Going Flash Free

This morning I got pissed off at my Mac.

I use a MacBook Pro 15″ for much of my work. It is a great machine that mixes suitable portability with a decent sized screen and can run a much larger screen when I’m in the office. Love it.

But there are times when it gets really slow and unresponsive. I’ve been investigating this for some time and have slowly removed things that were not helping. But still today my machine went really slow and I decided I had enough of it. Running Activity Monitor (Applications/Utilities) showed the culprit to be Flash, both in Chrome and in Safari, which were both open. I stopped the Chrome Plug-in (Window -> Task Manager) and closed the tabs that had Flash running. I also closed Safari. My machine came back to life, being responsive and fast. So there lay the problem, Flash. I am in the habit of leaving multiple tabs open in my browsers on content I want to look at later and this was killing me if there was Flash content on the page, usually crap I didn’t want anyway, like adds.

So I decided it was time to get rid of Flash once and for all. At the system level you remove the Flash plugin by going to Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ on your boot disk and removing them or (as I did) moving into another folder the files Flash Player.plugin and flashplayer.xpt. This removes Flash from Safari after a reboot.

To remove Flash from Chrome (or rather force Chrome to use the system plugin, which is now gone) you type About:Plugins into the Address field and disable Flash.

You may be asking how I can do without Flash. Well, much of the time I view the web on my iPad. That handles most things well, including playing Youtube videos. I don’t like Flash games and most Flash on normal web pages is ads, which I don’t want to be annoyed with anyway. If I have trouble with this approach I’ll re-enable the built-in Flash plugin in Chrome and simply use Chrome for viewing such content. At least I know now how to just kill the Flash plugin in Chrome anytime it is slowing my machine down.

I’ll report back on my Flash-free life.


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