How to disable the Flash plugin for Chrome

Enough is enough. After years of dealing with Adobe Flash — be it performance issues or repeated security issues, with the latest zero-day fix dropping today (opens in new tab) in response to Sunday's "Hacking Team" revelation (opens in new tab) — it's time to disable Flash in Chrome. (Update: A third zero-day was announced (opens in new tab) on July 12.) You can kill it with fire and just disable it altogether, or set Flash to run only when you explicitly tell it to. But either way, it's time to take back the desktop browser.

So when it comes to turning off Flash in Chrome, you've got a couple options.

How to set Flash to run only when you want it to

Flash in Chrome

This is probably the option most folks will want. There are still times when you might need to run a Flash element — and we're not talking about display ads that will grind the fastest computer to a halt. Here's how to set Flash to run on-demand in Chrome:

  1. Get into your Chrome settings, available at chrome://settings.
  2. Head to the "Privacy" section and click on "Content settings."
  3. Scroll down to "Plugins" and select "Let me choose when to run plugin content."

The next time you run into a piece of Flash content, you'll see a gray box instead. To run that element, you'll need to hold down the "control" key on your keyboard and then click on the element. And then you'll need to allow it to run. This will block awful Flash ads (among other Flash content) but still give you the option to use a Flash element if it's really and truly important.

Flash on Demand

And this is what it looks like in action.

If things get too wonky for you, try the "Detect and run important plugin content" option instead.

How to disable Flash in Chrome

Disable Flash in Chrome

If you want to disable Flash in Chrome altogether, that's also an easy thing to do — just remember that this is completely disabling the plugin, not just giving you the option to use it when you need.

Here's how to disable Flash in Chrome:

  1. Go to chrome://plugins.
  2. Scroll down until you find the "Adobe Flash Player" plugin.
  3. Click the "Disable" link to disable the Flash plugin in Chrome.

And that's that. You've now disabled Flash in Chrome.

