If you have had difficulties getting Adobe Flash to work on your computer lately, that’s actually a good thing! New security problems targeted specifically at Flash installations are constantly emerging. Adobe issues frequent security updates, but new problems continue to arise almost daily, with no apparent end in sight.
All the most popular Internet browsers now routinely block Flash. Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge are now on the “Flash must die!” bandwagon started by Steve Jobs 10 years ago when Apple refused to support Flash on the newly introduced iPhone in 2007.
Flash has been widely used since 1998; usage persists because it works within all current operating systems. It can stream audio and video and can capture input from keyboards, mice, microphones and cameras. It had little competition when it was released and was rapidly incorporated into countless websites, games, videos and educational software. Unfortunately, Flash also enabled incredibly annoying animated advertisements everywhere. Flash blocker soon became one of the first popular browser add-ons and inspired multiple imitators.
Flash has largely been supplanted by HTML5 which is faster, more efficient, and much safer. In 2010, about 30% of the 1.2 billion websites sharing the Internet utilized Flash. Currently, less than 10% of all websites still use flash. Some of the largest websites notably lag behind the majority; the amount of work involved can be seriously inhibiting. For example, YouTube, which initially used Flash as the standard way to play its videos, now uses HTML5 as the default web video player for all 5 billion available videos.
Last year, Adobe announced that “we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 … we remain committed to supporting Flash through 2020, as customers and partners put their migration plans into place.”
If you find yourself blocked from using Flash and still really, really must see the hilarious cat video that your best friend recommended, most internet browsers will still let you override their best judgement – but it will take a bit of work on your part. Each operating system and internet browser has a different way of handling this process, and the methods change frequently. If you still are determined to press the issue, Adobe maintains a Flash Player Help page at helpx.adobe.com/flash-player.html.