Weekly Poll: Have You Uninstalled Flash?

Much has been written about Apple’s decision to no longer ship the MacBook Air with Flash pre-installed, and while there are plenty of arguments for and against this, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that uninstalling Flash can dramatically improve your browsing experience and battery life.

Apple themselves have stated that Flash is the number one cause of crashes in Safari, and—if you’ve ever watched a YouTube video on your MacBook—you’ll know that all the system fans kicking in can’t be good for your battery life.

Unless you spend a great deal of time designing or visiting Flash websites, you should definitely try uninstalling it for a few days. I have, and I won’t be going back in a hurry.

Fortunately, there are a few simple workarounds to make the transition easier and still allow you to use Flash when you really need to.

John Gruber posted a great article on this topic a few weeks ago, explaining that even after installing Flash system-wide, it’s still available in Google Chrome (as it has its own self-contained Flash plugin). For the few times I need Flash on a day-to-day basis, this workaround is more than reasonable for me.

I’ve noticed a far quicker browsing experience, and found that many sites actually serve alternative content when they discover you don’t have Flash installed. This is more notable than when you’re running ClickToFlash, and uninstalling Flash altogether is a more honest process than tricking websites into letting ClickToFlash handle this type of content.

Is this something you’ve tried on your own machine? If not, I’d strongly recommend giving it a go, even if just for a few days! Have your say in the poll above, and let me know your thoughts in the comments.


  • Adam

    I use ClickToFlash in Safari to block unwanted flash

  • http://toastr.net/ Jacob

    No, I still use it for a handful of websites and applications, but I have Flash Block installed for everything else.

  • http://muscar.me Marcus Lindgren

    I think there should be another option in the poll:

    “I haven’t yet, but plan to do”

  • Francisco

    Another option:

    “No. I don’t use Flash regularly, but Click to Flash is fair enough for me”.

  • phormality

    I tried it a while back, but it was too annoying. Every time I went to a page in Safari it would tell me I didn’t have flash and I had to click OK. That may have changed now that the Air ships without Flash installed. I currently use ClickToPlugin to block it and load h.264 wherever possible.

  • lasik

    I’m stuck in a “No Flash No Soccer” world.

  • http://www.mikekey.com Mike Key

    I actually have uninstalled flash, I primarily use Google Chrome however and I use the extension, FlashBlock to block all flash content inside of Chrome, except when I want to see it, like viewing video’s on some websites. I also use an extension to force youtube and vemo to html5

    • http://www.mikekey.com Mike Key

      I would like to note, being a recent user who made the switch to OS X from Windows, I never got the fuss over Flash with Apple. I honestly thought Apple was wrong, but it is a horrible experience on OS X vs Windows compared to what a joy everything else is on OS X vs Windows. I side completely with Apple now. Adobe, your flash is garbage.

      • Steve

        So Flash performs okay for you on Windows but is a horrible experience on OSX .. and it is Adobe’s fault?

        Isn’t that a bit like blaming Chevron for the bad mileage you get from their gas after trading in your Prius for a Hummer?

  • http://www.infrasoundkids.com L1

    I think the bandwagoning hatred of Flash by Apple users/consumers/fanboys etc. is ridiculous, Flash has a purpose, that purpose will not be succeeded by HTML5 and other technologies, they have different purposes. If anything I don’t want to see HTML5 become a mega monster and take a “jack of all trades, master of none” route. Flash will likely never leave any of my workstations.

  • Weston Michael Gallagher

    Flash Player “Square” looks promising, specially in 64 bit, fans don’t seem to run all the time, on my Macbook Pro Mid ’10 Model. http://goo.gl/IrNMP Although I defiantly still use Click to Flash. Thing is I need flash for other things then video.

    Another thing to try “I haven’t yet” is run in the Developer/User Agent/ Mobile Safari – iPad Mode http://goo.gl/T98Z2

  • http://blog.inkaudio.com David O.

    It is interesting how polarizing this is

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      I agree – It’s not often we have a poll that’s split so evenly down the middle!

      • jordan

        I think this is because the poll is poorly executed. There is not an option like “No, because, although it is a burden, for some things it is still a requirement.”

  • Nick

    I use youtube quite a lot so I really need flash… However its true that it is annyoing how often safari crashes because of flash…

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      YouTube works fairly well with serving HTML5 video now, so you don’t really need Flash for this one any more!

