Flash Player’s protracted stay on life support is nearing the end, after Adobe released its final ever scheduled update this week, just before it is officially terminated.

Adobe announced the development on its website, in which it thanked all the customers and developers who had used and created Flash Player content over the last two decades.

Adobe had placed the Flash Player on life support back in July 2017, when it announced it would finally end support for the plug-in in 2020.

End of Life

Silicon UK readers at the time backed Adobe’s decision to terminate Flash, due to all the issues surrounding its use.

Adobe will stop supporting Flash on 31 December 2020, and it will block Flash content from running on 12 January 2021.

Adobe also “strongly recommends” all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems.

“Today marks the final scheduled release of Flash Player for all regions outside of Mainland China,” noted Adobe. “We want to take a moment to thank all of our customers and developers who have used and created amazing Flash Player content over the last two decades.”

China has a separate version of Flash.

“We are proud that Flash had a crucial role in evolving web content across animation, interactivity, audio, and video,” it added. “We are excited to help lead the next era of digital experiences.”

Flash critics

Flash made its name over the past 20 years as it enabled numerous web applications, such as online games, dynamic website designs and educational tools, that simply weren’t possible previously.

You can read more about the history of the Flash Player here.

However, in the last decade it began to be regarded as a drain on device resources and battery, while numerous security flaws had been used by malicious actors to launch cyber attacks and conceal malware.

This led to a concerted drive away from Flash towards open web standards such as HTML5, with numerous browsers, including Chrome and Firefox disabling Flash by default.

Apple (and the late Steve Jobs in particular) were arguably Flash’s most vocal and influential critics.

When it launched the iPhone in 2007 Apple did not support Flash because of concerns about performance and battery life.

This was seen as a weakness because of the popularity of Flash content and BlackBerry even marketed one of its devices as capable of supporting Flash in response.

However over a decade on, Apple could be seen to be on the right side of history.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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