When Google released its Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system in July of 2012, Flash support on Android powered devices found itself on the cutting room floor, no longer downloadable in the Google Play Store. Convenient for watching TV on your phone or playing those addictive online games, Flash was an application that set Androids apart from the rival iPhone; for better and worse.
Yet, now that Android users must operate their phones out-of-the-box sans Flash, the want for a way to get the software again has been great. Luckily, Adobe realized this need and allows Android users to download its Flash player. To make things easier, Adobe made the download available straight from the website.
We want to point out that because Adobe is no longer supported on Android powered devices, you won’t find any security updates, bug fixes, or official Adobe support. Furthermore, you may also experience some significant stability issues when downloading and using Flash. The stability issues tend to be worse with Android devices running Jelly Bean 4.1 or newer, as that operating system ditched Flash altogether.
For those looking for a Flash fix, we’ve put together this easy how-to guide to get Flash back on your Android phone or tablet in no time. Before we get to the rundown, you’ll want to make sure that your phone or tablet is running an OS between Android 2.2, and 4.1. You can find which OS your device is running by going to Settings > About phone (or About tablet).
Note: if you are using Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or newer, you’ll want to use a stock browser other than Google Chrome for the Flash install. Chrome does not support Flash Player whatsoever for that operating system.
Step 1: Configuring Security Settings
Once the prerequisites above are in order, the real fun of installing Flash on your Android device can begin. First, access your phone’s security settings to allow for application downloads outside of Google Play. To do this, go to Settings > Applications (for older Android operating systems), or Settings > Security (for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), and check the box next to Unknown sources. It should ask you to confirm your selection, and select OK if that is the case. Now that the security settings have changed, navigate back to your home screen and open your mobile browser. Again, Google Chrome will not work for this on Android devices using Jelly Bean 4.1 or newer.
Step 2: Downloading Flash from the Adobe Site
Navigate to Adobe’s Flash Player archives in your browser and scroll down until you arrive at the listings for Android Flash player downloads, where you’ll find two separate sections: one with download links for recent operating system versions and one for versions compatible with Android OS 2.1-2.3 and 3.0. Adobe’s most recent Flash Player updates for Android (126.96.36.199 for Android 2.x and 3.x and 188.8.131.52 for Android 4.0.x) were released on September 10, 2013, and lead off the top of both sections. It’s recommended that you choose the most recent compatible download for your Android device.
Once you click on the compatible download, the Flash Player Installer should begin automatically. When the download completes you can navigate back to your home screen or close the browser.
Step 3: Installing Flash Player
Next, access the Notifications on your phone and tap on the file titled “install_flash_player.apk.” Once you see the download alert, tap Install to begin installing Flash on your Android device.
Simply tap Done after the installation completes and click back into your phone’s stock browser to enable the new plug-ins. If you are using an Android 3.0 or later, go to your browser’s Menu then click Settings > Advanced > Enable Plug-ins. If you’re using Android 2.2, or 2.3, enter your browser’s Menu and click on More Settings > Enable Plug-ins. Once the plug-ins are active, your Android phone should begin using Flash. You can run a Flash test by visiting this site; you’ll see a brief Flash animation at the top, and version information for the device.
Step 4: Re-activating Security Settings
Now that the download is complete, be sure to go back in to your Settings folder (Security folder for Android 4.1 users) and de-select the Unknown sources box to keep your Android device secure. Once the security settings are back to normal, you’re free to use Flash Player on your Android phone or tablet.
If you have trouble with the download, or would like to reference Adobe’s site for help, you can visit their Flash Player FAQs page.
Having issues with the process, or found a better way to install Flash Player on an Android? Sound off in the comments section below.