Flash is dead and that's a good thing — but it also makes us sad

The once ubiquitous internet platform is on its final death march.

Finishing one of Steve Jobs' final missions for world, Apple has completely removed support for Adobe Flash in its latest release of Safari Technology Preview — indicating that its upcoming formal release of Safari will soon follow suit. Previously, users looking to play Flash content needed to actively install a plugin. Now, Flash is well and truly dead.

A nostalgic scene.

For the youth among us who may be unfamiliar, Flash was an internet technology created in the 90s by Jonathan Gay and Charlie Jackson that evolved out of animation software developed for the Macintosh and a company (later owned by AT&T) called Go's PenPoint operating system. It sounds incredibly boring — and it was! — but it eventually gave rise to a variety of beloved animated web series and browser-based video games like Homestar Runner, VVVVVV, Trials, Alien Hominid, Canabalt. If you've ever ended up on a website called NewGrounds, Flash was the reason why. Thanks to its small file sizes, ease of development, and free bundling with Windows XP and popular browsers like Internet Explorer, Netscape, and AOL, Flash was at one point installed on 92 percent of internet users' machines.


Flash's greatest gift to the internet, however, remains a small, niche company called YouTube which utilized its streaming media capabilities to shrink the world's collective attention span. Though it has long since switched delivery methods, user uploaded content would not be where it is today without Flash as a stepping stone.

For all its storied past, though, it has been long since time for Flash to die. Since the introduction of the iPhone, which famously eschewed support for the platform, HTML 5, CSS 3, WebGL, and JavaScript have proven to be safer, more efficient solutions for mobile chipsets and operating systems like iOS and Android (though it should be noted that one of Android's early selling points was it's attempt to support Flash – to poor results). The content that Flash pioneered — from games to web animation — have found better homes in the App and Play Stores or in dedicated apps like YouTube and Netflix.

MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

Though Flash hasn't been supported by the internet's browser of choice, Chrome, since 2017 and its ultimate demise had long been scheduled for 2020 by Adobe itself, the platform's removal from Safari feels like a period on the end of its story. Thank you for Trogdor, the Burninator, Flash. Now go quietly into that good night.