Do you need to install Flash anymore?

If someone asks “Do I need Java“, my answer is a) most people don’t need it, and b) to find out if you need it, remove it. I did that many years ago and haven’t needed it. I’ve been hoping to reach the same point with Flash. I’d try disabling it, but there are two sites I regularly visit, which sometimes require Flash – Youtube and Facebook (for videos). Last year, Youtube switched to HTML5, and recently I found that Facebook started using HTML5 for videos, so I decided to try disabling Flash again. This time, I was pleasantly surprised at how many websites no longer use Flash.

Using Firefox on a late 2013 Macbook Pro, here is a list of sites I’ve found work well with Flash disabled:

  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Thestar.com
  • Instagram
  • CNN
  • CNET
  • Vimeo
  • Dailymotion

There are still some holdouts. In my case, I’m really affected by CTV Toronto News requiring Flash. I also wanted to watch an episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and that required Flash. Others:

  • BBC
  • Hulu

I emailed CTV, and here’s the response:
At this time we currently do not have any future plans to support HTML5. Regardless, your comments have been forwarded to our technical team for review.

I’ve decided to switch back to thestar.com for local [Toronto] news, now that they’re over their Rob Ford obsession.

And with that, I can keep Flash disabled. Every now and then I may require it to view some web content, but for the most part, I don’t need it.
Flash has been thought of as a must-have plugin, but after disabling it, that wasn’t the case for me. A lot of the web has already switched to HTML5. Try disabling Flash for yourself, and enjoy so much more battery life!

11 Responses

  1. abral January 12, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    I’ve had to install Flash to watch a streaming video on https://air.mozilla.org/, which is quite ironic 🙂

  2. Alexander January 12, 2016 / 2:38 pm

    Sadly the BBC will even work if you change your user agent to an iPads. They do have a beta HTML5 player – http://www.bbc.co.uk/html5 – which for now only works for pre-recorded audio content.

  3. Alan January 12, 2016 / 4:35 pm

    I think you mean video; audio is what the BBC html5 *doesn’t* work for.

  4. Simon January 12, 2016 / 5:44 pm

    I do have it installed, but disabled (Never Activate) in the add-ons screen. I certainly don’t need it much these days… but there’s always the odd site that still requires it for something important.

  5. Omega January 12, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    Google Play Music still needs Flash because SOMEBODY won’t finish the MSE MP3 implementation.

  6. Chris Ilias January 12, 2016 / 7:40 pm

    @abral Air Mozilla doeesn’t require Flash here. Maybe it was required when you first tried it. If so, that is exactly what this post is about: We keep Flash because we think a lot of sites require it, but that is less the case now.

  7. Al January 13, 2016 / 8:27 am

    I don’t even have it installed at all. Originally it stemmed from Flash not being available for Linux anymore. But even if it was available, I wouldn’t install it again because I haven’t visited any web site in recent time which wanted me to enable Flash.

  8. Alexander January 13, 2016 / 9:43 am

    It doesn’t work for live streaming audio, but it does for pre-recorded shows. It also doesn’t work for videos on BBC News. Now I see it works for iPlayer video, but I’m outside the UK, so that doesn’t work me at all.

  9. Robert Kaiser January 13, 2016 / 1:40 pm

    I mainly still need Flash for 1) gaming, 2) live video (Air Mozilla and NFL Game Pass, in my case). Outside of that, I rarely need it.
    I have set Flash to “ask on activate” in the Firefox add-on manager, so a see where I actually need to use it for stuff to work.

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