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Adobe recently released a new version of the Flash Player, 10.3, which is a big improvement for Mac users. In addition to using less CPU, this version will notify you when there's a newer version available – something the Windows version has done for quite some time now. But one of the big reason you want to install the latest version (available for free from Adobe) is the new Preference Pane.

When you install the latest version, you'll get a new Preference Pane in the "Other" section at the bottom. Open it up, and you'll see this:

Let me suggest that you set the "Local Storage Settings" as above – "Ask me." Why? Well, click on "Local Storage Setting by Site" and you might be surprised:

I found dozens and dozens of sites listed here – most without storage, but some using up some space – but I didn't recognize 99% of them.It's not so much the amount of space being used that bothers me – it's the fact that sites I know nothing about are tracking me. I have never been to most of these sites (at least, that I know of). So I deleted a ton of them (most of the ones using space, especially if I didn't recognize them) and now I get asked before anything can save off data.  It looks like this:

This was taken from a tech site. What the heck is s.ytimg.com? Beats me – this certainly was taken from there. But it asked twice while the video was playing to save off data.

Now, you've always been able to control this – but it was practically a secret. You had to head to a special web page at Adobe and then you could set preferences such as this. Not exactly intuitive. Now at least it's easy to set things up the way you want, and you can easily find the version installed (go to the "Advanced" tab for the version number). 

Personally, I'm glad they have finally added an easy way to stop these mystery sites from tracking me.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ax3KVuYMHw

 

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  • Donna

    Super useful! Thanks for this alert and “Thank you” Adobe.

  • I am no fan of Adobe Flash. Bring on HTML5!
    My selection choice is “block all sites from storing information on this computer”.
    And I block camera/microphone and playback as well.
    Given Adobe’s security breach record, why would I want to leave all the doors and windows unlocked?

  • bmovie

    Why even bother? If you don’t need Flash on iPads, and you’re not into Flash games, why give a single KB to Adobe Flash Player?
    PS Thanks for the article anyway. More fuel for the Apple/Adobe fire.

  • Cynthia Blanton

    I have downloaded and installed Flash Player 10.3 on my Intel MacPro running OS 10.6.7. Now, how do I open it so I can look at the preferences? When I look for it in the Finder, all I can find is the install/Uninstall programs. Adobe troubleshooting says it is installed.

  • Look in System Preferences, at the bottom.

  • jan

    now will this work on iphones and ipads????

  • Lachlan

    I’m Flash free, but I agree the ability to be notified of a Flash update is critical for Mac users who aren’t, as Flash is a known attack vector for hackers.

    Mac users would be more vulnerable to Flash hacking if something wasn’t done to keep them up to date – since Apple stopped bundling Flash updates with system updates. Java is probably the next on the list as Apple have also indicated that they won’t be updating that either.

    I find the majority of sites seem to offer content in alternative ways for my Flash free laptop – switching the browser user agent (under the Develop Menu) to Safari iPad seems to help me when I run into problems. I figure, if enough people do this, the sites in question will have no choice but to offer Flash-free content as otherwise they are missing out on all the iPad, iPod and iPhone traffic.

  • I seem to have the same situation as Cynthia above. I downloaded & did the install, restarted browsers as directed, but there’s no Flash Player anywhere. (Did a “Find”) The only thing found is the “Adobe Flash Player Install Manager,” with today’s install date. When I open it, it is really just an uninstaller.

    – Looked at prefs for the browsers. No Flash item in the Applications list of Firefox, and no extensions at all in the Safari list.
    ??????

  • Oops! Wrote too soon before noticing Jack’s comment to look at Sys Prefs.
    All is well.

  • Cynthia Blanton

    Thank you, Jack. Got it.