Flash is quite possibly the buggiest browser plugin ever with Java being a close second. Ever try to use it on a Mac? That is a laugh. It crashes constantly. On a PC it is incredibly slow and inconsistent at best. It surpasses Microsoft Windows with it’s need for constant security updates. Flash doesn’t work on most mobile devices even where allowed or supported.
Do you use a laptop, tablet, or smart phone with Flash? Kiss your battery life good-bye. All the battery saving measures and charging in the world wont help you if you continue to use flash on your mobile device.
Don’t even get me going on Flash cookies. Most people don’t even know about them. They are hard to delete, they circumvent third party cookie controls, they leak information to other browsers, and they don’t expire like regular cookies.
Exploit kits that take advantage of vulnerabilities in your browser to push malware use Flash. Zero-day vulnerabilities are found on Flash by hackers before Adobe finds them far too often to trust security updates. When a security issue presents itself more often than new features or updates you have to wonder.
Flash is old closed standards technology that isn’t useful or reliable with modern devices. Better standards like HTML 5 are already replacing Flash on mobile devices. Building the web on open standards promotes security and development in ways a closed standard never could.
I know why some people develop web-sites using Flash. Flash sites can look excellent on a desktop computer. It is very short sighted though and only serves to restrict the potential audience. Many users are accessing the Internet through mobile devices. Flash doesn’t play well with mobile devices if at all. In the few instances that Flash works on a mobile device it lock-ups and crashes far too frequently to be usable.
The goal of starting a web-site is to get users isn’t it? Flash can’t be indexed properly. SEO is another reason to ditch Flash. Web crawlers and search engines can actually see HTML 5 content. Flash, is a completely closed item. When interactive Flash content is crawled just a flash item with no extra information is found. With HTML5 interactive content has multiple interconnected pieces that can be crawled and understood.
Another reason not to use Flash in your web-site is that Flash is slow. Why would somebody wait for your content to load when they can find something more interesting far quicker elsewhere? My wife will frequently play Facebook games that have standalone non Flash versions on her phone because the load time on her PC to play the Flash version is just painful. It is crazy that something that was around and running on PCs with a fraction of the capabilities of what we have currently has become so bloated. Current versions of Flash are much slower than previous versions despite the advances made by modern hardware.
Facebook security chief Alex Stamos called for a termination date for Flash. That’s right, this is despite all the Flash games people play through Facebook. Monday night Mozilla disabled the plug-in by default in its Firefox browser. YouTube has defaulted to HTML 5 rather than Flash since the beginning of this year and the performance is much better. Steve Jobs wrote a famous open letter in April, 2010, explaining why Flash was not welcome on Apple’s mobile products. He cited concerns with security, closed standards (oddly enough for Apple), and the impact on battery life. Smart phones have enough going on to drain battery life without Flash adding to the problem.
Unless you absolutely need Flash for work or a corporate environment I strongly suggest just ditching it all together. If you use it for games try looking for non Flash alternatives. Many Flash games have non Flash versions that run on mobile devices. I think uninstalling Flash completely is the best option but some of you may not feel comfortable with completely removing it yet. The next best thing would be to disable it in your browser. This will give you a feel for which sites you visit that are still requiring Flash. It will also give you a way to go back easily should you choose to.
Disable Flash in Chrome:
- Type chrome:plugins in the address bar to open the Plug-ins page.
- On the Plug-ins page that appears, find the “Flash” listing.
- To disable Adobe Flash Player completely, click the Disable link under its name.
- If you have two listings you have both the Adobe Flash Player plugin installed separately and the one shipped with chrome. Disable them both.
Disable Flash in Firefox:
- Go to the menu button in the upper right-hand corner.
- In the Add-ons Manager tab, select Plugins.
- Go to Shockwave Flash and select Never Activate
Disable Flash in IE:
- Select the gear button in the upper right-hand corner.
- Click Internet options.
- Click Programs.
- Click Manage add-ons.
- Click Shockwave Flash Client.
- In the lower right hand corner, click Disable.