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article imageSafari joins Chrome and Edge in blocking Flash content by default

By James Walker     Jun 15, 2016 in Technology
Apple has announced it is joining other major browsers in blocking Adobe Flash content by default in Safari. The change will be made with the next release of Safari and is designed to accelerate the rate of adoption of newer technologies.
Flash's demise has been well-documented at this point. With web developers, browser creators and even Adobe itself advising against using the technology, the once renowned plugin is well on its way to becoming obsolete.
In 2015, Google began to automatically disable "non-essential" Flash content in Chrome. Earlier this year, Microsoft followed suit, taking the same path for Microsoft Edge. The update will reach users later in the summer. In a blog post yesterday, Apple announced it is also going to automatically disable Flash with Safari 10, a free update set to be released in the fall.
The new version of the browser will behave as if Flash isn't even installed. On websites that have Flash and HTML5 versions, Safari will automatically display the HTML5 version. There will be no predefined exceptions to this rule as Apple hopes to encourage developers to move away from Flash.
For websites that do not have HTML5 versions, users will be prompted to explicitly enable Flash. This decision will be made per-site to ensure HTML5 is favoured throughout general browsing. Once enabled for a site, Safari will generally remember the user's preference. It will automatically expire the user's request to enable Flash on a certain website if it hasn't been visited in a month.
The implementation of the feature is much the same as Google's and Microsoft's except for one important difference: Apple isn't just targeting Flash. It will instead automatically disable every legacy plug-in for Safari. This could impact other plugins a user has installed. Each one will be treated in the same way as Flash, disabled by default and only reactivated at the user's command.
As with the other browser vendors, Apple said it is making the change to allow users to enjoy the benefits of HTML5 over Flash. These include much greater security and privacy, heavily improved performance and longer battery life on mobile devices.
"The web platform is capable of amazing things. Thanks to the ongoing hard work of standards bodies, browser vendors, and web developers, web standards are feature-rich and continuously improving," said engineer Ricky Mondello. "The WebKit project in particular emphasizes security, performance, and battery life when evaluating and implementing web standards. These standards now include most of the functionality needed to support rich media and interactive experiences that used to require legacy plug-ins like Adobe Flash."
Apple advised web developers to switch to HTML5 where possible over the coming months. The new technology supports features including native audio and video playback, animations and effects and 2D and 3D games, all applications previously reserved for Flash.
The change will be implemented when Safari 10 debuts with macOS Sierra in the fall. The new operating system, the first to be branded macOS, includes several other new features and improvements, including the arrival of Siri on the desktop and greater integration with iOS devices.
More about Safari, Apple, macos, macos sierra, Flash
 
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