  • dixhuit

    I’m no Apple hater – far from it, but this Flash stuff is ridiculous. Anyone that has uninstalled Flash off the back of recent MacBook Air battery saving claims needs to sit down and have a good long think what they’ve done, why they’ve done it and what kind of sheep that makes them. Recent “news” has been nothing but negative marketing with a secondary agenda.

    For a lot of what Flash brings to the web, it is still perfectly fine and in some cases still currently irreplaceable. Steve Jobs’ “reailty distortion field” is try to f*ck your mind! Again!

  • fractalfrog

    I really wish that it was possible for me to throw Flash in the trash, where it belongs, but alas there are sites out there which forces me to use Flash.

    So ClickToFlash to the rescue!

    My YouTube needs are covered by the YouTube5 extension so no need for Flash there. Combine that with the A Cleaner YouTube extension and suddenly YouTube is actually nice to use :)

  • http://www.miknos.com Alexei

    Usually who supports Flash are those developers who spent a lot of time learning Flash and now they’re stuck with a soon to be useless knowledge OR who uses a desktop (don’t care about cpu/battery hogging).

    It’s not about being a fanboy, drinking the koolaid or Jobs “reality distortion field”. It’s about openness. Do you really want to depend on Adobe for future development of the “real internet”?

    • http://www.miknos.com Alexei

      and BTW, even with all the pressure Adobe is receiving, they’re not doing it FAST and GOOD enough. Flash STILL sucks cpu/battery and Mobile Flash it’s not even decent.

      • http://xerode.net/ xerode

        Yawn. This argument again. Flash is actually pretty open, especially when compared to say, iOS. In fact, one of the reasons it can’t be completely open is because it contains patented technologies for video codecs – including ones owned by Apple, so Jobs knows exactly why Flash can’t be fully open and yet he still lies about it.

        Also HTML 5 is nowhere near completion yet, some estimates put it as far away as 2020 before it’s finished. How many updates to Flash will there be between now and then?

        In the interests of disclosure, I’m a developer that uses Flash. I also use HTML/JS, PHP, ASP, Java/Processing, C/OpenFrameworks etc. etc. The point is to use the most appropriate technology for the problem at hand and in some cases nothing comes anywhere near Flash for that.

    • Jason

      The web standards argument is laughable because H.264 is not an open codec. It is proprietary yet no one everyone seems to turn a blind eye…. Except Firefox (which happens to be the #1 browser on the web lol! )

  • http://www.mktfresh.com Jonathan

    Paragraph 5 — I think you meant “uninstalling”.

  • http://twitter.com/garbaczd David Garbacz

    ClickToFlash has been all I’ve needed.

  • J’aime Ohm

    I use Click to Flash. After reading this, I will try disabling it.

  • J’aime Ohm

    I use Click to Flash. After reading this, I will try uninstalling it.

  • http://novastormsoftware.com Justin Mrkva

    You should really have put an option for ClickToFlash in the poll… of course putting it in now would result in severe bias but right now.

  • http://jayphen.com Jayphen

    I use Chrome & have click-to-play enabled in about:flags, and have turned off the Flash plugin by default. I think this is perfect. The CPU sucking issues are due to Flash chugging away in the background when it’s not being used, and this allows me to make sure that Flash only runs when I tell it to. There are too many websites still using Flash to justify completely uninstalling it.

  • http://www.webkarnage.net WebKarnage

    I didn’t think it worth the attention to uninstall it, and use it occasionally on BBC stuff. There wasn’t really a ‘couldn’t give a monkeys’ type option in the poll for me to choose…

  • eco_bach

    Many might disagree, but a lot of arguments to support the idea that ‘Flash is what drives innovation on the web’. Recommended reading http://www.bit-101.com/blog/?p=2908. As for the poor performance of Flash video in Safari, which is almost entirely due to the lack of hardware acceleration hooks, check out Thibault Imbert’s demo of a future release of the plugin. http://www.bytearray.org/?p=2377. As long as Flash evolves, it will play a huge part of the web for a long, long, time.

  • dave

    this is the stupidest thing I have ever heard, your a slave to steve job’s propaganda and his personal vendetta against adobe.

  • http://www.iynque.com iynque

    I’m another ClickToFlash user on Safari. It’s nice to not crash just because someone has Flash ads on their site.

