If you want to play Flash videos and games on your iPhone or iPad, or access Flash-based websites, you’ll come across a bit of a problem: iOS and iPadOS don’t support it. However, there are various apps available on the App Store that will help, and in this article, we explain how to get Flash on iPad and iPhone.
WARNING: Adobe will end support for Adobe Flash on 31 December 2020 do not download it after that date.
Best Flash apps for iPad and iPhone
Popular browser apps that will enable you to play Flash videos and games on your iPad and iPhone include Photon Browser and Puffin.
The most popular third-party browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Opera no longer support Flash on iOS and iPadOS devices, due to the decreasing popularity of the format.
Photon Browser seems to be the most popular choice for iPad and iPhone users that require Flash support. It costs £4.99/$4.99 app for iPad and £3.99/$3.99 for iPhone, and acts as a good alternative browser to Safari, with a Flash mode that you turn on by tapping the lightning bolt icon in the top-right corner.
Admittedly, turning on Flash does make the browser a little slow, and it’s not the most attractive interface, but it certainly does the trick. We were able to create a Moshi Monster with no trouble at all on our iPad and iPhone using Photon Browser.
Here’s what happens when using Photon Flash Player vs Safari (swipe across to see more or less of the Photon version):
If you’re finding Photon unbearably slow, try tapping the settings icon in the top-right corner and adjusting the settings to suit your purpose.
Puffin is another popular browser for Flash content which costs £4.99/$4.99 on both iPhone and iPad.
Puffin displayed the Moshi Monsters website brilliantly (below), but struggled a little when displaying the Flash version of the Disney Fantasyland site.
However, Puffin does have a flaw for non-US users. Its servers are located in the US, which means there is a geo-restriction on content being viewed. For example, despite being in the UK, we couldn’t view BBC iPlayer.
Other ways to get Flash on iPad and iPhone
Services such as Parallels Access also offer a way to access Flash on iPad and iPhone, by streaming directly from your Mac or PC. Parallels Access lets you access your Mac or PC desktop on your iPad from anywhere in the world, enabling you to use apps including Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Flash Player and Flash-supported browsers.
If getting Flash on iPad and iPhone is the only thing you’d be downloading Parallels for, it’s probably not the ideal solution, as a year’s subscription will cost you £13.99/$19.99. However, if you’re also looking for a way to access your PC or Mac remotely, or run Mac or PC applications on an iPad or iPhone, it’s certainly worth investigating.
Why don’t the iPad and iPhone support Flash?
Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs famously bashed Flash for mobile, and refused to allow the technology on the iOS platform. Instead, Jobs fought for the alternative HTML5 standard, which has since all but replaced Flash around the web.
If you’d like more detail on Apple’s objections to the standard, read Steve Jobs’ thoughts on the matter from 2010.
In August 2012, Adobe disabled new installs of Flash via the Google Play Store, marking the end of Adobe Flash on Android devices too.
Will Adobe Flash Player be used in the future?
With the removal and limited ability to view Flash content on iOS and iPadOS devices, the industry has shifted its interest from Flash and moved to other web codecs, and the end of Flash is near.
As confirmed by Adobe, the company will end support for the Flash format at the end of 2020, and is urging content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to newer formats. While many browsers already block Flash by default (Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari), there are still a number of browser-based games that use the technology and will need to convert.