Back in July 2017, Adobe announced its decision to halt distribution and updates for Flash Player at the end of 2020. It’s now 2021, and so the end has come and gone.
The last Flash Player update was released on December 8, 2021. In its release notes, Adobe wrote, “We want to take a moment to thank all of our customers and developers who have used and created amazing Flash Player content over the last two decades. We are proud that Flash had a crucial role in evolving web content across animation, interactivity, audio, and video. We are excited to help lead the next era of digital experiences.”
Flash content will still run in Flash Player for now, but that will stop starting from January 12. In the December 8 release notes, Adobe advised users to uninstall Flash Player “immediately” to protect their systems. As far back as in September 9, 2019, Microsoft announced that its Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge would disable Flash Player by default, while it would be “completely removed from all browsers by December 31, 2020” through a Windows Update.
Flash Player, which first launched as FutureSplash Animator in 1996, used to be widely-used, being able to create games, animation, and websites, as well as providing audio and video playback. As Wired UK wrote, Adobe once boasted that it was “installed on nearly 98 per cent of Internet enabled desktops”.
Things have changed since, and companies like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitch have ditched Flash Player for HTML5, which contributed to Flash Mobile’s demise, over the last few years. Flash Player was also noted for suffering from security issues. Still, it made quite an impact during its prime, and the Internet Archive even decided to preserve Flash animations and games via an emulator.