Flash is on its way out. Adobe announced in July 2017 that it would stop supporting the previously ubiquitous plug-in in 2020.
That's because Flash use is dramatically decreasing, with Google reporting only 17 percent of Chrome users visit a site with Flash each day. That number is down from 80 percent three years ago.
Google’s Chrome browser automatically turns off Flash by default, but someday you may need it. You should know how to enable Flash in Chrome when that situation comes up.
And your time to enable Flash in Chrome is running short. Google will no longer support Flash at the end of 2020. Here's what you need to know about that upcoming transition.
But until then, here's what you need to know.
How to enable Flash in Chrome
Step 1: Go to Content Settings
Rather than being forced to navigate through menus, the easiest way to access Chrome settings is via the address bar. Enter chrome://settings/content into the address bar and press enter.
Step 2: Scroll to the Flash tab
Step 3: Turn off “Block sites from running Flash.”
Once you turn off the “Block sites from Running Flash” button, you’ll notice the feature is now set to “Ask first.” From this point on, when you encounter a Flash plug-in, you’ll be asked if you want to activate it for that particular site.
How to activate a Flash plug-in in Chrome
Step 1: Go to a site that requires Flash
For old time’s sake, let's use Newgrounds, the legendary Flash-based game site that birthed titles like Alien Hominid and N+. We’re loading Duke Dashington Remastered for this example.
Step 2: Find the grey box marked “Click to enable Flash Player.”
When you encounter a site that uses Flash, from this point on you’ll see a notice a blank grey box with “Click to enable Adobe Flash Player” and the outline of a puzzle piece. That's where your Flash plug-in is located.
Step 3: Click the button and then confirm again in the pop-up
When you select “Click to enable Adobe Flash Player,” a pop-up will appear at the top of the screen. Select the “Allow” button. This will reload your current page.
Step 4: Enjoy your content
You only have to allow Flash once per page, so the next time you visit Newgrounds, even if you play a different game, you’re all set. Remember when visiting a site you’re not familiar with to regularly run a virus check on your computer to make sure you don’t accidentally pick up any bugs along the way.
How to check what sites have Flash enabled in Chrome
If you're curious about which sites you've enabled Flash on, there's an easy way to tell via the Content/Flash menus. Go to chrome://settings/content/flash and scroll to the bottom. You'll see a list of each site you've enabled Flash on.
The death of Adobe Flash is bittersweet. It’s true the plug-in is long past its usefulness, especially in the face of more secure platforms like HTML5.
But Flash, for all its faults, provided a foundation for countless web pioneers to express themselves. While plenty of sites will update in the future to bring their projects to the new standards, countless others will be lost to time and obsolescence.
You have until 2020 to enjoy them all.