Mac OS: How to uninstall Flash (and why we all should)

Wake up. Time to die.

Fail, fail, failed

Adobe Flash has failed. It has become an unfortunate (and unwanted) Internet-transmitted boil digital natives must lance at once. The poor creature has been mistreated for so long and has become so sick that it is kinder to let it go.

Twenty stuttering years of delivering compromised user experiences mean Flash is history.

Please don’t deny this – software that hackers can so easily use to subvert your security is utterly unacceptable. Online risk is understood, and no one in their right mind sees after the event updates as sufficient security. That some Flash exploits have been around for four years underlines just how messy things have become.

The modern security environment demands 360-degree vigilance, 24 hours a day, and any vendor failing to provide this has no place on your machine. It's not as if the lousy security record around Flash is anything new – it goes way back. Remember these words from Steve Jobs?

Not news

“Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now,” Jobs wrote.

Flash is such a bundle of hurt Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, this month said: "It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day.”

Browser developers also appear to be becoming impatient.

I know Adobe claims to be working to improve Flash security, but it has had decades to prove itself. How long does a firm get in which to provide such proof before we hear the fail bell peal? It’s too late, Adobe, we’ve lost patience and you’ve run out of time…


The only reason Flash remains at all is because so many organizations across government, media companies, advertising firms and elsewhere continue to use it, though why their IT staff permit this is incomprehensible to me.

Unfortunately, these organizations lack the momentum to stop using Flash. Inertia, expense and Adobe’s addition of incredibly useful back-end elements makes it hard for them to efficiently replace. It may also be worth considering just how many governments love to spy on their citizens using those secret backdoors Hacking Team used on their behalf

Given this intransigence, we’re going to have to fight in order to prevent Adobe’s flaky Flash strangling the life out of the Web for another decade. We must evict Flash from our systems. It’s not enough to simply disable it in our browsers.

Yes, it will mean losing access to some popular services, but this is only a transition period and if we assume Adobe maintains its now extensive track record of failing to improve the platform, then the industry will catch up. They want eyeballs and will follow the audience eventually. Flash can, will and should be left behind.

Hunger games

Are you with me?

If so, here is how Mac users can remove Flash from their systems (instructions for Windows right here):

Option 1

Use the Adobe Flash uninstaller.

  • Download it, install it, run the uninstaller. Job done. Flash-free.

Option 2

Remove it manually

A little more complex but by no means impossible.

  • Open a Finder Window and Go To Macintosh HD/Library/Internet Plug-ins. There are two files you need to find:
  • flashplayer.xpt
  • Flash Player.plugin
  • You can either pop these files into a folder somewhere or just delete them – it’s no problem to reinstall Flash, if you’re forced to do so.

You are now Flash free. Let’s hope it’s the start of a trend.

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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