Adobe’s Flash eating up your Mac’s CPU? Here are 3 ways to bring it under control

“If you have been around these parts long enough, you probably already know about Apple’s aversion to Adobe’s Flash Player plugin. Ex-CEO Steve Jobs has gone on record to say that it is a ‘dying technology’ and the company actively prevents Flash in any form from appearing on its iOS-based devices,” Aayush Arya reports for TNW.

“In Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, the latest release of Apple’s desktop operating system, the company removed the Flash Player plugin from its privileged position of being a part of the default OS,” Arya reports. “If you visit a website like YouTube using Safari on a brand new installation of Lion, it will warn you to ‘upgrade your Adobe Flash Player to watch this video.'”

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Arya reports, “Should you, though? The answer depends on how often you intend to use the plugin and how resource-constricted, particularly in the CPU department, your Mac is. Here’s a look at three ways to block, or reduce, Flash usage on your Mac while still being able to take advantage of its perks.”

• Leave it uninstalled
• Use it on an as-required basis
• Block it whenever you feel like it

Much more in the full article here.


    1. For safari there is a plugin that forces YouTube to play the html5 version always instead of flash.
      Forget the name though.

      I install flash but use clicktoflash/flashblock etc. And the safari addon I mentioned.

      And since the last update, lion doesn’t freeze with flash anymore!

      1. The article writer doesn’t seem to be aware of the fact that, in Safari, ClickToPlugin (basically a superset of ClickToFlash) works just fine even if you don’t have Flash installed. This is what I use for internet video.

        Also, another handy trick is to activate the “Developer” menu in Safari, and have your browser declare itself to be an iPad instead. (You’d be amazed how many sites tell your Mac’s browser that you have to install the cruddy Adobe Flash Player, yet will happily serve up H.264 HTML5 video to the exact same browser posing as an iPad.)

      2. @FTB:
        – There is a Safari Extension called YouTube5 that forces YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook videos to as HTML5 video.
        – There is also the good old ClickToFlash Safari extension (kin to ClickToPlugin) that stops Flash dead until you decide to run it.
        – The TED HTML5 Video Player Safari extension forces all TED conference website videos to play as HTML5.
        Safari Cookies allows you to delete all unwanted Flash cookies as well as set up a white list for those you want.

        Firefox provides a slew of add-ons to keep Flash crap under control, such as:
        NoScript (Highly recommended in any case)

    1. Actually, depending on your website needs, it *is* actually possible to go Flash-free.

      To help plug the gap, I use ClickToPlugin for Safari to watch internet video – it works just fine even if Flash isn’t installed, and substantially reduces one of the main reasons for Flash use. (You’d be surprised just how many video sites have the technical capability to deliver HTML5 H.264 video to your browser, but choose to serve up the cruddy Flash player anyway.)

  1. Flash needs to become an obscure plug-in that your browser will load only when you use an obscure web-site with a complex online interactive application that cannot be developed using any other currently available technology. At present, I would venture a guess that 95% of Flash content today could be completely replicated using non-Flash solutions (CSS, ordinary HTML, AJAX tools, etc). Out of that 95%, vast majority is likely in the form of online interactive video playback applets. For none of this content is Flash necessary, nor optimal as a solution.

    Then there is this interactive Flash content that would simply be either impossible or too difficult to deliver without Flash. Sites such as PlayhouseDisney, PBSKids, NickJR, MoshiMonster, ClubPenguin and similar children’s online games come to mind. While these have rather large audiences, they still represent a fairly small percentage of Flash content out there that can’t be recreated without Flash.

    Large online content players have already begun their move away form Flash over a year ago. While a year may be an eternity in the field of technology advancements, in the area of corporate business, it is barely a blip, as corporations tend to move at a glacial pace. And yet, so many of them have so quickly made this move away from Flash, clearly recognising the power of iOS and its intelligent and affluent customer base. THis trend will surely continue at even faster pace, until Flash content remains that niche area where absolutely no amount of creativity can replicate the functionality without using Flash. That is exactly where Flash belongs — esoteric, niche market corners.

  2. Unfortunately, Flash is used by large broadcasters in UK for streaming content. I am sure it’s used by other broadcasters throughout the world. It works for their copyright control and who can blame them. There may be alternatives, but that won’t make them change overnight. I like watching iPlayer or 4oD or whatever. So in this way, Apple is being arrogant and attempting to alienate a % of their users. It pisses me off that one company can attempt to sideline one technology…for what?

    1. For a very, very good reason. Flash is actually NOT necessary in order to deliver the content your UK streaming providers are delivering. Even for DRM delivery, there are now alternative options.

      It is not Apple that is alienating users; it is content owners who refuse to deliver their content to the affluent, intelligent and educated users that iOS brings to the market. Users are not going to abandon their expensive devices, just so that they can get to some Flash content somewhere. If they can’t get their content because it is encumbered by Flash, they’ll simply seek content elsewhere. That’s how free and open markets work.

    2. They’re using copyright control a five year old computer n00b can circumvent. Also the BBC was still using real media up until a few years ago.

      It’s done because of incompetence and corruption. The BBC is a Microsoft sponsored organisation – funded with ‘contributions’ out of steve ballmers PR budget.

  3. I find that on YouTube the flash version of videos loads 2 to 3 times faster than the H264 version. In fact, the H264 version often stalls completely half way through loading. And playing either format sends my CPU usage soaring. So I’ve actually gone back to flash for YouTube. Unfortunately.

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