Are websites telling you to install Flash in Safari, even though you’ve already installed it? Here’s what’s going on, and how to get those sites working again.

Safari 10, the latest version of Apple’s desktop browser, does not tell websites that Adobe Flash is installed. The idea is that such sites will default to a non-Flash solution, the way they do on mobile. When this works, it’s wonderful. Playback is smoother, and features like picture in picture mode actually work. Many sites, however, don’t offer a non-Flash option, which is why you’re being told to install a program you already have.

I’ve already had problems with Pandora,, and WatchESPN, and I’m sure there are many other sites with problems. Here’s how to enable Flash on individual sites, so you can get back to streaming.

Open the site that isn’t working, then head to Safari > Preferences in the menu bar. Click the “Security” tab, then the “Plug-in Settings” button.

A sub-menu will pop out, showing you currently open sites alongside anything you’ve previously enabled.

Click the dropdown beside any site to enable Flash for it. Alternatively, you can tell Safari to ask you before using Flash.

At the bottom of the window, you’ll see an option for “When Visiting Other Websites”–this lets you enable Flash across the board. We don’t recommend you do this, because most of the time all you’ll be doing is enabling intrusive ads.

Refresh your site, and everything should now work.

If you enable the “Ask” option, you’ll see a notification like this:

It’s annoying, but it’s the only real way to ensure Flash is never enabled without you knowing about it.


Avoiding Flash is not a bad idea, by the way. We’ve suggested users disable Flash by default in their browser for a while now, because it bogs down your computer and is a common vector for malware. It would be wonderful if every site stopped using Flash. And many sites have, from YouTube to Vimeo to Netflix. Apple is, by blocking Flash by default, trying to encourage web developers everywhere to drop Flash too.

But the short term consequence is confused users, who are essentially pawns in Apple’s plan. Right now users are being told that Flash isn’t installed, even when it is. There must be a better way to get web developers to drop Flash.

Profile Photo for Justin Pot Justin Pot
Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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