Roughly four years ago, Adobe decided to abandon development of the mobile version of their popular Flash Player browser plugin. Their excuse at the time was that this move would enable them to focus more on HTML5 development for mobile devices and allow them to put more effort into maintaining the fluidity and security of their desktop Flash plugin.
Fast forward to the present, and half of Adobe's agenda in 2011 has played out as they expected. HTML5 has come to replace Flash in almost every regard on mobile devices, and has even started to take over the desktop browser segment. But the other half? Not so much.
Flash for desktop browsers is still as clunky as ever, considering browsers have to reroute this type of content through Adobe's plugin rather than using their native coding to render comparable HTML5 content. But it gets even worse when you learn that Adobe had a huge security hole in Flash that allowed hackers to "to take control of the affected system." While that's been patched already, it will surely happen again in the near future.
This type of thing has become a common occurrence for Adobe Flash, and it's so bad that Null Byte's admin, occupytheweb, an IT security professional and digital forensics investigator, recommends everyone uninstall it, calling it a "hacker's best friend." In fact, he has highlighted multiple vulnerabilities in previous Flash versions that have allowed him to control a victim's system, and states that new ones are coming out every day.
When you consider that HTML5 is generally much faster and more secure, you start to realize that Flash has become obsolete. Many sites these days default to Flash when the plugin is detected, but would otherwise render the same content over HTML5—so why risk your device's security in the first place? If you're ready to take the leap, I'll show you how to uninstall Adobe Flash and push your browser into the modern HTML5 age below.
First up, you'll need to download the Adobe Flash uninstaller program. Click on the link below and the file should begin downloading immediately.
You'll have to close any programs that could be using Flash, so make sure to fully exit Firefox, Internet Explorer, and/or Microsoft Edge before you begin. Next, simply run the Adobe Flash Uninstaller file, then click "Uninstall" to remove Flash from your system.
If you have Chrome installed, be aware that it uses a secondary version of Flash that the uninstaller can't access, which you'll have to remove manually. To begin, paste the following URL into your address bar and hit Enter.
Next, click the "Disable" option directly beneath the Adobe Flash Player entry in this menu, and Flash will be completely disabled on your system.
For Mac users, there are several different versions of the Adobe Flash Uninstaller, and each corresponds to a different operating system version. So to begin, click the download link for your particular version of OS X, then double-click on it in your Downloads folder to expand it.
- Adobe Flash Player Uninstaller for OS X 10.6+ (.dmg)
- Adobe Flash Player Uninstaller for OS X 10.4-10.5 (.dmg)
- Adobe Flash Player Uninstaller for OS X 10.3 or lower (.dmg)
Next, make sure to exit Safari, Firefox, or any other browser that might use the Flash plugin. After that, simply run the Uninstaller file and click "Uninstall" to get rid of the system-wide version of Flash.
If you're using Chrome on your Mac, you'll have to disable one more option to completely rid yourself of Flash and its vulnerabilities. Copy the following link, then paste it into Chrome's address bar and hit Enter.
Just like with the Windows method outlined above, you'll only need to click the "Disable" button underneath the Adobe Flash Player option in this menu to wrap things up.
Without Flash installed, your computer should be much more secure now, and the vast majority of websites should render all videos and similar content in HTML5. Have you run into any compatibility issues since uninstalling Flash, or is the internet just a much better place now? Let us know in the comment section below.