Apple may be ditching Adobe Flash support in the next version of Safari

Apple’s latest Safari Technology Preview has dropped support for Flash, signaling that support for Adobe’s technology will likely be removed from Safari’s next stable version.

MacRumors spotted yesterday that release notes for the most recent Safari Technology Preview 99 show support for Adobe’s Flash technology has been removed from the build.

This means that when the next version of Safari is released, users will no longer be able to install or use Adobe Flash in the browser. The elimination of Flash support should not heavily impact users, given that most other popular browsers have already moved away from the format. Likewise, iPhone and iPad users won’t be affected because Apple’s mobile operating system has never supported Flash.

In July 2017, Adobe said it’d be discontinuing the Flash plug-in and stop development and distribution of the software by the end of 2020. The company also confirmed plans to regularly continue supporting the Flash Player plug-in with security and compatibility updates.

Following Adobe’s 2017 announcement, Apple wrote on its WebKit blog:

Apple users have been experiencing the web without Flash for some time. iPhone, iPad and iPod touch never supported Flash. For the Mac, the transition from Flash began in 2010 when it was no longer pre-installed. Today, if users install Flash, it remains off by default. Safari requires explicit approval on each website before running the Flash plugin.

macOS has been automatically blocking outdated Flash versions that do not include the latest security updates since at least 2016, but now it seems that Flash support is almost certainly going to be removed from the browser rather than put up a message informing the user that they’re using an out-of-date version of the Flash Player plug-in.

The Photoshop maker stopped working on mobile Flash technology in 2011 following a public squabble with Steve Jobs, who in his famous “Thoughts on Flash” open letter dissed Flash as an outdated battery-hogging technology plagued with exploits whose days are numbered.

From Steve’s “Thoughts on Flash”:

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. […] New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Adobe discontinued mobile Flash installs in August of the following year.

TUTORIAL: How to remove Adobe Flash from your Mac

Safari Technology Preview is a special version of the browser aimed at developers who want an early look at upcoming web technologies in macOS. Safari Technology Preview can co-exist alongside its commercial counterpart, with each retaining its own settings.

Safari Technology Preview can be downloaded from Apple’s website.

Will you miss Flash?

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