Ohio University

Adobe Flash Player ends December 31st. What does this mean for you?

On January 1, 2021, Adobe Flash content will no longer function. All major browsers and operating systems will issue updates that will remove Flash compatibility.

What is Flash?

If you have used the internet in the past 25 years, chances are you’ve used Adobe Flash Player to display certain types of video, multimedia, and interactive elements. As web standards have evolved over the years, Adobe Flash has become increasingly obsolete because internet browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, etc.) can natively display rich content that used to be exclusively mediated by a separately-installed Flash plug-in.

In 2017, Adobe announced that Flash would reach end-of-life at the end of 2020. This advance notice gave content owners time to convert their Flash content to other supported formats. For most end users, these conversions made it so that you could simply consume rich web content without using a separate plug-in. However, some Flash content is still out there, most often on websites that are not regularly maintained, or perhaps even as files you downloaded years ago.

How will I be impacted by Flash end-of-life?

Most likely, you are either not directly impacted by this change, or if you are, or you have been notified by websites or services on how this change will impact their content. However, you may still unknowingly be using Flash content if that content:

  1. is several years old,
  2. is video, multimedia, and/or interactive in nature, AND
  3. requires Adobe Flash Player to run

For example, a virtual frog dissection activity that came with a 2012 biology textbook would most likely have been a Flash file.

How do I check to see if I am currently using Flash content?

The easiest way to know if content requires Flash is to disable the Flash plug-in and then attempt to load the content. If it still loads, you’re in the clear.

A really quick way to perform this check is to use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to load the content. Because these iOS devices have never supported Flash, if the content loads, then it does not use Flash.
If you don’t have access to an iOS device, follow these steps:

  1. Disable Flash in your browser:
  2. Open the content, either by navigating to it in your browser, or by launching the file that you already have downloaded on your computer.
    • Note: If you are launching a Flash file from your computer, it will open up in your browser and require the Flash plug-in to work. Most often, these files end in .swf, .flv, or .fla.
  3. If the content still works, you’re all good!

Oh no! The content I rely on requires Flash. What do I do?

OHIO IT is here to help you convert, modify, or substitute your Flash content to best suit your needs. Submit an Instructional Technology Services Request and select course development and maintenance support.