Adobe’s Flash plug-in has a big target painted on it. A recent leak shows there’s another Flash Player 0-day that allows attackers to compromise your computer, and that it’s been for sale for the last four years.
Flash is going away, and everyone should uninstall it at some point in the future. Here’s how to get rid of Flash, whether you’re using a browser’s built-in plug-in or a system-wide plug-in on Windows, Mac OS X, Chrome OS, or Linux.
Flash is much less necessary than it’s ever been. Modern mobile platforms like Android and Apple’s iOS don’t offer Flash support at all, and that’s slowly pushing Flash out of the web.
You may find you don’t need Flash at all after you uninstall it. Even if you do need Flash right now, there’s a good chance you won’t need it at all in a few years.
If necessary, you can reinstall Flash later. If you need Flash for something, you may want to only install Flash for a specific browser and leave it disabled in your main browser. At the very least, you should enable click-to-run for Flash content so it doesn’t automatically run on web pages you visit.
Chrome includes a bundled Flash plug-in on all the platforms it supports. If you’d like to disable this plug-in, you have to do it from within Chrome’s settings. Note that Chrome will also use any PPAPI Flash plug-ins you’ve installed system-wide.
To disable it, plug chrome://plugins/ into Google Chrome’s location bar and press Enter. Click the “Disable” link under the Adobe Flash Player plug-in.
Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft now bundles a Flash plug-in along with Windows. This is used by both different Internet Explorer browsers on Windows 8 and 8.1, as well as the Internet Explorer browser on Windows 10.
To disable the built-in Flash plug-in for Internet Explorer on modern versions of Windows, open Internet Explorer, click the gear menu, and select “Manage add-ons.” Click the Show box and select “All add-ons.” Locate “Shockwave Flash Object” under “MIcrosoft Windows Third Party Application Component,” select it, and click the Disable button. You can also disable the built-in Flash plug-in via group policy.
Microsoft Edge includes a built-in Flash plug-in, too — in fact, this is the only browser plug-in Edge can even run. To disable it, click the menu button in Edge and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the Settings panel and click “View advanced settings.” Set the “Use Adobe Flash Player” slider to “Off.”
Adobe offers three separate Flash player plug-ins for Windows. There’s an ActiveX plug-in for Internet Explorer, an NPAPI plug-in for Firefox, and a PPAPI plug-in for Opera and Chromium. Depending on the browsers you use and the Flash plug-ins you’ve installed, you may have one ore more of these on your system.
Visit the Control Panel and view your list of installed programs. You’ll see any Flash plug-ins you have installed here. Uninstall all the plug-ins beginning with “Adobe Flash Player.”
Adobe provides two different Flash plug-ins for Mac OS X, too. There’s an NPAPI plug-in for Safari and Firefox, as well as a PPAPI plug-in for Opera and Chromium.
To uninstall these Flash plug-ins on a Mac, visit Adobe’s website and download the Flash plug-in uninstaller. Run the uninstaller to remove Flash from your Mac. If you’re not sure whether you have Flash installed on your Mac and you don’t want it, just download the uninstaller and try to uninstall it.
How you go about uninstalling Flash on Linux depends on how you installed it in the first place.
For example, if you’re using Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or Debian and you installed it from the software repositories, you can uninstall it by running the following commands in a terminal.
sudo apt-get remove flashplugin-installer
For the PPAPI, or Chromium, version of the Flash plug-in:
sudo update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --uninstall
You’ll be surprised at just how much of the web works properly without Flash installed. Even if you do need Flash, we recommend against having Flash automatically load and run on web pages you visit — click-to-play is a bare minimum security feature. It will help you save CPU resources, battery power, and bandwidth while browsing the web, too.