It sounds like we could soon see the end of Flash, as Microsoft, Google and other big-name tech firms have revealed plans to phase it out. They want to eliminate Flash because of the many bugs and security holes it leaves their users open to, but they’re not the only ones wanting to get rid of it. The company that operates the Flash media player also wants to pull the plug on it.
Adobe Systems decides to eliminate Flash
Adobe Systems has supported Flash for the last two decades, and it’s had a brilliant run supporting animations and videos up to Internet users. The company announced its plans to eliminate Flash on Tuesday, and it seems that Microsoft, Google and other major tech firms support its decision. Many companies issued their own statements on the end of Flash.
For example, Alphabet’s Google said in a blog post that the media player software has been declining in popularity in recent years, with fewer and fewer websites using it. Google pointed out that 80% of Chrome users went to websites that used Flash on their PCs only three years ago. This percent has greatly dropped, however, as just 17% of Chrome users visit websites that use Flash. So fewer website administrators are incorporating Flash into their websites, and Google claims that this percentage is still falling.
Apple said in its blog post that it has never actually supported Flash on iOS devices, although its Mac computers did support the media player software. However, the iPhone maker said it started phasing out Flash seven years ago when it stopped preinstalling the software on its Macs.
Differing timelines for the end of Flash
Apple, Microsoft, Firefox operator Mozilla and Facebook also weighed in on the plan to eliminate Flash. Each of these firms has put a plan in place for pulling Flash from their products, and it should be noted that this will not be a sudden change, as the elimination of the media player will be completed in phases.
Google will not eliminate Flash immediately. It will take some time to complete the process, and the company won’t remove the media player entirely from Chrome until “toward the end of 2020. Before that time, Chrome users will simply be asked whether they want to give permission for Flash to run when they visit websites that use the media player. The other tech firms are following a similar process; for example, Mac users are already asked if Safari has permission to run Flash when they visit a website that uses the media player.
Microsoft’s plan to eliminate Flash
Microsoft gave the most thorough timeline to eliminate Flash from its browsers. Like Google and Apple, users of its Edge browser will need to give permission to run Flash on websites that use it, but through next year, users will only be required to give permission once and Edge will remember their choice after that. Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer won’t even be asked about it, but the company would like to phase this browser out anyway in favor of its newer Edge browser.
Starting in the middle of next year, Edge users will have to give permission for Flash to run every time they visit a website that uses it. By mid-2019, Microsoft will flip the switch on Flash to “off,” although users will be able to manually turn it back on, but even then, they will have to give permission to Flash for every site they visit. The company will eliminate Flash entirely by the end of 2020, when it won’t even run in Edge or IE.