Phil Nickinson
  • oops. --edited due to a reading error on my part :)
  • And how are we supposed to watch videos huh? Posted via the One M9
  • Silverlight. J/K, HTML5
  • I cannot wait for HTML 5 to kill flash once and for all, we are still years off though. More likely it will be HTML 6-7 Sent via carrier duck. They were out of pigeons
  • It took something like 10 years to certify HTML5. Flash will die years before we get HTML6. Posted from my Asus ZenFone 2.
  • Except HTML5 won't be fully implemented till about 2020, from what I read a couple years ago. A lot of news sites still use flash players for videos and so do other media sites. Even CBS and CC is still using Flash on their full sites.
  • I changed the settings to "Detect and run important plugin contents" and my macbooks batter life jumped from 5 hrs to ~7 hours now. google will make this the default option in Chrome 34.
  • Except they're currently using Chrome 43, with 44 in the beta channel, and 45 in development.
  • Chrome 34? Chrome is currently on version 43....
  • Cheers for the heads up Phil.
  • "2.Head to the 'Privacy' section and click on 'Choose settings.'"
    On my Chrome that is actually called "Content settings."
  • Yep. I got wires crossed there.
  • Two years ago, I'd say "meh" to having issues with flash. Considering that lately I even had to format the computer to get rid of a nasty issue that made chrome freeze on any page that used flash, and the only consistently working fix was to clear out nearly all data on chrome, I installed an extension that blocks that ad-showing piece of software from hell, and only acitvate it when absolutely necessary. Gods, I wish more sites would abandon flash and move to html5, but html isn't so easy to work DRM into, so content providers are basically what's holding flash afloat at this point.
  • And guys, I know this is off topic, but I need help with my Google voice. It's still not working despite everything I tried so far. Is the service still working or not? I have the One M9 and since I had I haven't been able to place any call Posted via the One M9
  • works fine for me
  • I even tried on the galaxy s4 of my brother, and still the same problem. Ppl says it works fine, but on my end its the complete contrary and its very frustrating Posted via the One M9
  • Yeah man, nothing you can do. Shouldn't have bought a phone you can grill steak on the back of. Delivered by my Nexus V
  • Really just REALLY❓ Posted via the Android Central App
  • Since Flash in Chrome is fully sandboxed on all versions, is this necessary? Google did this in 2012 for this exact reason regarding zero days. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Flash 0-day leaked from Hacking Team worked on Chrome (as well as Firefox and IE.) Sandboxing didn't help. There was video proof posted, and i tried it out myself in a VM.
  • Does it work with malwarebytes anti exploit installed, or with emet installed?
  • Die Flash! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Awesome! I count 5 ads on this page blocked after I disabled and refreshed.
  • No kidding....this exact site is the reason I disabled Flash months ago
  • Yep. Same here. Those ads with audio are the MOST ANNOYING THING IN THE WORLD! Posted via my Nexus 6
  • Question: I've been using the FlashControl extension in Chrome and it seems to do the trick. Anyone have an opinion on whether this is same/better/worse than changing Chrome settings to "Let me choose..." option for plug-ins?
  • If anything, it will stop the content from caching and running. Not sure if it disables flash outright for the tab, but its a heck of a lot better than letting it run amok
  • AdBlock Plus chrome extension disables All Flash ads preventing them from eating up ram and cpu on PC's, but still allows flash video content with video players. Gives a way better experience and faster browsing, especially if you like to have a lot of multiple tabs open.
  • I actually feel kind of bad, now; 70% of the adds on your page aren't showing now. Do they get any feedback that their ads aren't showing because of Flash? I know sites like AC and DL (which comprise 60% of my browsing) depend on advertising.
  • When an ad is obtrusive and obnoxious even when I love the site I lose no sleep disabling them Posted via the Android Central App
  • Especially the annoying ones on this site that have audio you cant turn off.
  • Now those are the worst. I would Never Ever design one of those. All the reasons I pretty much turn away all PointRoll work. Audio and video autoplay is well, you know the words.
  • I won't disable flash. All these reports a few years ago about html5 replacing it never materialised. Using chrome for Android I often encounter problems where my content cannot be displayed, especially streaming video. If anything Android should get flash support once again. Over and out.
  • I may be part of the minority, but I agree with you. Posted via the Android Central App using a Project fi-less Nexii 6
  • Ya OK......... Posted via my Nexus 6
  • I agree! HTML5 videos are always laggy and not as smooth as their flash equivalents. Flash has be tweaked over years so it's better than most sites crappy implementations of HTML5. Sad part is when they removed flash on Android I used to really still need it on most sites on the internet but as of the last year most sites have switched to HTML5, which like I said above isn't always so great...
  • As a programmer and designer, I could not agree with you more.
  • I agree. I have to use a different browser sometimes because of Chrome and I assume Flash issues.
  • Fully agree. Not because I'm a fan of flash, just realistic - there are a lot of things that still need it and its annoying when you come across sites with content you can't view because you are using Chrome on your tablet. I sometimes use puffin browser to get around it but its just a poor state of affairs that we have a situation where flash is no longer supported on android but it still has not died leaving us in a no mans land. All I want is my browser to let me have the same experience as on a PC. That obviously doesn't mean hobbilng the desktop version either Google!
  • Wesley1, benurd, I agree too which is why I use Dolphin with Flash on my phone and tablet.
  • Is it necessary to kill it on the phone or just PC?
  • Chrome on Android doesn't contain Flash. In fact Flash hasn't been supported on Android for a few years now. Oh and Flash has never existed on iOS officially so nothing to do there either.
  • So it turns out Steve Jobs knew what he was talking about... :D
  • I've been disabling plug ins for months. Chrome is much faster without all the crap. Posted via my Nexus 6
  • I just got rid of Chrome. It's a serious battery hog and nothing special as a browser. Firefox runs way better.
  • I remember ppl saying dual core would kill flash lag Posted via the Android Central App
  • Flash lag, lol.
  • This may be a stupid question but......if I completely disable flash, what would I use to run things that would normally use flash?
  • you will not, unless you use hulu the rest of the legit sites actually use html5, even netflix started migrading a few months back
  • Is this really noticeable? Posted via the Android Central App
  • A this stage you can't attribute Flash's repeated 0-days to mere incompetence. They have so many exploits over and over again, despite alleged attempts at sandboxing and isolation. I'm sure they are deliberately introducing vulnerabilities - wouldn't put it past the NSA to have infiltrated Adobe given the Snowden revelations
  • Firefox and cyberfox both have many add ons that allow you to pick manually or automatically to use flash or html on desktop. I'll exploring if it also works on mobile. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why are all of you people bragging about installing extensions in your Chrome browser when the built in "Let me choose when to run plugin content" does the exact same thing without taking extra resources to run the "protection" extension? "Let me choose when to run plugin content" lets you view Flash content if you want to, but never loads nor caches it otherwise. On a PC, it's a simple right click instead of Ctrl-click to give you the option to run Flash.
  • Disable? Had to used tricks to get Flash working on Android 4.44 and eventually only Dolphin partially accepted Flash. Under Chrome (although the plugin has been enabled) does not work.
  • What about the flash games?
    The majority of games are in flash, and very few are in HTML5.
    Wouldn't that decision have a big impact at those sites?
  • Thanks for the heads up on this, Phil. I have disabled and given my clients instructions to do the same for all of the big four browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari). Have also taken advantage of Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit. Looks like a good addition to the arsenal.
  • This is how I make my money, by designing ads. Currently HTML5 isn't even close to what we can design. I have been hearing this for years. It comes and goes. If HTML5 were as dynamic, and had the style we are used to having then I would switch, but when I show clients one in each, they always want the Flash version. Creating an ad with HTML and CSS, is just not there yet. Ya, sure other things can be implemented within the ad, but still not there yet. What I am excited about is the interactivity of HTML5 ads and apps, and users. It will get interesting at some point.
  • My Galaxy S6 says Flash is not supported on my device-am I having iPhone flashbacks?
  • Thanks Phil