Thank you for playing fair
Average reading time: 11:00 min
I assume you are reading these lines because of a message you got from your TeamViewer software.
Possibly something about a connection time out or a suspected commercial usage.
I have good news for you: You found a post that sheds some light on the topic in case you are wondering what it is all about.
This post has an average reading time of more than 10 minutes and with this, it is quite long.
The new normal
While most of us are still experiencing life in a more or less strict lock-down due to the Coronavirus Crisis, the importance of connections is becoming more apparent to many of us.
Many are talking about social distancing, but that's - as you know - not entirely accurate: It is physical distancing.
An with this, digitalization and remote connections are now part of our lives more than ever before.
- Working remotely
- Staying in contact with family, friends, and colleagues remotely
- Running our lives and businesses from the safety of your home remotely.
Doing things remotely is part of the new normal.
Today I was thinking about the meaning of this sentence:
TeamViewer empowers people to help others beyond borders and barriers.
This sentence is already a few years old, but it is still relevant today. Maybe more than ever?!
Well - first of all: I like this sentence. It is very powerful as it describes the Core of what people are doing: Independently from borders and barriers, distances, and uncertainties, people will always strive to help each other.
Whether it is your mom struggling with the new email-program, your friend getting error messages they do not understand, or your brother who needs a helping hand with his mobile device.
In all these cases, TeamViewer is there for you. TeamViewer empowers you to help others and to stay in contact no matter the physical distance or the physical distancing we have been asked to follow.
All that is free of charge for private use. We here at TeamViewer want to support you in helping others by providing TeamViewer as a great software free of charge for private usage.
How is that possible?
Yes - how can TeamViewer do this? How can TeamViewer afford to develop and maintain a stable, secure, and feature-rich software without asking for money?
Glad you asked!
TeamViewer is not free of charge for everyone. TeamViewer asks commercial users to purchase a license, and with this, we can continue providing the free version for all private users of our software.
There have been quite some discussions and questions about the question of what is private use and what is commercial use. Who needs to buy a license, and who can use the version for free?
I fully understand the questions and all of you who want to have a clear answer about what to do.
Today, I want to dive a bit deeper into that topic and explain the differences in larger detail.
Let me begin by talking about the TeamViewer Trial and after that, Commercial Use Suspected as it is essential to understand the difference before going more into detail.
Most of you know that TeamViewer asks its users during the installation of the software how they intend to use the software; for private use, or for commercial use
Update from September 17th, 2020:
In case you are installing TeamViewer on or after September 17th, 2020, you are no longer able to start a trial directly during the installation. The software will offer you during the installation to contact our Sales team to request an official trial that allows you to test TeamViewer with the full feature-set of a licensed version.
All other users can benefit from the default installation of the free version of TeamViewer.
Therefore, this chapter about "Trial expired" only applies to devices that have been downloading the TeamViewer software prior to September 17th, 2020.
If you choose commercial or both during the installation a trial phase for the commercial usage of the software starts.
What does that mean?
In this case, TeamViewer gives you as a commercial user a free-of-charge trial of the software.
Now you have time to test and check the software alone or with your team to evaluate whether-or-not to use TeamViewer in your business.
- Did you like the outcome? Did TeamViewer convince you with its performance or the ease of use - GREAT! Now, you can go ahead and purchase a license and roll out TeamViewer in your company to start supporting your customers and colleagues.
If you already have a license - make sure it is activated on your account and that you are signed in with that account to the Computers & Contacts list.
If you -on the other hand- choose private during the installation you did not start a trial version but the regular free version of TeamViewer. As no trial starts, no trial can end and you can use TeamViewer happily ever after.
The trial version expired?? No worries!
Did you enjoy your software trial? Did TeamViewer convince you? Perfect - now it is time to
Well - I also know of cases where users rushed through the installation because they simply wanted to use the program and -dang- a trial starts even though they never intended to trial TeamViewer for later business use. They accidentally choose "commercial", started a trial, and now it is expired.
For all of you experiencing exactly this, I have good news for you: No worries! We thought about these cases and created a form for you. You can request that we change the indented usage for you from commercial to private.
