Apple and Adobe failed to make Flash run well on iOS

JC Torres - Apr 27, 2021, 11:24pm CDT
Apple and Adobe failed to make Flash run well on iOS

They say two heads are better than one but sometimes even geniuses get stumped by unsolvable problems. That apparently happened years ago when the creator of iOS and the developer of Flash tried to make the two mix. Apparently, even the combined expertise of Apple and Adobe couldn’t make Flash work on iPhones and iPads in an even bearable way, perhaps helping set Flash on the road to its eventual demise.

Back when the iPhone first launched, Flash was still at the top of its game. Although websites have started moving away from using Flash for critical elements like menus, Flash content, both videos and games, were still the fad on the Internet. Naturally, Apple’s devices presented an opportunity to take those experiences on the go but, as history would prove, that would never be the case.

The late Steve Jobs has been quoted frequently to snub Flash in favor of HTML 5. Of course in hindsight, it is a better and more reliable technology but Jobs wasn’t just making a bet on a whim. It turns out that Adobe couldn’t get Flash working on iOS properly, even when helped by Apple.

Depositions in the high-profile Epic Games vs Apple lawsuits revealed how Apple actually tried to help Adobe bring Flash to iOS. They were able to technically make it run but, according to former head of software engineering Scott Forstall, but its performance was quoted to be abysmal and embarrassing. Rather than force the matter, however, Apple decided to close the door on Flash on iOS forever instead.

Although Flash had a lot of technical problems, especially security ones, that it would eventually need to be put down anyway. The fact that it couldn’t run on what would be one of the most popular mobile platforms in the market definitely didn’t help its chances either. It’s not direct proof of a monopoly, but it could be used as evidence of how Apple’s snub of Flash on the iPhone helped kill Flash.


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