Is an iPad Compatible With Flash?

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"No" is an easy answer to whether the iPad is compatible with Flash, but it is not entirely true. Unlike other tablets, the iPad was not designed to allow Flash video, whether viewed online or downloaded to the iPad and played on an in-app player. However, there are ways to get around the limitation in some circumstances, making the iPad partially Flash-compatible, within limits.

Rationale for Being Flash-Free

  • In an open letter dated April 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs gave several reasons for not using Flash on Apple's mobile devices, including the iPad. Among these reasons was the need for special decoding software to allow any device to read Flash videos. Compared to the H.265 video format encoding used as a modern web video standard, Flash decoding takes far more processing time and power, draining battery life and requiring third-party plug-ins. Jobs also cited Adobe's security issues as a reason for prohibiting the software, stating, "We also know firsthand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash."

Results

  • Due to the lack of Flash support on the iPad, you may not be able to view websites that use Flash programming, including animated graphics, videos and games. However, many videos can adapt easily to the H.265 web standard, so video services like YouTube, which plays Flash videos online, use the H.265 decoding for the iPad on its website and on its iPad app so you have full access to the videos.

Flash Workarounds

  • While Apple offers no support for Flash in the iPad's native software and apps, third-party apps are available in the App Store that can play certain types of Flash in some circumstances. Several web browser apps claim to support Flash as you surf, while video player apps may claim to play downloaded Flash videos. Many of these apps redirect Flash websites to their own servers and then send it to the iPad in an iOS-friendly format, which sometimes causes lags in the display or degradation in the video quality. Another way to access Flash on your iPad is to use it as a remote for your computer through a remote desktop or virtual private network app. These apps allow you to play the Flash-based videos, websites or games on your computer and view them on your iPad.

Results of Apple's Flash Policy

  • Because of the widespread use of Apple iPhones and iPads, most popular websites have adopted alternatives to Flash, either replacing Flash with these alternatives or making separate pages without Flash that load automatically on mobile devices. This also spurred the use of HTML5, which can create many of the same animation effects on a website that developers could do with Flash. In 2012, Adobe disabled its Flash app on the Google Play Store, ending its support of Flash on Android devices.

References

  • Photo Credit adolf34/iStock/Getty Images
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