How to unblock Flash content in Google Chrome, or block it on all websites

Adobe Flash is a web technology that has been used a lot by web content creators in the past. However, in the last few years, it has been used less and less. Google, like most other major tech companies, has begun to phase out Flash from the Chrome web browser. The first thing they did was to stop Flash content from running by default. However, there are still people who use Flash and need to access websites that rely on it. If you are one of those people, in this guide, you can learn how to unblock Flash in Google Chrome. If you want the opposite, and you do not want to expose yourself to Flash content at all, we also show you how to block Flash from running on all websites. Let's start:

How to manually load individual Flash content on a website

Unless you have an outdated version of Google Chrome installed when you visit websites which use Adobe Flash, the Flash content does not load and, even worse, nobody tells you about it. By default, Google Chrome replaces Flash content with an image that looks like a puzzle piece. Note that Chrome uses the puzzle piece image for all plugins that are not loaded automatically, including Flash.

How the Flash content placeholder looks in Google Chrome

You do not get any message about Flash being blocked. However, if you click or tap on the Flash placeholder that looks like a puzzle piece, you get a popup that asks whether you want to run Flash or not. Click or tap Allow and the Flash content is immediately loaded and run.

Allowing Flash content to run on a website

How to manually load all the Flash content found on a website

If you feel that the website you visit is trustworthy, and you want it to load all its Flash content in Google Chrome, click or tap the Lock or Info icon from the left side of the address bar.

Opening the website information popup from Google Chrome

In the popup that appears, you should see Flash and a list of options to its right. Click or tap Flash and select Allow. This makes the current website run all the Flash content found in it.

Google Chrome: Allowing all the Flash content available on a webpage to run

IMPORTANT: Remember that you must do this every time you visit a website that has Flash content. Google Chrome does not keep your settings between sessions, so you need to manually turn Flash on each time you restart Chrome or your PC.

Why is Google Chrome blocking Flash content?

The answer is simple: as a security precaution. Adobe Flash is known for having many security flaws that can expose users to hackers and malware online. That is why Google blocks it by default, and that is why you should allow Flash to run only if you are confident that the website you visit is safe. There are many websites which are not safe and which might trick you into installing fake Flash Players that are malware in disguise. If you are curious about such practices, read this article: How to infect your Windows PC while browsing the web for free stuff.

How to block Google Chrome from running Flash content, on all websites

When we published this tutorial, Google Chrome was at version 69. In this version, the browser is set by default to ask you whether you want to run Flash content or not, acting just as it did in the previous section of this guide. However, as Google intends to make it harder and harder for users to run Flash content, in the future, Chrome might change its default settings and block Flash by default.

However, until that happens, you might want to block Flash content completely. To do that, open Google Chrome and click/tap on the "Customize and control Google Chrome" menu button from the top-right corner of the screen. Its icon looks like three dots.

The menu button from Google Chrome

In the menu, click or tap Settings.

The Settings link from the Google Chrome menu

Google Chrome now opens its Settings page. Scroll downwards until you see a button called Advanced and then click or tap on it.

The Advanced settings from Google Chrome

Go to the Privacy and security section and look for a category called Content settings. Click on it to open it.

The Content settings from Chrome's Privacy and security section

In the Content settings, scroll down, and you should find a section called Flash. Click or tap on it.

The Flash settings from Google Chrome

The Flash settings area is the place where you can control whether you are asked to run Flash when it is present on a web page or not. Switch the Flash switch to off: Chrome should now tell you that it "Block[s] sites from running Flash."

Blocking all websites to run Flash in Google Chrome

If the Flash switch is on, it means that Flash content is not loaded automatically, but you can run it by clicking or tapping on the puzzle placeholders displayed on websites, just like we showed you in the first section of this guide.

Setting Google Chrome to ask the user if Flash content can run

NOTE: You could also use the Allow and Block sections from this page to set Chrome to automatically run Flash on certain websites or block it on others, but we do not see a point in doing it. Why? Because Google Chrome resets these lists every time you restart it, so your changes are short-lived, unfortunately. Google does this because it does not want people using Flash anymore.

What is the future of Adobe Flash?

In 2017, Adobe announced that Flash is scheduled for shutdown by the end of 2020. That means that, after that date, Flash stops being maintained and no longer gets any updates or patches. Flash was one of the greatest web technologies, and it was responsible for making multimedia experiences available for all, in our web browsers. However, it was also flawed software with many security issues that made web browsers and people using them vulnerable to malware and hackers attacks. This is why most content creators have switched or are in the process of switching to newer technologies like HTML5. Most media websites, including big players such as Netflix, HBO Go or YouTube, have already ditched Flash for good. That is why major web browsers such as Google Chrome no longer load and run Flash content by default and make it harder for users to load it.

Now you know how to unblock and how to load Flash in websites using Google Chrome. If you need to do the same in Microsoft Edge, read this guide: How to unblock Flash content in Microsoft Edge and manage the way it is loaded.

If you want to read more about the announcements made by Adobe and Google on the end-of-life of Flash, visit these web pages: Flash & The future of interactive content and Saying goodbye to Flash in Chrome.

Do you still use Adobe Flash?

As you have seen, using Flash in Google Chrome is becoming increasingly more complicated with each new version of the web browser. However, as end-of-life term for Flash comes closer, things are probably going to become even more complicated. Do you think that Google should continue making it harder for Flash content to be run in Chrome, or do you believe it should do nothing, at least until Flash truly dies?