On December 31, 2020, Adobe formally discontinued Flash Player. Adobe will provide no further security updates for it and will continue to encourage users to uninstall it. Simultaneously, Information Systems & Computing (ISC) removed the Flash Player entry from the University’s supported computing products list.

This retirement did not come as a surprise. In July 2017, Adobe announced that Flash Player would end-of-life in December 2020, and the University technology roadmap has tracked this phase-out for over three years. Most support providers at the University have already removed Flash Player from their installed base. Adobe’s installers themselves currently suggest removing Flash Player, and the latest versions of their Creative Cloud applications no longer export to Flash formats.

Adobe announced the planned retirement of Flash Player in concert with major web browser developers. Those developers have made it steadily harder to use Flash Player, with Apple completely removing it from Safari’s latest version (14.x). The Chromium project (which provides the underlying code for both Google Chrome and recent versions of Microsoft Edge) will block Flash Player from loading some time in January 2021. Finally, Mozilla will remove all Flash Player support from Firefox in version 85, which will release in late January 2021.

Over the last few years, the University has mostly rid itself of dependencies on Flash Player. What remains is a long tail of exception processing—elderly training modules, obsolete management interfaces, and the like. Technology personnel across Penn are working to address these few remaining issues.