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Safari 10 blocks Flash, defaults to HTML5

Wed 15 Jun 2016

Safari 10 Flash

Apple has dealt another blow to the already crippled Adobe Flash Player, turning off the old media plugin by default for its new Safari 10 browser.

With the launch of Apple’s Mac OS Sierra, the tech giant confirmed that Flash, and other legacy plugins, such as Java and Silverlight, will no longer be available. Safari 10 will not recognise Flash and will instruct any website to default back to HTML5 – the new open standard which now supports video and animated content previously managed by Flash.

If a website does not support HTML5, users will be faced with a familiar ‘Get Flash link’, at which point Safari 10 will step in to ask the user whether they would prefer to run Flash this ‘once’, or ‘every time’.

According to Apple, using HTML5 and other new standards over dated plugins will promote better battery life and increase overall performance. It also added that the move will provide a greater level of security, avoiding the vulnerabilities related to Java and Flash.

With such a low user base, Safari’s move to cut off Flash will hardly have a heavy impact on the market, but proposals from Google Chrome to switch off the defunct add-on by the end of 2016 could hammer the final nails into its coffin.

Google staff member Anthony LaForge noted in a post this May: ‘While Flash historically has been critical for rich media on the web, today in many cases HTML5 provides a more integrated media experience with faster load times and lower power consumption. This change reflects the maturity of HTML5 and its ability to deliver an excellent user experience…’

Meanwhile, Firefox began disabling Flash by default last summer. In a similar manner to the Safari 10 plans, Firefox only enables the plugin if the user opts in from a pop-up. Mozilla argued that Flash need not be blocked completely, but that it should never run without the user’s knowledge.

In July last year, head of Firefox support Mark Schmidt, tweeted: ‘To be clear, Flash is only blocked until Adobe releases a version which isn’t being actively exploited by publicly known vulnerabilities.’


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