The succession of vulnerabilities found in Adobe’s Flash Player shows no signs of dying down: not a month goes by without Adobe releasing another yet emergency update for Flash to patch a bunch of newly discovered vulnerabilities (measuring in the dozens).
Some of them can be pretty nasty as they introduce new attack vectors for spyware, ransomware, trojans and other malicious applications that you don’t want anywhere near your computer.
A few years ago, Flash Player was impossible to avoid because a bulk of web video was encoded in Adobe’s proprietary Flash format, but not anymore: YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and many other popular web services now use HTML5-based video players that work in any modern browser.
While Apple does block older, vulnerable versions of Flash in the Safari browser on OS X, you should do yourself a favor and remove Flash Player from your Mac using step-by-step instructions provided in this tutorial.
How to remove Adobe Flash from your Mac
1) Navigate to the /Applications/Utilities/ folder on your Mac and launch the Adobe Flash Player Install Manager app.
Tip: If you don’t see the app and are positive that Flash Player is in fact installed on your Mac, download the Adobe Flash Player uninstaller from Adobe’s website.
2) Click the Uninstall button to begin the process.
3) Type the administrator password for your OS X user account and click OK to continue.
Flash Player is now being uninstalled from this Mac. You cannot cancel the uninstaller at this point. Don’t restart or turn off your computer until the uninstaller finishes.
4) After the uninstaller removes Adobe Flash software from your computer, click Done.
And that’s all there’s to it, folks!
Living in a Flash-free world!
Congratulations, your Mac is now Flash-free and your computer is no longer prone to Flash vulnerabilities—even if you try to access Flash content in a browser—as long as you don’t reinstall Flash Player.
Don’t you shed a tear—you’ll be better off without Flash altogether!
Verifying that Flash Player uninstallation is complete
After running the uninstaller, your system should be free of Flash Player and its associated web plug-in. To verify that Flash uninstallation has been completed successfully, first restart your Mac by choosing Restart in the Apple menu.
Then, open your browser and check the status of Flash Player on Adobe’s website. If Flash Player is no longer installed on this Mac, the page will produce an error message.
Accessing Flash content without Flash Player
As we mentioned, you can watch virtually any video on the web without needing Flash Player.
In moving away from Flash-encoded video, web developers have embraced HTML5 video en masse. For starters, HTML5-based video works in any modern web browser without needing a dedicated plug-in.
In addition, HTML5 video takes advantage of your computer’s chips to decode content in hardware. Not only does that allow for smooth video playback than in Flash Player, but also does so in a power-efficient manner that helps conserve energy.
With that in mind, if you stumble upon a piece of Flash content on the web that you want to view but hate the idea of re-installing Flash Player, simply use Google Chrome for these purposes. Google’s browser has built-in Flash Player, but it’s sandboxed to prevent Flash vulnerabilities from affecting the rest of your system.
OS X blocks outdated Flash versions
Out-of-date versions of Adobe Flash Player that do not include the latest security updates are automatically disabled in Safari by OS X to help keep your Mac secure and help limit exposure to potential zero day exploits from web plug-in enabled content.
If you see the message “Blocked plug-in,” “Flash Security Alert” or “Flash out-of-date” when attempting to view Flash content in Safari, that’s Apple warning you that you’re using an out-of-date version of the Adobe Flash Player plug-in on your computer.
More Mac tips? Browse our tutorials archive.
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