Internet Security

HOWTO: Fix OS X by uninstalling Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash just ruined my day for the last time… I’ve just arrived in Paris and needed to do some work before a meeting this afternoon. As it’s noisy here I didn’t hear the MacBook’s fans running at full speed trying to compensate for a single rogue Flash ad in a tab in Google Chrome. The result was that my full 4 hour battery was reduced to less than 40 minutes and I now have no chance of getting everything I wanted to do done. Instead I’m going to use the remaining 20 minutes to tell you how to rid yourself of Flash once and for all, and in doing so enjoy the following benefits:

  • Significantly improved security (Snow Leopard even shipped with a vulnerable Flash player!)
  • Significantly improved performance (Flash regularly consumes most of the resources of even the most powerful machines)
  • Significantly longer battery life (the CPU consumes a lot more energy when it is busy)
  • Significantly less noise (MacBooks crank up the fans to deal with the extra heat)
  • No more annoying and invasive advertisements (virtually all of the most annoying ads are Flash)
  • Less distractions (while sites like YouTube have legitimate uses, the overwhelming majority of time spent there is procrastination)
  • A better Internet (Adobe’s penetration figures are already complete bullshit but by voting NO to Flash you’re sending developers a strong message)
  • An open Internet (Adobe Flash is a proprietary plugin that hampers the adoption of open standards like HTML 5)
  • A level playing field with one less monopoly (Adobe was the first company to achieve near-ubiquitous penetration rate with a proprietary plug-in, and it will hopefully be the last. Late entrants like Silverlight don’t stand a chance because there is just no incentive.)

Without further ado (as I’m running out of juice):

PS: You might be surprised to find that (provided you’re using a recent browser like Safari 4, Chrome, Firefox 3.5, etc.) videos such as those at (including the Get a Mac ads) as well as sites like DailyMotion’s OpenVideo will “just work”, natively, in the browser, without Flash. That’s the future right there…

PPS: For the fanbois on whom the message that I’m not interested is lost, feel free to flame away below. The demise of Flash is going to happen, probably sooner than you would like, so why endure another day?

Update: After 2 weeks without Flash I’ve had far fewer problems, can open many more tabs and have not had to restart my browser at all. Even YouTube has its own HTML5 video demo pages up now so it’s only a matter of time before Flash will be relegated to the wonderful world of Internet advertising. For those who are stuck with Flash for whatever reason I recommend ClickToFlash which at least prevents it from being loaded without user interaction.

By Sam Johnston

Sam Johnston CMgr FIML GAICD MACS Snr CP is an Australian technology executive and serial entrepreneur with over 20 years experience founding and advising startups, and in leadership roles at top global technology companies including Citrix, Google, and Equinix.

Sam is currently the director of labs at DXC Technology, whose mission is to ensure the company is fully equipped with the emerging digital technologies it needs to lead clients through accelerating change, including drones, robotics & humanoids, 3D printing, computer vision & voice, augmented & virtual reality, artificial intelligence & machine learning, blockchain, chatbots, and quantum computing.

Sam has a bachelor of computer science degree from the University of New South Wales, and is based in Singapore, having worked in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the USA.