Adobe Flash, the old plugin we all love to hate, managed to stick around all these years despite two major tectonic shifts, the rise of mobile devices and HTML5. As of today, the plugin is still built-in with Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome, though it's still being regularly criticized for its security issues and impact on battery life. Following many years of denial, Adobe has finally admitted today that it's now time to let it go.
The company has just published a blog post to announce that as open standards such as HTML5 and WebGL are now fully mature technologies, plugins like Flash are no longer necessary. "Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins," acknowledged the company.
As a result, Adobe plans to finally retire Flash in 2020. "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," the company explained. In the meantime, Flash will still be supported on desktop operating systems and web browsers that already integrate it.
In a separate blog post, Microsoft explained that it will phase out Flash from Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer over the next three years. Here is what you can expect:
- Through the end of 2017 and into 2018, Microsoft Edge will continue to ask users for permission to run Flash on most sites the first time the site is visited, and will remember the user’s preference on subsequent visits. Internet Explorer will continue to allow Flash with no special permissions required during this time.
- In mid to late 2018, we will update Microsoft Edge to require permission for Flash to be run each session. Internet Explorer will continue to allow Flash for all sites in 2018.
- In mid to late 2019, we will disable Flash by default in both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. Users will be able to re-enable Flash in both browsers. When re-enabled, Microsoft Edge will continue to require approval for Flash on a site-by-site basis.
- By the end of 2020, we will remove the ability to run Adobe Flash in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer across all supported versions of Microsoft Windows. Users will no longer have any ability to enable or run Flash.
So, Flash will not immediately go away, though Adobe added that it plans to "move more aggressively to EOL Flash in certain geographies where unlicensed and outdated versions of Flash Player are being distributed." The company did not share additional details about these plans though.
The demise of the plugin is obviously good news for consumers and web developers, and we doubt anyone will miss it. Let us know in the comments if you already stopped using Flash on your web browser of choice, and why?