Have you ever encountered some variation of the “Adobe Flash is not supported” message on your iOS device? Did you wonder why you’re receiving that message? Did you find yourself asking what, exactly, Flash is?
Most importantly, have you ever wondered whether you can access Adobe Flash via iOS if you really want to?
Today, we’re going to answer all of those questions by helping you learn a little more about Adobe Flash and how you can make it part of your iOS browsing experience.
What is Adobe Flash?
Adobe Flash (sometimes referred to as Adobe Flash Player or Shockwave Flash) is multimedia software. It is typically used for streaming audio and video.
It was once one of the world’s most popular multimedia players, but Adobe has stated that they intend to end their support of the Flash Player by 2020. That announcement came shortly after companies like Facebook and Google denounced Flash Player technology. Among their list of complaints were the software’s security issues, performance issues, and closed platform status.
All told, the current number of websites that utilize Adobe Flash represent a little over 10% of the known world wide web. This is down from the roughly 49% of websites that used it around 2011.
Why Doesn’t iOS Support Adobe Flash?
Apple was one of the first major companies to call for the end of Flash-based technology. In an open letter, Steve Jobs stated that Flash no longer suited Apple’s needs and was causing long-term and short-term issues. The most notable of those issues being the numerous security breaches that Adobe Flash has suffered in recent years.
Adobe Flash was essentially blocked from iOS around the time of the announcement.
Which Websites Still Use Adobe Flash?
Quite a few, actually.
The list of websites that still use Flash as a primary piece of technology includes major names like:
- Fox News
- The New York Times
Some of these websites offer enhanced iOS functionality through their digital apps – they will encourage or require iOS visitors to download apps – but iOS web browsers may encounter issues with Flash-based sites.
Why Do Websites Still Use Adobe Flash?
There are various reasons websites use Adobe Flash, despite its decline in popularity.
The most common reasons, however, are technological limitations and associated costs. A website like Hulu may want to move away from Flash, but doing so requires them to rebuild a significant chunk of their technology. That is a very expensive and very complicated process.
Other sites simply don’t have a choice. Flash alternatives like HTML 5 don’t always offer the same functionality that Flash does. Advertising, for instance, isn’t always as functional on HTML 5 as it is on Adobe Flash.
Do I Need Adobe Flash?
You don’t need Adobe Flash to view and use some of the world’s most popular websites and applications. In fact, average mobile iOS users probably don’t even know that they’re being affected by the platform’s lack of Flash functionality.
However, there are still enough Adobe Flash services on the internet to ensure that those who want to be able to browse without barriers need it on their devices. For instance, there are quite a few smaller video players out there that utilize Flash. Other websites are practically built around it.
Those that sometimes download or transfer media may also discover that Flash is far more common than you might be lead to believe.
However, the most common use of Flash in the modern era is browser-based games. Adobe boasts on their website that millions of online games utilize Flash technology. That’s not an exaggeration.
How Do I Run Adobe Flash on iOS?
Officially, you cannot. At least that’s the position that Apple wants you to think that you have to take.
However, there are ways to run Adobe Flash on iOS that don’t require you to perform some serious coding or outstanding warranty violations. Just know that none of these methods are “officially” supported by Apple. That means that they don’t always run as smooth as official Apple services.
If you’re interested, though, you really just need to download a new browser or plug-in. Of the Flash-supported browsers and plugins available, these are the ones we recommend.
Puffin Web Browser
Puffin is one of the best Flash options for iOS out there. Best of all, you can try it for free.
Puffin Web Browser is just another web browser option that supports Flash despite iOS’ restrictions. It also offers bandwidth saving options (at least as it concerns non-Flash related content) and a mouse simulator meant to navigate Flash content not designed for touch screens.
Actually, some users prefer to use Puffin as a non-Flash browser simply because it’s quite fast.
If you like what Puffin has to offer, you can upgrade to the service’s Pro Version for $3.99. Unfortunately, Puffin is a U.S-based service. As such, international users may experience some content restrictions.
Photon Flash Player
This is arguably the most popular Flash option on iOS for the simple reason that it’s arguably the best.
For the most part, Photon functions similarly to Puffin. It even includes special functions designed for Adobe Flash-based sites such as split-screen options and mouse-like browsing options.
However, Photon goes a step further by offering a special menu that allows you to tweak the browser’s Flash settings. These settings allow you to tweak most Flash websites so that they run perfectly on iOS.
Photon’s $4.99 price tag may be too much for some, but if you already know that you regularly use Flash on iOS, then it’s a great investment.
Remote Desktop Services
Many remote desktop access services (such as GoToMyPC and Parallels Access) allow you to access your PC or laptop remotely. As such, they also allow you to just use your iOS device to run Flash content on your remote PC.
These services are not always a perfect answer, however. They’re quite expensive if you’re just using them for Flash content. Compared to browser-based alternatives, their functionality is also somewhat limited.
However, if you have other needs for such services, then this is one of the best options out there.
Adobe Flash is perfect for the Apple user that doesn’t want to be limited. It opens up entire sections of the internet. Considering how easy it is to access, there’s little reason to not add it to your Apple device today.