See a “Flash Out-of-Date” Message in Safari on Mac? Here’s How to Fix That

May 17, 2014 - 7 Comments

Flash Out-of-Date in Safari for Mac OS X Mac users who primarily browse the web with Safari will eventually notice the “Flash out-of-date” message appearing somewhere in the browser. This happens because the Mac will intentionally disable the Flash player plugin when it has become outdated, preventing any potential security breaches from occurring. As you probably guessed, this just means you need to update the Adobe Flash Player plugin to the latest version, but many users have done just that (or think they have) and still find the “Flash out-of-date” message appearing all over Safari and around the web. That’s what we’re aiming to address here, properly installing the latest version of Flash to get the plugin working again in Safari and to resolve that error message.

Note: this is limited to Safari for Mac OS X only, and does not apply to Google Chrome users. Chrome uses a bundled version of Flash player that is sandboxed and automatically updates along with Chrome itself.

To get rid of the “Flash out-of-date” message in Safari, do the following

  1. Click on the “Flash out-of-date” text, typically visible in a box in Safari where a video or advertisement may appear
  2. Flash out of date in Safari for Mac OS X

  3. This will summon an alert indicating “Adobe Flash Player is out of date”, be sure to choose ‘Download Flash’
  4. Download Adobe Flash in Mac OS X Safari

  5. This will redirect you to http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ or you can visit the Adobe site manually – Important: only download Flash from the official Adobe website to get the latest version
  6. Uncheck the “Optional offer” otherwise you’ll wind up getting some unwanted software along with Flash Player – why does Adobe do this? Who knows
  7. Choose the “Install Now” button to launch to start the download and installation process
  8. Install Adobe Flash for Mac from the Adobe website

  9. Follow through with the installer, when the latest version of Flash has finished updating and installing, quit out of Safari
  10. Relaunch Safari for the newest version of the plugin to load effectively, the ‘Flash out of date’ message should now be gone

Easy enough, right? It is, but many users go wrong in this process. The most common error I’ve seen is because when users click the ‘Flash out of date’ button, they see the pop-up message and then simply click on the “OK” button at that alert, a normal response to dismiss a popup dialog in Mac OS X. And that’s the problem, because users must click specifically to download Flash or update the plugin manually themselves, both followed by a relaunch of the Safari browser app, to resolve the message in Safari, otherwise it will continue to appear, putting them into a seemingly endless loop of updates that never happen.

Two important notes: if you have selectively blocked or enabled Flash for particular websites you may need to adjust that list in order for Flash to load as intended, similarly if you use a plugin like ClickToFlash in Safari you may want to disable that temporarily beforehand while you update Flash. And obviously if you uninstalled it that is going to become undone by this process, so be mindful of that if you had a compelling reason to remove the plugin from Safari to begin with.

It’s also important to point out this is not a permanent solution because Adobe Flash Player continuously gets updated, thus the older version of the plugin will continuously become disabled by OS X as a security precaution. That means you’ll have to update the Flash plugin manually every time you see that message, then relaunch Safari. If you don’t want to deal with that, using an alternate browser like Google Chrome is another solution, though Chrome itself automatically updates itself too.

Thanks to Deidre for the question and tip idea! Do you have any tips, tricks, or questions for us? Send us an email, hit us up on twitter, facebook, Google+, or post a comment!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

7 Comments

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  1. Iain Cadman says:

    Better yet, remove flash and install Chrome as the browser to use when Flash is enforced.
    Th PopClip menu bar app makes it easy to launch a Safari URL in Chrome

  2. Uwe Hildebrandt says:

    The best solution is to delete flash and never use it again. It’s so easy to prevent the computer against the flash trash.

  3. Grey says:

    And while you’re at it: uninstall POS Adobe Reader. You don’t need it, and you don’t want it — despite the ubiquitous “You need Adobe Reader” message.

    • Mycroft Holmes says:

      What’s the point of a post such as this? Why don’t we need it? Why don’t we want it? Please, Grey, be more black and white.

      • Uwe says:

        We do not need it because the buggy Adobe Software is always an open door for viruses and trojans. Could you please tell us why the flash player needs weekly updates an has uncounted security leaks over years? So the best solution is to delete such Adobe scrap.

  4. case says:

    if this flash message still pops up after the update, you have to delete the safari plist (~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Safari.plist). It helped me out two times.

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