Adobe’s Flash Player is dead. From January 1, the notorious product is officially at the end of its life.
Adobe’s software has reached end-of-life status as of January 1, 2021. In concrete terms, this means that Flash will no longer be updated, both with functional updates and security patches. Adobe also no longer distributes the software, although current users can continue to use Flash until January 12 – if they dare.
Flash’s death comes as no surprise. Adobe already mentioned the end-of-life status in 2017. In the last months of 2020, many software makers have made an effort to actively phase out the software with users. Adobe itself began sending prompts to active users this summer to notify them of impending death, and in October Microsoft released an update to remove Flash from Windows systems. Users therefore had to put in a lot of effort to still use the software.
The end of the Flash Player is the end of an iconic piece of software. Flash emerged at a time when cross-browser support wasn’t exactly the norm among developers. As a result, interactive elements on websites often only worked on browser X but not on Y. Flash made such animated web pages and elements unambiguously available on multiple platforms. In general, the software also offered many options for making sites more dynamic, but also for designing games or embedding videos in it, for example.
Flash fell out of favor a few years ago. Two key moments before it moved away was when Apple decided not to support the software on iOS, and in 2015 when YouTube swapped Flash for HTML5. Adobe itself says that there are now enough alternatives to Flash, such as WebGL and WebAssembly.
In addition to declining use, Flash has also been plagued by many security problems since the beginning. Flash struggled with a long list of vulnerabilities, which were not always repaired quickly, especially in the early years. It also regularly involved serious vulnerabilities that, for example, made remote code executions possible. Although Adobe made more effort in recent years to patch the software in a timely manner, the image of vulnerability remained around the software. But at the same time Flash will also feel nostalgic for many.