Apple Likely to Drop Adobe Flash Support in Next Version of Safari

As noted in our coverage yesterday of the latest Safari Technology Preview 99, Apple has removed all support for Adobe Flash. Safari Technology Preview is basically a beta of the next version of Safari proper, all but confirming that Apple is officially ditching support for Flash in the next version of its native Mac browser.


This means that when the next version of Safari is released, users will no longer be able to install or use Adobe Flash in the browser. The elimination of Flash support should not heavily impact users, given that most other popular browsers have already moved away from the format. Likewise, iPhone and iPad users won't be affected because Apple's mobile operating system has never supported Flash.

It was way back in July 2017 that Adobe announced plans to end-of-life its Flash browser plug-in. Adobe said it was ceasing development and distribution of the software at the end of 2020, and encouraged content creators to migrate flash content to HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly formats.

Adobe's Flash Player has always suffered from a seemingly never-ending stream of critical vulnerabilities that have exposed Mac and PC users to malware and other security risks. Vendors like Microsoft and Apple have had to work continually over the years to keep up with security fixes. Apple went so far as to stop selling Macs with Flash pre-installed, to ensure they weren't being shipped with outdated versions of the software and putting users at risk.

Some readers may fondly recall Steve Jobs' famous 2010 open letter offering his "Thoughts on Flash," in which the former Apple CEO railed against Adobe's software for its poor reliability, lack of openness, incompatibility with mobile sites and battery drain on mobile devices. Jobs also criticized Adobe for being "painfully slow" to adopt enhancements to Apple's platforms, and said that Apple refused to be at the mercy of a cross-platform development tool when it came innovation.

We don't know when the next version of Safari browser for Mac will be released to the public. In any case, it's safe to say that Flash will not be missed.

Top Rated Comments

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4 weeks ago
I thought they already did, but good riddance.
Rating: 50 Votes
4 weeks ago
I don’t remember the last time I even used Flash. Thanks to the late Steve Jobs for eliminating the worthless crap ware.
Rating: 40 Votes
4 weeks ago
2011 circa
"Flash is Dead" Steve Jobs.

2020
Apple Likely to Drop Adobe Flash Support in Next Version of Safari.
Rating: 32 Votes
4 weeks ago
Bury the mf.
Rating: 20 Votes
4 weeks ago
I remember uninstalling Flash on my G5 tower and never looking back.
Rating: 16 Votes
4 weeks ago


What do most Apple users use instead?


Flash is barely used nowadays, having been replaced by HTML5. If Apple users still need it for any reason, they can install Firefox or Chrome.
Rating: 13 Votes
4 weeks ago
Ironic how Adobe's initial reaction to Thoughts on Flash ('https://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/') was "shock, denial, and anger." Adobe should praise SJ for outlining their future roadmap and business model, which they have now fully embraced.

I think we can officially say Adobe has reached the "Acceptance" stage.




Rating: 13 Votes
4 weeks ago


What do most Apple users use instead?


...it's not what Apple users use its what is out there on websites. Most of that has gone now as virtually no mobile devices have ever supported it (...apart from a brief period when there was a Flash plug-in for Android - between security issues and the fact that a lot of Flash code was unusable on mobile screens, it didn't last long).

Thing is, back in the 00s, Javascript was horribly browser-dependent, CSS was half-baked (and most browser implementations were quarter-baked) and video/audio was... well, anybody here remember RealVideo? Flash was the [S]best[/S] least worst solution for online video and rich internet content/interactivity, or even if you wanted a really professional-looking online document. The Flash authoring tools made it easy to create vector animation that would have been a lot of work in Java, let alone Javascript (assuming you could find a browser that actually supported SVG).

In that era I bought a "CSS Cookbook" from the normally reputable O'Reilly - even that recommended Flash as the only way of getting certain headline text effects short of resorting to bitmaps...

HTML5, CSS and Javascript have come a long way since then - and today's browser incompatibilities are nothing, nothing compared to the mess in the past (esp. now Internet Explorer is confined to a few corporate ghettos). There's no excuse for anything created from scratch in the last 5-10 years and/or is still a going concern to need Flash - but there's a lot of old stuff that will now be lost to posterity.


"Flash is Dead" Steve Jobs.


Let's translate that from "he would say that, wouldn't he" to reality:

The early iPhone and iPad didn't have the grunt to run Flash, plus a lot of "legacy" Flash apps/websites were unusable on a mobile screen: either the controls were too small and fiddly or sometimes because apps had implemented their own code for things like drag/drop in a way that simply didn't work on a touchscreen...

When Flash briefly appeared on Android, I had a bunch of sites that used Flash for educational applets etc. so I went into Best Buy* and tried them out on some Android devices - flat bust: some of them sort-of ran but would need a major UI re-think to be usable on a touchscreen. Android lost Flash support after a year or so and I suspect that was largely because it just didn't solve the problem of running Flash on mobile.

(* Best Buy appeared briefly in the UK around then - and lasted about as long as Flash for Android, but I don't think the two are connected...)
Rating: 9 Votes
4 weeks ago
But how will all the lazy web developers keep up? \s
Rating: 8 Votes
4 weeks ago


Thanks a lot for that clarification; that makes sense.

Chrome is greedy, I understand, but Firefox had been recommended to me in the past.


Chrome is fine, and certainly as pointed out above there are other options that aren't Safari __or__ Chrome, but here's a better way to determine if this is even a concern:

In Safari, go to Preferences >> Websites, and in the left column you'll see two sections, General and Plug-ins, under the latter, look for Adobe Flash Player, uncheck it - in the main panel you should see "Adobe Flash Player" is Off.

Now surf away! See if during your normal usage, anything is an issue, i.e., missing content, broken navigation, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria, etc. If not, stick with Safari, and enjoy your new security improved web experience :D
Rating: 6 Votes

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