Browsers are slowly chipping away at the web’s Flash dependency, and now Microsoft is sounding the latest death knell for the technology by blocking Flash from loading altogether.
Microsoft says that its next release of Windows 10 will default to HTML5 content when possible and won’t even load Flash content in the background, which should lead to better performance, battery life and security. If a site does rely on Flash, you’ll have to actively select whether you want Flash to load via a prompt.
Previously, Edge would pause certain Flash ads and content that weren’t central to sites, but stopping it from loading could move sites to speed up their transition to leaner, sager technologies. The click-to-run strategy has been employed by others, including Googles Chrome browser to “intelligently” pause unnecessary content on webpages in an effort to save battery for laptop users.
The big caveat is that the change won’t affect some of the biggest sites out there, at least to start. Microsoft says:
“We are deeply aware that Flash is an integral part of many web experiences today. To ease the transition to HTML5, these changes initially will not affect the most popular sites which rely on Flash today. In the coming months, we will actively monitor Flash consumption in Microsoft Edge and will gradually shorten the list of automatic exceptions. At the end of this process, users will remain in control, and will be able to choose Flash for any site they visit.”
Microsoft isn’t clear on exactly how long this transition process will be, but it’s nice to know one more browser is putting its foot down against the scourge of the internet. Windows users will get an early preview of the new Flash-blocking features in an upcoming update. Even Adobe doesn’t think people should use Flash any longer, so there likely won’t be a huge amount of pushback on these changes. Flash is a menace on battery life and is continually found to have serious security flaws, so its eventual disappearance will be celebrated at every step.