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 Apple went so far as to stop selling Macs with Flash pre-installed, to ensure they weren't being shipped with outdated versions of the software and putting users at risk.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.