Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Going Flash -less in 2016

Uninstalling Flash Player on Windows

Late last year, I uninstalled Adobe Flash from my Mac. I didn’t make an announcement at the time, because I didn’t want to have to then write a grovelling blog post a few weeks later saying that I’d had to re-install it.

Fortunately, I’m coping quite well without it, actually. This is probably because I technically haven’t removed it completely from my computer. Google Chrome has Flash built-in, which is updated automatically and is separate from any general installation on a computer. If I need to browse a web site that still requires it, then I just have to open it in Chrome instead of Firefox – and I have Choose Wisely installed to make switching between the two easier.

Christine was actually my main inspiration to dump Flash. She’d uninstalled it from her Windows laptop ages ago, and this hasn’t caused her any problems. If she can manage fine, then so could I.

Flash is on its way out anyway

So many sites now don’t necessarily require it for core functionality. Facebook stopped using it for its videos last month, and YouTube has supported HTML5 for years now. It also means that I can use Firefox as my locked-down, privacy-focussed browsing for general web browsing, and then Chrome is for sites that need to use cookies or Flash. I’d previously tried Firefox with all plugins set to ‘ask to activate’, but this got really annoying as I got prompted to activate Flash for every damn web advertisement that required it.

Adobe is even encouraging developers to move away from it. Adobe’s developer tools can now output web pages using HTML5 where Flash may have been required in the past, and those HTML5 pages will work on mobile devices where plugin support is next to nonexistent. It’s a far cry from 2011 when BlackBerry launched its PlayBook tablet with Flash support as one of its major selling points, only for Adobe to abandon support for it and all other Android devices. And iOS devices have never supported it, as detailed in Steve Jobs’ 2010 essay.

Go on, go on, go on

If you’re on the fence about uninstalling Flash, I’d recommend going for it:

  • You won’t have any of those annoying update messages appearing every few weeks.
  • Web pages should appear quicker because you’re not loading an external plugin.
  • You will be less vulnerable to critical security flaws.
  • You’ll see fewer annoying Flash-based ads on web pages.

So go on, join me, and make 2016 the year that you uninstall Flash from your system.

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