Please allow me to give you a pro-tip: Do not believe anyone telling you to uninstall and reinstall TeamViewer to get the trial removed. That does not work. Believe me - save yourself that time and the disappointment of the re-install burden. Just fill out the form and restart the TeamViewer service once you get an email from us or, alternatively, one or two days later if you do not hear back from us (yes - emails are not always delivered)
As a personal side note: I realized that there is a bit of confusion with the trial and I wanted to make clear, that a trial does not start because TeamViewer thinks you are using it commercially:
- A trial will only start if you tell the software that your intention is to use it commercially or both commercially and privately together during the installation.
- The other possibility is, that you installed TeamViewer on a server OS. A server OS does indeed require a license and a free usage is not possible. That means also filling out the form will not remove the trial from your device.
TeamViewer suspects commercial usage
If your TeamViewer tells you it suspects you to use the software commercially, I already know two things about you:
- You choose private as the intended usage when installing TeamViewer
- Your usage pattern indicates a commercial usage of TeamViewer
And now you know two things about TeamViewer:
- TeamViewer understands and acknowledges that your individual free private use may be irregular at times where you need to help your friends and family - still we allow us to ask you the question of whether your usage changed from private to commercial.
- TeamViewer compares your usage patterns with typical usage patterns of free private users and with typical usage patterns of business or enterprise users.
Please excuse, if the suspicion of you using TeamViewer commercially might be false - a so-called false-positive. We know that there can be cases where the usage of the software might be broader, more intense but still totally private.
And you already might guess it: For those cases, we offer you to review and to re-evaluate the usage-suspicion and to reset the limitations of your TeamViewer Device ID or TeamViewer account.
If you are able to verify an exclusively private use, we are happy to reset access to our software and services for you.
Sorry - Now it is getting a bit less chatty and more formal: And even if TeamViewer continues to suspect a commercial use after reviewing your commercial-use-suspected form (and your usage explanation), we give you the opportunity to fill out a self-declaration of free private use in accordance with the TeamViewer EULA. If we receive such a self-declaration, we will reset access to our software and services for you. However, TeamViewer does reserve the right to take further actions in case your usage pattern indicates a commercial use again at a later stage. These further actions may result in suspending or closing your TeamViewer account and/or TeamViewer IDs or suspending or limiting the connection duration.
Please understand that we always did, continue to do so, and will always protect our software against misuse. Intended and unintended. Still - Communication is key. Let´s stay in contact, let´s learn from each other, and let´s be successful together!
I think it is crucial to keep on talking about it, keep on educating everyone e.g., about what we consider private or commercial, keep on having a realistic look on what is going on, and adjust what we are doing.
Maybe a good example of such an adjustment is the current Coronavirus Crisis: Here, we are not pushy. We understand this as a special situation. A situation in which we are asked to not ask too many questions. And this is what we do.
One thing is for sure: We are thankful for everyone who is playing fair. We are thankful for everyone who is supporting us and others by buying a license for using TeamViewer for business.
I think, every now and then it makes sense for everyone to review its own usage and asking the following or similar questions: Didn´t I start using TeamViewer for my business? Didn´t I begin to connect through TeamViewer to quickly read my emails? Didn´t I benefit from TeamViewer and ease my work-life balance? Didn´t I work from home via TeamViewer?
And if you can answer one of these questions with yes: Here is the link to our webshop: https://www.teamviewer.com/en/buy-now/ ? Thank you for playing fair!
Still suspected to use TeamViewer commercially?
OK - your TeamViewer has been suspected to be used commercially, you filled out the form as you are certain, that this is not the case. You now got the confirmation for the reset of your TeamViewer ID but you are still getting the message saying you are suspected to use TeamViewer commercially?
What is going on you may ask yourself.
If you are still getting the PopUp saying you are using TeamViewer commercially, it is possible that the TeamViewer ID of the remote device (the one you are trying to connect to) might be under this suspicion. The thing is: Both sides of the connection get the PopUp about the commercial suspicion.
A TeamViewer connection always involves two devices and with this: two TeamViewer IDs.
