Ditch the 
Flash and 
battery’s life

My main computer is a powerful 15-inch MacBook Pro with 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB RAM, and 256 SSD.

By Mac Talk With Magnus Nystedt

Published: Sun 12 Feb 2012, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:52 AM

That’s just about as powerful of a portable Mac that you can get right now. Unfortunately, it’s still not powerful enough to run Adobe Flash comfortably without the fan coming on and battery life draining dramatically.

This is not meant as yet another exercise to complain about Flash, there’s plenty of that around the web already, including Steve Jobs’ famous words in the open letter about Flash from 2010. But I do think that you need to know this, so you have a choice.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: in my experience, often when my Mac runs its fan and things slow down, I find that Flash is to blame. In such a case, firing up Activity Monitor will usually reveal who the culprit is. More often than not, at least for me, Adobe Flash is causing the CPU to spin out of control.

So what can you do about this, if you experience the same problem I have?

First of all, I would suggest you install a plugin in your web browser that blocks any Flash by default and only runs it if you click to allow it. That way, you can still enjoy Flash and use it when you need to, without it running all the time.

There are such tools for all major web browsers and just searching for Flash in their repositories of plugins, add-ons, and extensions, should give you several to choose from.

The other option is to uninstall Flash altogether, a much more permanent solution obviously. Adobe is nice enough to provide a simple uninstaller for that, which you can get from http://png.dm/zsDQOO.

Since October 2010, when the latest iteration of the MacBook Air launched, Apple does not include Adobe’s Flash Player by default anymore, so you have to go download it yourself if you want it. My advice to you would be to not do this and instead use Google Chrome, at least when you need to run Flash, as it has its own built-in Flash player.

That way you can run Safari, Firefox or some other web browser Flash-free and get better performance, and only start up Chrome when you need to. Of course, I prefer Chrome to the other browsers right now, so I use it all the time, to the detriment of my MacBook Pro.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Flash has its uses (FarmVille, anyone?) and can be a wonderful tool for animation, games, and more. But it can also be a terrible resource-drainer on your Mac, and you should have better control over what happens.

I think it’s good that Adobe is now moving towards HTML5 and other alternatives to Flash. However, there’s so much Flash content already on the web that we’ll just have to live with it for many years to come, for better or for worse.

Magnus Nystedt, @mnystedt

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