Tutorial: Flash content will not play in Web browsers, resolving

Tutorial: Flash content will not play in Web browsers, resolving

[Published Wednesday, April 25th]

When Flash content embedded in Web pages will not play, there are a few generally successful options for dealing with the problem.

Update to the latest version of the Flash player Visit the Adobe Flash Player version test page to check what version of Flash is currently being used by your browser. This page also shows the latest version of the Flash player available for your system, which can be downloaded from the Flash download center.

Make sure QuickTime is not attempting to play Flash Apple's QuickTime has the ability to play Flash content embedded in QuickTime movies and in Web pages via the QuickTime plug-in. However, because the version of Flash available from Adobe is newer that than built-in to QuickTime, the ability for QuickTime to playback Flash content is turned off by default.

See the section below labeled "Use QuickTime to play Flash content" and reverse the listed steps (make sure the appropriate options in the QuickTime pane of System Preferences are turned off) if you want to use Adobe Flash and not QuickTime for Flash playback -- the default behavior. If you have problems using Adobe Flash, you can use the steps listed in the section below to make QuickTime the default player for Flash content.

Uninstall then re-install The most commonly successful fix for restoring Flash playback capabilities is an uninstallation then re-installation of the Adobe Flash software.

First quit your Web browser, then use this uninstaller. Next, re-install one of the following, depending on your Mac's processor architecture:

You may want to repair permissions using Apple's Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities) after re-installing Flash.

Restart your browser and check for proper Flash playback.

Check plug-in location There are two places where Mac OS X stores Internet plug-ins:

  • /Library/Internet Plug-Ins: plug-ins stored here will be accessible by all users
  • ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins: plug-ins stored here will be accessible only by the defined user (the tilde [~] represents the current home user directory)

The Flash plug-in files, as follows:

  • flashplayer.xpt
  • Flash Player Enabler.plugin
  • Flash Player.plugin

should only be located in the former directory, /Library/Internet Plug-Ins (this is the Library folder at the root level of you startup drive).

If these files are located in the ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins folder on your Mac, move them to the /Library/Internet Plug-Ins folder, then quit and restart your browser and check for Flash playback. Again, make sure that the Flash plug-in files are stored only in the /Library/Internet Plug-Ins directory, not both locations (delete them from ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins if they are extant there as well).

Also, make sure that the following files:
  • QuickTime Plugin.webplugin
  • QuickTime Plugin.plugin

are stored only in the /Library/Internet Plug-Ins directory, not both locations.

Quit and restart your browser after making these changes and check for proper Flash playback.

Remove VLC plug-in Try removing the file:

  • VLC Plugin.plugin

from the folder: /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/

then quitting and restarting your browser.

Remove Flash Player enabler Likewise, some users have reported that removing only the Flash Enabler plug-in:

  • Flash Player Enabler.plugin

from the /Library/Internet Plug-Ins directory, then restarting the browser, allows proper Flash playback.

Use QuickTime to play Flash content As mentioned above, Apple's QuickTime has the ability to play Flash content embedded in QuickTime movies and in Web pages via the QuickTime plug-in but this option turned off by default.

If you are having problems playing back Flash content with Adobe's Flash plug-in, you can re-enable QuickTime Flash support via the following steps:

  1. Open the QuickTime pane in System Preferences
  2. Click on the Advanced tab.
  3. Check the checkbox next to Enable Flash in order to turn the option on.
  4. Next, click on the MIME Settings button and scroll down to Miscellaneous -- Miscellaneous file formats
  5. Click the checkbox to turn the option on.
  6. Click on the disclosure triangle to show the options for miscellaneous file formats. Make sure that the Flash media and QuickTime HTML (QHTM) are turned on
  7. Conversely, (as aforementioned) if you want the Adobe Flash plug-in to handle your flash playback duties, make sure the aforementioned options are turned off

For Opera If you are using the Opera Web browser, make sure that you have the latest version of the browser.js file installed.

Feedback? Late-breakers@macfixit.com.

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