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Apple deactivates Adobe Flash in next Mac OS update

  • Published on July 11, 2016
Apple deactivates Adobe Flash in next Mac OS update

Adobe Flash will be disabled by default in the next version of Safari which is the Mac OS default web browser. Apple has been sharing previews of its upcoming Mac OS update, Sierra, and Apple has emphasized that Adobe Flash content will not play by default. When a Mac OS user in version 10 of the Safari browser visits a site that contains Adobe Flash content, the browser will try to locate an HTML5 version of the same content and display the HTML5 version instead. If no HTML5 version of the content can be located, the user must manually enable Flash before the content will display according to Ricky Mondello, a software engineer at Apple. The Safari browser defaults to only displaying the content for one time, requiring the user to manually allow Flash content whenever it is encountered.

When a user goes to a website with video or interactive content, if the web server checks to see if Flash is installed, Safari and the Mac will respond that Flash is not available. The idea is to force the web server to send HTML5 content and avoid the need to use Flash.

HTML5 Continues to Gain Ground on Flash

Users wanting to create interactive content without Flash can use HTML5 and CSS3 to create interactive content and stream videos without the need for Flash. These topics are covered in HTML5 courses. Adobe has even recognized the need to move away from Flash, as they renamed their Flash-creation app, calling it Adobe Animate and adding capabilities for it to export to HTML5. Adobe Animate classes now emphasize HTML5 and CSS3 export instead of using Flash.

Apple leads fight against Flash, pushes HTML5

Apple led the original fight to remove Flash content from websites. To this day the iPhone and iPad do not support the playback of Flash content. Apple has argued that Flash is a significant security concern and drained batteries on mobile devices, pushing to replace Flash with HTML5 instead. This security concern remains true today, as Adobe has patched more than one dozen security vulnerabilities in Flash over the past week. These security flaws in Flash are significant, and allow a computer to be taken over by malware so that it can be remote controlled, or have all the files on a computer locked by ransom ware, or all keystrokes on a computer logged and tracked. Flaws in Flash can even allow someone to remote control a microphone and webcam on a computer.

Other Web Browsers block Flash content, support HTML5

Microsoft's Edge browser, which is the default browser found in Windows 10, stops Flash content from playing. The Chrome browser from Google also blocks Flash on most websites. Firefox also does not allow Flash to play if using an older version of Flash that is insecure. With new updates to Flash being issued almost daily, this means your Flash version likely needs to be updated within the past 24 hours for it to be current. Like Safari 10, Firefox also provides option to manually enable Flash if needed for a specific site.


About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.