Whenever you use the Internet, your browser uses small applications called plug-insto display certain types of content. For example, the Adobe Flash Player plug-in is often used to play videos, games, and other interactive content. And while Flash Player is one of the most commonly used plug-ins, it has also become less popular in recent years.
There are a few reasons for this decline in popularity. Because Flash Player is a relatively old plug-in, it has become increasingly vulnerable to online threats like viruses and hackers. Some web browsers have even started disabling Flash Player content by default for security reasons.
Also, because Flash Player was designed for desktop computers, it’s not very good at displaying content on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Some mobile browsers, including Safari for iOS, can’t even use Flash Player.
Should I stop using it?
In our opinion, you don’t need to completely stop using Flash Player. While it’s likely to become even less common in the future, many websites still require Flash Player to display certain types of content. However, because older versions are vulnerable to online threats, you’ll want to make sure you’re always using the most recent version.
Keeping Flash Player up to date
If you’re not running the most recent version of Flash Player, you might see an error message instead of your content.
However, we don’t recommend updating the plug-in directly from a warning message like this. Some misleading advertisements are cleverly disguised as warning messages, but they won’t actually take you to an update page. That’s why it’s best to download the update directly from the Adobe website.
It’s also worth pointing out that the Google Chrome web browser will update all of your plug-ins automatically, including Flash Player. If you’re using a browser like Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, you’ll probably need to update your plug-ins manually.
How to update Adobe Flash player:
- Navigate to https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ in your web browser.
- Locate and select the Download or Install button. Flash Player may also try to install additional software, so be sure to deselect any offers like this before downloading. In the image below, we’ve deselected the McAfee Security Scan Plus option.
- Locate and double-click the installation file (it will usually be in your Downloads folder). Note that you’ll need to close your web browser before you can install the plug-in.
- Follow the instructions that appear. Flash Player will be updated to the most recent version.
- In many cases, your browser will open automatically to a new page to confirm the installation. This means the plug-in is ready to use whenever you need it.
Disabling Flash Player in your web browser
Flash Player can also have a significant impact on loading time for many websites. If you want to speed up your web browsing experience—or if you’re especially concerned about online security—most browsers give you the option to disable all Flash Player content by default. The exact process will vary based on your web browser, but you’ll usually find this option under your browser’s plug-in or extension settings.