    I don’t think I can get away with no Flash at all though. Too much old content is still flash-based and not enough people are preferring newer standards over Flash.

  • Jason

    I wish there was an “uninstall Apple” option. It’s clearly the best choice.

  • Ravi

    says a site with flash ad rotator at the top.

  • Rob

    Uninstall Flash? are you nuts, that’s like driving in traffic without a radio.
    Your question should be “Have you uninstalled Safari?”
    Safari has always been buggy and unstable. There are plenty of browsers out there that can handle Flash no problem.
    I love how you mac guys love to blame the other guy, I guess it’s cheaper than actually fixing your own OS. btw you got those signal bars workin yet, you only sold couple hundred million iphones before getting around to that one.

  • http://activeden.net/user/DaniMun/portfolio?ref=DaniMun Dani

    Before jumping to any half-baked conclusions, hear this: I have a macbook pro and I love using it both for software development, and for entertainment. What I hate about it, is Safari. That’s by far the most buggy and unstable browser I’ve ever tested.

    Pretending that YouTube videos running inside the Flash Player would drain your battery faster than running the same videos under the HTML5 wrapper is simply ridiculous. Regardless how you’re watching any videos, the video decoding process is a rather intensive task for any CPU, especially for the mobile ones. Coolers will rev up when playing video even if the video is run locally in iTunes.

    I’m surprised and disgusted how big of deal some people make over HTML5. It’s not ready yet… YET! http://ishtml5readyyet.com/ And even if it was reay, it is unlikely to do everything that Flash is intended to do. Get a good grip on reality, guys. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Adobe haters out there :) I’ve got some bad news for you, Flash far from evil, and it will continue to be used for web and multimedia, no matter what el lider maximo S.Jobs says… Anyway, if you wanna be sheep, just follow the leader, that’s perfectly fine by me

  • Noah

    I’d like to uninstall Flash but clients still insist on using it.

  • Chuck

    Nice link bait, feeling a bit lazy this morning?

  • Daniel Keller

    I don’t know, but it looks like the Majority prefers to use flash > “No – I use Flash regularly, and like to have it available. 56.15% (872 votes)”

    Apple just should look for a better browser, or improve safari.

    I’ma PC, and I deinstalled Safari, because this browser crashes a lot… Chrome does not!

  • fifty_tons

    This is one of the stupidest article I’ve seen on the web so far. No offence.

    Just because there are 3 idiots in this world that flood their websites with 100 poorly coded flash banners and ads per page isn’t a reason to uninstall flash. If they’d use JS or HTML5 for all those ads and banners, I bet one of my kidneys your computer would probably explode or cuss at its owner.

    Also, is it a coincidence that your name is Appleyard? Or did you change it to indulge steve jobs? :)

  • Simon

    As content designers and developers we need to think about what web users want. Consumers don’t think about technology to the extent we do, they just want the content. The only important issue to web users would be how relevant the user experience is to what they want out of it. If designers and developers think like that then they will know what technology is suitable for their end users.

  • ariadng

    you guys should remember how websites looked before Flash came..

  • http://sumitpaul.com Sumit Paul

    Flash runs poorly on OSX. Just goto a youtube video and hit fullscreen, it turns white for a while most of the times before the video starts playing. But you know what’s even more awful? HTML5 video! Video playback is hardly ever smooth in html5 video players.

    I respect Flash a lot. It was probably the first application which gave designers the ability to create interactivity without learning a lot of code. At the moment, if you have to animate something using HTML5+CSS3 … it takes much more effort. its hard for people who think visually to open a text editor and do the same that Flash does in seconds. What HTML5+CSS3 needs is some kind of a Flash Professional equivalent (hopefully open source)

  • http://www.huisvandetoekomst.nl Chriet Titulaer

    There is some truth to the fact that your browser runs smoother without flash – that’s because of those annoying flash banners. A SWF file is really a small mini application, and they can use a LOT of CPU power.

    I have seen how some flash designers just copy and paste code without knowing what they’re doing. As long as the filesize of the banner remains within 30kb the banner gets accepted by the ad agency. A banner is not tested for CPU hogging because nobody knows how to do that.

    Still, I have not uninstalled flash but I am more inclined to uninstalling Safari and switching to Google Chrome. I think Adobe needs to work hard at making flash perform better on macs, but I believe that Apple is actively making that hard/impossible for them — instead of working with Adobe like Google does.

theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow