Adobe Flash Player, the browser plug-in that brought rich animations and interactivity to the early web, has officially reached the end of its life. Released in 1996, Flash was once one of the most popular ways for people to stream videos and play games online. But it was plagued with security problems and failed to transition to the smartphone era. As from 31st December 2020, Adobe no longer offers security updates for Flash and has urged people to uninstall it. It will also stop videos and animations running in its Flash Player from 12 January 2021.
When Flash was first released, a majority of Internet users connected via dial-up connections that were very slow by today’s standards, but Flash let web designers and animators deliver exciting content that could be downloaded relatively quickly.
As the Internet has moved on, big brands such as Facebook, Netflix and YouTube are already streaming videos to smartphones without Flash and in November 2011 Adobe ended development of Flash for mobile devices. It continued to produce Flash for desktop computers, but the software suffered from multiple security flaws. In 2015, Apple disabled the plug-in in its Safari web browser by default, and Google’s Chrome started blocking some pieces of Flash content. In July 2017, Adobe announced that it would retire Flash in 2020.
It said other technologies, such as HTML5 had matured enough to provide a “viable alternative”, without requiring users to install and update a dedicated plug-in.
In its final update, Adobe said: “We want to take a moment to thank all of our customers and developers who have used and created amazing Flash Player content over the last two decades. We are proud that Flash had a crucial role in evolving web content across animation, interactivity, audio, and video.”
How can I remove Flash from my computer?
Adobe has provided instructions for removing Flash on Windows and Mac computers on its website. It is stated that uninstalling Flash Player will help to secure your system since Adobe does not intend to issue Flash Player updates or security patches after the end-of-life date.