Wrangling Safari, Flash, and Chrome

Adobe Flash continues to be a troublesome topic for Apple users. In fact, it accounts for most software crashes on a Mac, quickly drains battery life, and can cause your computer to run hotter than normal. Here at Macinstructor HQ, we frequently receive questions regarding the setting up of Adobe Flash—and there's no quick answer. We'd like to take a moment to prescribe what is, in our opinion, the best solution for eliminating errors from your web browsing. It will take a few moments to set up but will save you time and frustration over the long haul.

First of all, let's define some terms.

  • Web browser: An app on your computer used for surfing the internet. SafariChrome, and Firefox are web browsers.
  • Plug-in: A program that runs in the background and adds functionality to a web browser, usually for the purpose of playing different types of videos. Flash is a plug-in.
  • Extension: A tool that adds features to your web browser. Evernote's web clipper is an extension, and many more extensions for Safari can be downloaded here.

The Mac is capable of running all sorts of browsers, plug-ins, and extensions; it's imperative to keep them all up to date. When one or more of these are out of date, you'll receive error messages of various shapes and sizes, and some features will simply stop working. As you can now tell, there are many options just for surfing the web. Having defined our terms, we're now ready to dive in.

1. UNINSTALL ADOBE FLASH

This might seem counterintuitive. Eventually we'll describe how to still use Flash, but for now it needs to be uninstalled from your Mac. Here's how:

  1. Download this uninstaller from Adobe's website: click here.
  2. Open the uninstallflashplayer_osx.dmg file in the Downloads folder.
  3. Double-click the red icon, and follow the on-screen instructions.
  4. Once the process is done, move the DMG file from step two to your trashcan.

As mentioned earlier, Flash is buggy software that drains your battery and constantly crashes. Uninstalling Flash ensures your Mac is running as efficiently as possible.

2. INSTALL THE YOUTUBE5 SAFARI EXTENSION

YouTube is by far the most popular website that uses Flash. Without going into too much detail, your experience with YouTube will be quite smooth after you install an extension for Safari called YouTube5.

Click here to download YouTube5. After downloading it, open the YouTube5.safariextz file in the Downloads folder to install it.

3. INSTALL SAFARI ADBLOCK

Installing software for blocking ads is a controversial topic. On one hand, many websites receive commissions from ads, and so by running ad-block software, you are cutting off additional revenue. On the other hand, most ads are simply obnoxious distractions. We'll leave it up to you to make the final call. (It should be noted that there are settings in SafariAdBlock to allow ads on specific sites.)

If your conscience allows it, we recommend a Safari extension plainly called SafariAdBlock. The reason is that many ads require plug-ins to work, and by eliminating the ads, you will also eliminate annoying prompts to install unnecessary plug-ins.

Click here to download SafariAdBlock. Open the file from the Downloads folder to install it. (By the way, we're reminding you to open the file after downloading it because many people assume that just by downloading a file, it is automatically installed. This is not the case.)

4. INSTALL GOOGLE CHROME

Safari is the best web browser, in our opinion. It's fast, supports iCloud bookmark syncing, and comes with every Apple device. That being said, it's good to keep an alternative browser installed on your Mac. It's like having an extra pair of shoes in the closet; you want to be prepared for different terrains.

Google Chrome is nice because it contains many popular plug-ins. This is important. This means that by keeping Chrome up to date, things like Flash will be naturally up to date, as well.

  1. Download Google Chrome here.
  2. Double click thegooglechrome.dmg file in your Downloads folder.
  3. In the new window, drag and drop the Chrome icon over the Applications icon and release it.

All right. We now have all the software necessary to swiftly browse the web without a hitch. But there's still one more thing to configure.

5. TURN ON SAFARI'S DEVELOP MENU

Of all the steps involved in this process, this is perhaps the most frustrating; but for non-technical people, it is probably the most streamlined and easy to set up. And it's absolutely essential because this is the bridge between Safari and Chrome. Here's what to do.

  1. Open Safari.
  2. From the menu bar at the top of your screen, click Safari and then Preferences.
  3. Click the Advanced tab.
  4. Check the box next to "Show Develop menu in the menu bar.”

NOW WE'RE READY TO ROLL.

Having completed the above suggestions, Safari and Chrome are your two web browsers. Safari is the primary one, and Chrome is what you use when a website isn't behaving as you would expect. As noted earlier, Safari is best for the sake of speed and security.

This is the essential key that you'll need to remember: When you encounter a webpage that will not work in Safari,

  1. click Develop from the top menu bar and
  2. click Open Page With and select Google Chrome.

That will take your current webpage and open it in Chrome.

Again, we realize the above steps might be cumbersome to set up, but by following our advice, your software is more likely to always be up to date, free from crashes, and much more enjoyable to use.

Do you have a suggestion to add? Feel free to let us know on TwitterFacebook, or App.net.

I am an Apple Certified Support Professional with over a decade of experience supporting families, schools, and businesses. Tech has always captured my imagination, but it's not my only passion. I'm an ordained Anglican minister;  Aeropress is a daily ritual of mine; I've driven across Mongolia; and I'm the father of three girls. I hope to provide for you a balanced and realistic perspective into the practicality of technology.