How to disable Flash on your Mac


How to disable Flash on your Mac
Quick Mac Tip, 24 April 2011

If you’re sick of pesky, flashing ads on websites or perhaps want a browsing experience similar to the Flash-free one provided on iOS devices consider disabling the Flash plug-in on your Mac. Paul Kaniuk explains how.

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There are a couple of ways to disable Flash.

Disable Flash with a browser extension

Paul Kaniuk. Paul Kaniuk is a recent graduate of Unitec’s Bachelor of Computing Systems degree. An Apple fanatic since the days of the Macintosh Classic II, he is more than happy to share his growing troubleshooting knowledge. And, currently looking for a job where he can spend all day doing just that.

One option is to install ClickToFlash. This extension blocks Flash content from being displayed in Safari until you, the user, decide to have it show.

There are also similar Flash-blocking plug-ins available for Firefox, Camino and Chrome.

The ClickToFlash extension blocks Flash content from being displayed in Safari.

The ClickToFlash extension blocks Flash content from being displayed in Safari.

The ClickToFlash extension also has some nice features to customise your browsing. The extension is based on the original ClickToFlash plug-in.

Remove the Flash player

A more rigorous option is to remove the Flash player itself. The files Flash Player.plugin and flashplayer.xpt should be located in /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/.

Either delete or move these files to another folder (you could create a folder /Library/Internet Plug-Ins Disabled and put them in there). You should log out and log in after removing moving or deleting these files.

Removing Flash will mean no Flash content will be displayed in any of your browsers (but see below about Chrome).

Make YouTube use HTML5 instead of Flash

A common complaint with this solution is that many online video sites such as YouTube use Flash to display content. Fortunately, there is an extension for Safari which forces YouTube to use the HTML5 player instead.

The Eject to Flash extension sends Flash content to Chrome.

The Eject to Flash extension sends Flash content to Chrome.

Use Google Chrome for Flash

Google’s Chrome browser currently includes its own built in Flash plug-in, so even if you have removed Flash entirely from your computer, installing Chrome will allow you to view Flash content without having Flash content display in your default browser.

To make life easier, you can install an extension called Eject to Flash that creates a button (and shortcut Command (⌘) E) in Safari to open the current webpage you are on in Chrome.

A web page with Flash disabled.

A web page with Flash disabled.

The benefits of removing Flash

Removing Flash should, in theory, lower CPU usage and thus lower the heat of your computer while decreasing fan usage and and increasing the battery life (in laptops).

You may also find your browser is more stable without Flash.

Links

Do you have a favourite tip for Safari? Tell us in the Comments. Could you write a guest MacTip? If so, contact me.

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