Apple to completely remove Flash support in next version of Safari

Time to say goodbye to the media platform that got you through the 90s

In context: The end of the year will also mark the official end of Adobe Flash. While most have already jumped ship Safari remains as the only browser still supporting the software via plugin. That will be going away with the next browser update.

Apple just released the latest Safari Technology preview. It comes with many changes, most notably the removal of support for Adobe Flash.

Apple dropping Flash support in Safari is not too big a surprise. The company has criticized it for its numerous security flaws and has never supported it in iOS. Even Flash on the desktop version of the web browser was limited to a hobbled downloadable extension. Once the update is finalized, not even a plugin will work.

The revision rings a final death knell for Adobe's interactive web technology that has been around since 1996. In the pre-broadband days, it was invaluable for some types of content. The platform-agnostic plugin was used primarily for simple games and animations that could be played within a browser. It also supported media playback. YouTube, Hulu, and others used it for their video players for quite some time.

Aside from its many security vulnerabilities, the platform was also used for phishing. Users, when visiting some questionable sites, would be presented with fake notices that told them they needed to update Flash. These would contain a download link to a page mimicking Adobe's. It would then attempt to gain personal information such as passwords or infect the users' computers with a trojan, virus, or other malware when they tried to download the bogus version of the program.

With the increased adoption of the HTML5 standard, which replaced a lot of Flash's functionality, Adobe decided it was time to put the software to bed. In 2017, it announced it would end support at the end of 2020. Since then, most of the major tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft, have abandoned Flash and patched it out of their platforms.

Once the newest version of Safari releases, the few legacy websites still using the as-good-as-dead software will essentially be killed as well. By next year, the only place you will be able to find the Flash Player and other related content will be the graveyard that is the Internet Archive, where you can already view its tombstone.

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