Flash is an outdated technology that is being phased out. According to Adobe’s blog, it will continue to support it until the end of 2020, but now it has officially reached the end of its planned life. That’s good news, as it means sites stop using it – most have already.
If you’re still having issues with websites that insist on still using Flash, the first thing to do is to check that you’re running the latest version of Chrome, Google’s web browser. We explain how to do this below.
Google now disables Flash in Chrome by default and will ask you to enable it only when you visit a website that doesn’t have an HTML5 alternative to Flash.
Not only is Flash notorious for its security holes, but nowadays it’s used mostly behind the scenes for things like analytics just to slow down your experience and drain your battery.
According to Google, “HTML5 is much lighter and faster, and publishers are turning to it to speed up page loading and save you more battery life. You’ll see improvements in responsiveness and efficiency for many sites. “
Flash was never supported by iOS and was removed from Android a few years ago. Websites are encouraged to use HTML5 over Flash.
In essence, Flash is not your friend. If you can find an alternative site that doesn’t use Flash to play videos or to display some other content, go for it.
Need to open Flash video files? Here’s how to view a .swf file in Internet Explorer.
Prevent Shockwave Flash from crashing in Google Chrome
If there’s no workaround and you really have to enable Flash and use it on a website, here’s what you can do to try and fix it.
Google Chrome, unlike other browsers, has its own version of Adobe Flash Player built in. When you update Chrome, it also updates the Flash version.
Previously, the solution was to disable any additional Flash plugins, but the latest version of Chrome won’t show any Flash extensions. According to Adobe, there is a known bug in older versions of Chrome that “significantly affects Flash performance”. This has been fixed – as far as Adobe is concerned.
This means that, if you are still experiencing poor Flash performance or faulty plugins, you should check that you are indeed running the latest version of Chrome. If an update is available, you should install it. To check, click the three horizontal bars near the top right corner and click Help > About Google Chrome.
A new tab will open and Chrome will check for updates and start downloading one if relevant. Once done, you will see the Relaunch Chrome button, you need to click it to complete the update.
Turn off all extensions
Type about:extensions in the address bar and you will see a list of all installed plugins. Disable all of them and see if the problem goes away. Sometimes it’s a seemingly unrelated extension that causes Flash to crash.
If you are still having problems after that, the most likely cause is an outdated driver so first check if you have the latest graphics card driver installed. It can also be caused by what Adobe calls “inefficient content”, so poor performance or the problem could be caused by the flash content itself. If that’s the case, there’s nothing you can do to fix it – it’s the content provider.
Try another browser
If none of these work, an obvious solution is to try viewing the site in a different web browser. These are the best web browsers to try.
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