How Flash works with Safari 11 in macOS High Sierra

While sites and services continually adopt newer technologies such as HTML5 in the place of Flash and other older plug-ins, in your internet activity you'll likely find that Flash is still a major component of a number of sites. Some browsers still treat these plug-ins the same as they always have, but Safari has a different way of interacting with Flash than it has in the past.

For one thing, Flash is off by default.

How Flash works in Safari on macOS High Sierra

Since macOS Sierra, Adobe's Flash plug-in has been turned off in Safari by default to encourage users — and websites — to use HTML5 for features like video, and this remains true in macOS High Sierra. This is because Flash is easily exploitable, and if someone with nefarious intentions hacks the plug-in or the site, Apple previously couldn't prevent users from being exposed.

Flash permission

However, there are some sites and services, such as Hulu, Spotify, and Pandora, that require the use of Flash for video playback, music streaming, and more. When you visit one of these sites in Safari, by default you'll see either a black screen with a button saying Click to use Flash or the website will encourage you to download Flash. If Flash is installed, when you click the link to download, you'll be presented with a dialogue box asking if you want to use Flash on the current site just once, or every time you visit. Clicking either will allow you to watch the video as you normally would.

In addition to these new Flash permissions, you can also control these settings on a more granular basis in Safari's settings. Here's how.

How to manage Adobe Flash in Safari

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Click on Safari in the Menu bar.

  1. Click on Preferences
  2. Click the Websites tab.

  1. Click on Adobe Flash Player under Plug-ins.
  2. Click on the drop-down menus next to the names of currently-open sites in Safari.

Click Adobe Flash Player, click drop-down menu

  1. Use the menus to decide if Flash will run, stay off, or ask to be run on the sites in questions.
  2. Click the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page to determine the same thing for all other sites.


Want to know more about how Flash and Safari operate in macOS High Sierra? Let us know below.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

  • How to use Flash Player in macOS Sierra. 1. Do nothing Flash player is slow, buggy and resource-intensive which will drain your battery. There's a reason why iOS never included it, there's a reason why Android removed it. If you _really_ need to use Flash Player for a website that requires it, just install Google Chrome and use that for Flash content, it comes with a sandboxed version so there's no real security issues
  • Flash is often associated with Video, but that's not all its used for. Your FUD is not helpful.
  • Flash is rarely used on the internet anymore as there are viable replacements for any use of it, and Flash is just terrible. As I mentioned, it's slow, buggy, resource-intensive, and it also creates security-concerns if not used in a sandboxed environment. That being said, I didn't say you couldn't still use Flash content, I just recommend Chrome as it sandboxes it in Chrome's environment and it doesn't allow it to be accessed anywhere outside of Chrome. There are some UK TV catch-up websites that still use Flash for video, and my mom has to put up with it being slow, jumpy and sometimes crashing. She asks me why it crashes and there's no advice I can offer to her. We shouldn't be using technology that causes these kind of issues in 2016
  • I look forward to the day when I can run iOS apps on my desktop/laptop. If only for video apps like Hulu & Netflix. Microsoft at least TRIED to get this to work, but those apps come with their own bugs.
  • Netflix should support HTML5 video
  • It works on Windows (See Netflix, etc.). Just need developers to develop - and SUPPORT - the apps. Bugs don't fix themselves ;-)
  • Thanks iMore. Isaiah Heart.
  • when i play flash videos on fullscreen the cursor won't disappear, spacebar doesn't pause/play and my mac (MacBook air, os sierra, everything updated) goes to sleep. it looks like the fullscreen window is not the active window. any suggestion on what to do?
  • Welcome to Adobe Flash. What videos are you trying to play?