Adobe announced today that it will discontinue Flash support and updates at the end of 2020. Flash played an important part in the history of the web, inspiring many of the open standards and formats that the web has moved on to embrace.
Given this progress, and in collaboration with several of our technology partners – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla – Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.
Last year most major browsers moved to block Flash, requiring users to enable it manually for sites where they wish to view Flash content. Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla were on deck today with announcements of their own regarding future Flash support. Firefox is the most aggressive with its plan to disable Flash for most users in 2019. Only those running an Extended Support Release will be able to continue using it through the end of 2020 and no version of Firefox will load the plugin after Adobe discontinues security patches.
Chrome is also phasing out support for Flash and plans to remove it completely from the browser toward the end of 2020.
“Three years ago, 80 percent of desktop Chrome users visited a site with Flash each day,” Google Chrome Product Manager Anthony Laforge said. “Today usage is only 17 percent and continues to decline.
“This trend reveals that sites are migrating to open web technologies, which are faster and more power-efficient than Flash. They’re also more secure, so you can be safer while shopping, banking, or reading sensitive documents.”
The Microsoft Edge team also announced its plans to phase out Flash from both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer with complete removal from all supported versions of Microsoft Windows by the end of 2020.
Although HTML5 adoption is growing among game developers, Adobe’s announcement means major changes for segments of the the gaming, education, and video industries that have not yet migrated to newer, open formats. This news will also make obsolete dozens of WordPress plugins that were created to upload and display Flash content.
Adobe’s announcement was met with thanks and “good riddance,” with many calling for an even speedier timeline. Many are also concerned about all the orphaned content and .swf games on the web that Flash’s disappearance will create. Adobe has received many requests on Twitter for the company to consider open sourcing the old Flash Player codebase for the sake of compatibility and archiving content. Adobe has not officially replied to any of these requests.