGIS Developer Subscription as before, make sure to use the same My Esri username that you originally linked to the previous ADS code.

What are the differences between all of these accounts?

Platform/Developer/PAY-Go AccountMy Esri AccountDev and Test/Sandbox ArcGIS Online Account
Used at

Used to access SDKs, APIs and PAYG pricing

Can be the same as the My Esri username, but not always
Used at

Used to manage and renew your Developer Subscription

Access Single Use and Enterprise User Type Licenses

Access Product Downloads
Used at

Used as the Web GIS component of the subscription

Access Named User Licenses

Consume ArcGIS Online Premium Services

Come renewal time, use your My Esri account to get started.

Confirm you’ve signed in with the correct user account.


  1. Do you see a banner at the top that says Developer Subscription?
  2. Do you see an existing ADS code at the top?
  3. Do you see a Status and Expiration Date?

My Esri accounts that have a previously registered ADS code open a Details page, as shown below:


On this page, you will see the Status and Expiration Date that indicates when the subscription renewal is needed. When it is time to renew, this is where to enter your new ADS code.

  • If you see a banner at the top that says Developer Subscription, and the page has an ADS code, and a Status indicating it is time for renewal, you can proceed with entering your new code to renew your subscription.
  • If you see a Connect to Your Organization banner at the top with a Get Connected tab, shown below, you are not signed in with the correct user account. Do not continue with the renewal process, and instead begin the Forgot username process.



  1. How do I recover my lost usernames?
    • If you do not see the above indicators that you’ve signed in with the correct user account, and you can’t remember any other past usernames, use the Forgot username option when prompted to sign in, as shown in the next image.

ArcGIS sign-in page used to recover lost usernames and passwords.

All usernames associated with that email will be sent to you. Try going through each of them, if you have multiple ones, until you see those indicators in My Esri.

If you still cannot recall which username you’ve used in the past, contact Esri Technical Support for further assistance.

  1. I’ve signed in with the correct user account and renewed the subscription, now what?
    • You’re finished! Within a few minutes, your Development and Testing ArcGIS Online organization should be renewed and ready for use.
  2. How can users of a Developer Subscription access ArcGIS Pro?
    • Named User licenses, including the Pro license, are managed via the Development and Testing Account.
  3. Can accounts be consolidated into a single account?
    • No, this is not possible.
  4. What if the person who previously received the ADS code and activated/renewed the Developer subscription has left the company and the new employee cannot access the same My Esri account?
    • Contact Esri Support or Customer Service for assistance to maintain the same Development and Testing Organization.
  5. What happens if you unlink the subscription from the My Esri account?
    • Unlinking the ADS code from your My Esri username cancels your subscriptions. To relink those subscriptions to the ADS code under a different My Esri username, contact Technical Support or Customer Service.

Article ID:000029851

  • ArcGIS Online

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