What is Adobe Flash Player?

Adobe Flash Player is a combination programming language and support environment originally written to make websites, webpages, and some classes of applications more interactive and graphical. The most common use has been to write games you can play online, though there are many other applications. YouTube, for example, originally used Flash to support playing videos online.

Adobe, the company that wrote and owns Flash, has announced an official end of life of December 31, 2020. Downloads of the Flash player, as well as (presumably) any other Flash-related tools, will be removed from the Adobe websites.

Most major web browsers will completely remove support for Flash on or before that date. Apple’s Safari browser has already done so.

Websites still relying on Flash after that will not work.

What replaces Flash Player?

HTML is the language used to create webpages such as this one. Version 5 of the HTML specification, or simply HTML5, added a wide array of support intended to solve many of the problems Flash tried to solve, but uses open standard rather than proprietary technology.

Web browsers have supported HTML5 for several years. It’s extremely likely the browser you’re using to read this page online has complete HTML5 support.

The bottom line is that HTML5 should be able to replace almost all use of Adobe Flash.

The problem, however, is that HTML5 is not compatible with Adobe Flash. Webpages or applications like games currently relying on Adobe Flash will need to be rewritten by their developers in order to keep working.

What do you need to do about Adobe Flash end of life?

You and I cannot do anything. Flash is proprietary technology from Adobe.

There’s nothing to install, nothing to turn on or off, and nothing to replace it with. When it dies, it dies.

The good news is that you should have nothing to do anyway. The impending end of Flash has been known for years. The vast majority of the sites that used to use it — like YouTube — stopped using it long ago.

It really should be a non-event; much ado about nothing.

But will it be?