Using the Flash Player In Safari

It can be tricky to get Flash content on a webpage to work in Safari. If you need Flash, make sure you get it only from the official Adobe site. Then only update Flash from System Preferences, never follow a link to update or install Flash. To use Flash, sometimes you get a button to activate the content, and other times you need to turn on Flash for a website in Safari's preferences.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using the Flash Player In Safari.

So Adobe's Flash Player plugin for browsers was a great way for many years to be able to have interactive content inside of web pages. Unfortunately it was plagued by lots of problems. There were a lot of people that over used it for little things like ads and annoying front pages to restaurant website and things like that. Things where they weren't really necessary. There were places, like a lot of my websites where I had interactive games on them, that couldn't really have been done in any other way except in Flash. This is where they were really useful.

But a lot of security concerns forced browsers to stop allowing Flash or at least not having Flash there by default. A lot of those concerns, by the way, were simply things claiming to be Flash installers and they weren't actually Flash installers. They had nothing to do with Flash. But because Flash was so powerful exploits were often found, patches were issued, people wouldn't update, so Flash is on its way out.

But it's still really useful for some things like playing games. For instance here's one of my sites, Cribbage Versus and there's a cribbage game in here that's done with Flash. Now in order to use this you'll probably see something like this when you get to the page. Click to Use Flash. Click there and it will ask you Would you like to use Flash and you can say Every Time or Just Once. Do Just Once and now the game loads. But if you don't get that there could be a couple of reasons. One is maybe you don't have Flash.

If you don't have Flash there's only one way to get it. Don't follow any link, any ad, any popup, anything that says go here to get Flash. NEVER do that because of this problem where a lot of things are claiming to be Flash and they aren't. They could be claiming to be other things like free software that you can download, updates to Mac OS, whatever but they use get Flash as their excuse to try to trick you.

The only safe way to get Flash is to go to Adobe's website, Or you can just go to and usually there's a link right there to be able to go and get it. This is the only legitimate place to get it. You can click the Download Now button. Downloads an installer. Run the installer and you get Flash. The same thing with updating Flash. You get lots of sites that try to trick you saying, hey you need an update to Flash. Never do that because once you have Flash installed on a modern Mac, if you go to System Preferences you'll see Flash Player there. Then it's got all your controls for privacy and all that stuff and, of course, a way to update Flash right there. Never do it by downloading anything or clicking on any kind of link anywhere.

So, what if none of that works. What if you go to a page that you know is supposed to have Flash but it doesn't show you that Flash player button like this on does. So the way to do it then is to go to Safari Preferences and then you go to Websites and it has a list of the websites that you're on like, for instance, Cribbage Versus Robots. Here is where then you can click on the left side, Adobe Flash Player, and you can say I want it to Ask Me Every Time, I want it to be On for this website or Off for this website. So if I say Ask Every Time then that's what it will do here and you can see it goes back to Click to use Flash.

Now why do sometimes websites not have Click to use Flash and you have to go and enable it here. Well, a lot of times sites will check to see whether or not you have Flash first and show you some static content if you don't. So, what happens is is that it never actually says, yes play the flash. It says oh it doesn't seem like they have it just show them this. So that kind of means that you're never going to see this Click to use Flash thing there.

So if you know there's Flash on a page, like it's a game or something like that, where you want to play it you're going to have to make sure that after you go to the page you go in here, choose that, choose the site, and select what you want for that. Also notice that it says here Adobe Flash Player when visiting other websites you can have it Off, you can have it Ask, or you can have it On by default. So you have those settings as well.

So that's the basics of using Flash today in 2018. Flash probably won't be supported too much longer. Adobe estimates around 2020. But other browser plugins have had deadlines like that too. They're still supported somewhat. You can download Shockwave for instance and still use that even though support for that ran out a long time ago. So that's how you use Flash on a Mac in Safari.

Comments: 13 Responses to “Using the Flash Player In Safari”

    4 months ago

    Any suggestions about the message that Adobe itself causes to pop up (sometimes incessantly) saying I need to update my flash player? It seems to be a function of the app itself (i.e., the pop up isn’t within a browser). It seems legit, but given how clever social engineering is, do we trust it? I assume it’s best to dismiss it, then go to system prefs and check for updates there, but your thoughts?

    4 months ago

    Bruce: I don’t get that message. I wouldn’t trust it. Go to System Prefs and use that to update.

    Joyce Houghton
    4 months ago

    I also get the pop up telling me that I need to update Flash. I always go to system prefs. to verify if I really need an update. On a few occasions I don’t need it, but most of the time I do.. And I always update it from system prefs.. I don’t trust it, so I don’t take chances. My complaint is when I’m updating, it wants me to get a flash update helper. I don’t think I need it, so never download that.

    Marietta Champlin
    4 months ago

    I reluctantly downloaded flash player from a page that said download now, so far no problems. However about six months ago I installed flash player and a malicious virus took over my mac book pro and with the help of Apple Support I had to erase all content on my laptop and start over. Should I uninstall the Flash Player that I recently downloaded and go to the official
    Adobe website, and how would I do that? I wish I could have seen your video of how to download it properly. Thank you for all your informative information

    4 months ago

    Marietta: The important thing to remember is that what you downloaded 6 months back wasn’t the Flash Player — it was just something else claiming to be. Too many people blame Adobe for this problem, but Adobe has nothing to do with it.
    It is hard to know whether you downloaded a real one or not. Maybe get your Mac checked out.

    4 months ago

    Thanks Gary — that was a useful tip. Could you perhaps do another some time about how you can avoid using Flash altogether and what alternatives are around to support that move.

    4 months ago

    ntb: Not sure what a video on avoiding Flash would be about. If the content at a site uses Flash, then you have to use Flash to view it. There are alternatives, but those are for the website publisher/developer to decide to use something different or not have interactive content at all.

    Tom Gonser
    4 months ago

    Obviously the comment about not downloadiing Flash updates from a link is attracting attention. But it is unclear to me how one can update Flash from “prefs”. I’m not seeing that option in Safari preferences. A quick comment on the “right way to update Adobe Flash” would be helpful.

    4 months ago

    Tom: You find the option to update Flash in System Preferemces, not Safari Prefernces. Watch from about 2:15 to see.

    4 months ago

    I don’t have the flash icon when I display system preferences. Running Mojave 10 and Safari 12. I do see flash under Safari preferences – Websites v31.0.0.122, but no options for update as in your video.

    4 months ago

    Terry: Download and install Flash from Adobe’s site.

    4 months ago

    Thanks for the info. I did the download/install and got the following message “You already have Adobe Flash Player installed. To improve security and save energy, Safari did not activate Adobe Flash Player after it was installed.” Apparently the icon in System Preferences will not display if it is not activated in Safari.

    4 months ago

    Terry: I’m not sure why it isn’t appearing in System Preferences for you then. Perhaps try uninstalling it and installing it again? It shouldn’t matter whether it is turned on in Safari for sites or by default.

Comments Closed.