Adobe Flash was some of the first software to provide shape to a budding, directionless internet. Even today, online veterans look back fondly on all the doors it opened, whether through homemade games, animations, or videos. When it broke that this progenitor was coming to an end, the news spread like wildfire.

Some questions still remain. Is this really the end of Adobe Flash? What about old programs and games that still rely on this software?

That’s a complex answer. Let’s make things simple.

Here’s everything you need to know about the future of Adobe Flash

1. The End of Adobe Flash

Adobe, the company behind the Flash Media Player, warned that it will discontinue support for the software at the end of 2020. But this announcement didn’t come out of the blue. In fact, technological and software advances have pushed Adobe Flash into obsolescence.

10 years ago, Steve Jobs was the first to push away from the plugin. Any programs that used Adobe Flash’s proprietary code had to rely on the parent company for updates. This often presented security and performance issues that Apple wanted to avoid.

For that reason, he chose to preclude Adobe Flash from Apple’s mobile devices. It was an easy decision seeing as a new standard, HTML5, could perform identical functions as Adobe Flash but was completely open for developers.

This wasn’t the end of the storied plug-in. It still found use across a wide array of traditional websites. As security vulnerabilities continued to mount, internet browsers grew weary of Adobe Flash.

Starting in 2015, Google Chrome and then others like Microsoft Edge and Firefox would start blocking Flash components. Now website owners were forced to change to HTML5 to keep things running.

It was 2017, when Adobe Flash was on its deathbed, that the company warned it was pulling support. The push away from this software was so seamless, you probably haven’t noticed.

Four out of five websites relied on Flash just three years ago. Now, that number is below one out of five.

2. Adobe Flash Player Lives On

Since HTML5 is superior to Adobe Flash, who cares if it’s going away? You do. Or at least, you should.

It’s true that HTML5 can do almost everything in Adobe Flash’s wheelhouse. But “almost” is the operative word. HTML5 cannot support programs that rely heavily on animations.

That means the death of animated games and clips, as well as some enterprise-level education tools. When Adobe Flash closes down at the end of 2020, the remaining internet browsers will likely pull the plug on any lingering support. That means these games and tools will no longer be accessible through traditional channels.

3. Get the Adobe Flash Player Download

If you want to run old Flash content, you’ll need to download the Adobe Flash Player yourself. You still have time to save this old content before it’s gone for good, so don’t wait! Adobe Flash files are denoted with the SWF filetype.

For the best compatibility, you’ll want to navigate to the Adobe website and find their debug page. Here, you should locate a list containing multiple different types of Adobe Flash Player. Select the Flash Player projector content debugger.

To play your SWF file, open the Adobe Flash Player and drag the file into the application. It’s that easy. The debugger tool doesn’t require an installation.

You can also play SWF files on other Adobe programs such as Dreamweaver and Animate, but these may have some compatibility issues.

If you are a Mac user, you’ll need to find a different Flash Player download entirely. Click here to learn more about Adobe Flash for Mac.

4. How to Use Adobe Flash Player Safely

If Adobe Flash didn’t have enough security vulnerabilities already, there will be even more once support for this software is dropped. Protect yourself with good internet safety practices.

For one, never download or run an SWF file from an unsafe source. Stick to popular flash domains such as Newgrounds and Kongregate.

If you download a version of Adobe Flash Player that requires installation, such as a plugin, don’t run the software unless you have to. You can enable the plug-in through your internet browser, view the archived content, and then disable the plugin once you’re done.

5. Solving Adobe Flash Compatibility Issues

Sometimes having the right file and the right version of Flash isn’t enough. Some of these Flash files have built-in protections that require users to be online and on the original website. That won’t be an option for much longer.

If you’re struggling to play an old Adobe Flash game, there’s still hope. Some internet historians have created an internet emulator to keep these games running. Best of all, you don’t need the original files to access them.

BlueMaxima’s Adobe Flash archive comprises more than 38,000 games and 300 gigabytes of data. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll probably find it there.

The Future of Flash

When Adobe Flash loses its support at the end of 2020, remaining websites and internet browsers are sure to drop it soon after. It’s truly the end of an era.

While future support for the software will come to a halt, that doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. Get your hands on the software and so long as you have the files, you’ll always be able to enjoy Adobe Flash. It just won’t run on your browser.

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