Therefore, if you are still getting the message, even though you received a confirmation saying that your TeamViewer ID has been reset, it is most probably due to the fact that the TeamViewer ID of the remote device you are trying to connect to is suspected to be used commercially.
In this case, please repeat the process and fill out an additional form for this TeamViewer ID as well.
Shutting down the free usage? NO!
I hope this is crystal-clear by now, but still: Some people have been worrying about whether TeamViewer wants to stop offering its free service for private users.
We always tried to be very clear with our replies and take away this fear from our users by giving a clear answer:
No. The private use of TeamViewer is free.
And this is it: Nothing more to say about it. TeamViewer is free for private use.
What is considered private?
This is the one-million-dollar question. Or rather in our case, the-starting-at-10-dollar-a-month question.
Let us start here: Private usage is most likely given when you are using our software and services solely in the context of activities, in the environment and with the equipment available for you within your private and/or family life context.
I collected a few examples of private use for you for a better understanding:
✔ You are providing free computer support to a family member or friend using a private PC from home
✔ You are using TeamViewer on one of your private devices to connect to another private device; e.g. to look for a file stored locally;
✔ You are helping your family members to set up their private (mobile) devices;
✔ You are teaching a family member how to use a new program;
✔ You are using TeamViewer as a communication tool for interaction with family members or friends;
✔ You are using TeamViewer to connect to your personal gaming device (non-server operating system).
What is considered commercial?
My understanding of commercial usage:
Commercial use is any use of our software and services in the context of an activity or environment that goes beyond your private or family life.
Your private use includes your circle of friends and your family but not your customers and colleagues and also not your office, work devices, or corporate network.
Commercial use includes any activities related to your work but it is not limited to a context where there is any relation to gainful activities of any sort. That means e.g., that the usage of TeamViewer within a club that has membership fees or pays rent for its facilities is considered commercial.
Allow me to share some relevant factors that are applied by TeamViewer to identify commercial use:
- usage patterns typical for business or enterprise users, e.g., using email addresses with commercial domains for a TeamViewer account,
- connections to, from or within a corporate network,
- connections to, from or within a server operating system,
- using typical device specifications or device types indicating a business-relation.
OK - let´s put that information in a few examples:
✔ You are using TeamViewer for activities related to your work
✔ You are providing support to your customers, clients or colleagues;
✔ You are using TeamViewer in your home office or for connecting to or from your work computer;
✔ You are monitoring or connecting to one or more devices running a Windows server operating system.
✔ You are connecting from your work PC to your home PC (or wise versa) to access files stored locally.
✔ You are using TeamViewer as a communication tool within your company or for work purposes
Commercial or Private?
Ok - let´s make this a game and you can guess: Is it private or commercial usage?
- I am using TeamViewer in my home office for connections
- My father has a new tablet and needs my help in setting it up
- I want to play a video game after work at home and I am using TeamViewer from my mobile to stand in the queue
- I am connecting from my mobile to my work computer to check some emails when on the go
- I am teaching a family member how to use a new program
- My father has a new tablet and needs my help in setting it up. As I am at work I quickly connect from my work computer to his tablet.
- I am using TeamViewer for chatting and video calls with a friend
- I am teaching a colleague how to use a new program
- I am teaching a customer how to use a new program
- I am connecting from my work PC to my home PC to access files stored locally
- I am providing tech support for a living and use TeamViewer as a remote support tool
- I am sharing one device for my work (as license-owner) and my private life.
Commercial usage - I highly recommend never to use your personal devices for any work-related purposes. Mixed usage of commercial and private connections is not possible and not suported and requires a license. While your regular connections to your friends and family are not requiring a license - all connections to your work device do. Therefore I recommend not to use a personal device for work-related stuff as it will hinder you to support your family.
- I am using TeamViewer on one of my private devices to connect to my other private devices; e.g. to look for a file stored locally;
- I am connecting from my home network to my private server running a Server OS.
For more information regarding the use of TeamViewer with devices running a Server OS, please check our post here: Is using a Server OS violating the private use policy?