I’ve Gone Flashless

Last week, I decided to completely remove Flash from my MacBook Air, just to see if I could survive without it, but what I noticed instead were some rather interesting performance improvements. I had about a two-hour increase in battery life, and I never heard the fans run once throughout the entire week. That was enough to convince me to remove it from my iMac too.

Uninstalling Flash was easy. I just downloaded the uninstaller, but you could also simply remove the related files from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/.

Living without Flash was far easier than I thought. I simply installed the YouTube5 and HTML5 Audio Safari extensions, and I was ready to go. These two extensions dig deep into the Flash players from some of my favorite audio and video sites to grab the source file and present it in a pleasant non-Flash player. Yes, Vimeo does use an HTML5 player now, and YouTube has an HTML5 beta, but I have run into some embeds that still use the Flash players, and the YouTube5 extension seems to get around most of those with ease.

I have found that a shocking number of sites have Flashless alternatives when they realize that you don’t even have Flash installed, but there are of course some that absolutely require Flash, and that’s where Chrome and its built-in Flash plugin comes in handy. At Preferences -> Advanced in Safari, I checked “Show Develop menu in menu bar,” then set a keyboard shortcut at System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts for “Google Chrome” in Safari. Now, when I encounter a page that absolutely requires Flash, all I have to do is press control-c to open the current page in Chrome.

If your laptop has a curiously short battery life and overactive fans, I highly recommend uninstalling Flash.