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Put Adobe Flash on a Leash

Last updated 2016-02-07 - Send Feedback
Related: how-to, security

UPDATE 7 Feb 2016: for a few years now, Apple has not shipped Adobe Flash with OS X or Safari. MPG strongly recommends NOT installing Adobe Flash. Instead, download Google Chrome and use it instead of Safari when Adobe Flash is absolutely needed.

Update 22 June 2016: the world is moving away from Adobe Flash to HTML5 and other technologies. As per above, avoid sites that require it, or use Google Chrome when absolutely necessary.


If your web browser crashes, it’s probably Flash.

Critical security vulnerabilities are unrelenting with Flash (and Adobe Reader).

Installing ClickToFlash for Safari avoids crashes and performance problems with the accursed Adobe Flash, but it doesn’t kill off all the security issues. All you have to do to see a Flash video is to click the button, as shown below. Until you click that button, the nasty bugger doesn’t run.

It’s also a security issue. Adobe’s own security bulletin states the following (quote below). Fortunately it’s apparently not a Mac issue, at least not yet, one more reason to never put your financial data or computing life at risk by running Microsoft Windows. Running Windows is like storing a tank of gasoline in your kitchen—it’s not an issue most every day. It’s the Really Bad Day where it’s an issue, or maybe just a bad day for others when your Windows PC becomes a 'bot' used by organized crime, without your knowledge.

There are reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild against Adobe Flash Player on Windows.

The chances that this is the last security vulnerability, even with the latest versions, is about nil.

Since a lot of very annoying ads use Flash, your web experience will also improve subjectively in both speed and fewer annoying distractions.

Ever see a CPU core chewed up by 40% or more even though nothing useful is happening? Think Flash. The web will inexorably move to HTML 5, and Steve Jobs pushed the world in the right direction when he banned Flash from the iPad. (YouTube works on the iPad because the Flash wrapper is stripped and MPEG4 videos just work without any need for extra garbage). The web will be a better place when Flash is extirpated. But count on the dimwits at the FTC to apply political pressure to force a change at Apple.

Some sites do use Flash that you might want to view, so ClickToFlash lets you choose when it loads, just by clicking that button.

Flash is off unless and until you click the button

After you download and install ClickToFlash, you can choose your preferred settings right in the Safari web browser:

Once installed, ClickToFlash has its own preferences

White-listing sites

It can be a nuisance (or even unusable) to have to keep clicking to see Flash content on sites you regularly visit. On sites you trust, you can “whitelist” the site so that it loads Flash content.

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