That gave me some time to update apps on my handy dandy, trust dusty desktop iMac. Yeah, that’s the lone Mac in my possession which runs Adobe’s much maligned Flash, and it was time for an update. Do you know how old Flash is? Is it really true that Flash is better these days?
Flash Reaches Retirement Age
It didn’t take but a few minutes to upgrade the Flash plugin on my iMac, so I took it and Safari for a spin to see if Flash has made any improvements in the past year or two.
Allow me to state categorically that Flash did not crash Safari all morning. About half an hour after opening up a few website pages in Safari’s tabs, the iMac’s fan came on.
A quick check to Activity Monitor on my iMac revealed the culprit. Flash. However, unlike previous versions of Flash, Activity Monitor didn’t reveal the quad-core Intel CPU spiking at 110-percent as it has in the past.
Is Flash today the best Flash ever?
Probably, but that’s like saying a Kentucky Derby winner peaked with a win ten years ago and was recently put out to pasture (or stud work, or glue, or whatever happens to horse has-beens).
Flash started life in 1996 as FutureSplash before being bought by Macromedia which combined ‘Future’ and ‘Splash’ to create the name Flash. 1996? That was last century.
The rest is history. Macromedia was bought by Adobe, and until HTML5 came on the scene, Flash was the de facto standard for web-based video delivery and animation.
No Flash For You!
Officially, Adobe stopped mobile device development for Flash back in 2011, yet the latest version has a few APIs for Android devices (no Flash on iOS), and is updated to work on OS X 10.9 Mavericks.
Adobe says ‘Flash Player continues to perform as expected.’ I suspect that’s about as accurate as Adobe wants to get without going into detail on how Flash sucks up CPU and drains battery life on MacBook models around the world. Is it any wonder Apple refuses to ship new Macs with Flash pre-installed?
Only Alzheimer’s reduces memory more than Flash. Alright, that said, Flash today probably is better than any previous version. It still uses too much of the Mac’s CPU, it can cause the fans to come on even in a cold room, and most websites with videos or animated ads have HTML5 fallback solutions for Macs or PCs without Flash.
If you’re worried about the damage Flash can cause to Safari and your Mac, use my two-step solution. Whenever I encounter a site that has Flash that needs to be viewed, I use Google’s Chrome which has a built-in version of Flash already installed. That keeps Safari clean and mean, and Chrome seems to handle Flash’s idiosyncrasies with more care.