How to Uninstall Adobe Flash Player

With Flash's reputation for harboring gaping security vulnerabilities and an end-of-life date from 2020, it's not hard to guess why users might want to uninstall associated software. Web browsers that support Flash have independent deactivation methods for the feature, separate from stand-alone programs like Adobe's Flash Player. The uninstall routine for the independent Flash Player depends on the user's operating system. Fortunately, Adobe provides tools for streamlining the process.

Although users can always manually remove software, including the Flash Player, experts still recommend following the software developer's recommendations as a first solution. Whether they're using macOS or Windows, users should begin by navigating to the official adobe.com website and downloading the appropriate Flash Player uninstaller for their operating system. Currently, Adobe provides one version of the uninstall tool for Windows and two for Apple OSes: one for OS X 10.4 and later (which includes macOS), and one for OS X 10.1 to 10.3.

Save the file on the right location, such as the desktop or the Downloads folder.

As always, before removing the software, close any other programs that might interfere with the uninstall routine. In this case, they include any Flash-using programs, such as Web browsers, instant messengers, projectors, media players, or games.

Double-click the file to begin the uninstall process. Windows users may see the UAC or User Account Control prompt asking if they want the program to make changes to the computer. Select 'yes.' Users who wish to change UAC prompts conditions, which protect systems from unwanted software changes, can do so in the Control Panel.

Users on old versions of OS X may need to input their user names and passwords before continuing. As long as no interfering programs (including Web browsers) are open, the tool should continue uninstalling Flash Player until it finishes the process.

After the above steps, users can finish deleting local files that the uninstaller may leave behind on their drives. Windows users can find them in the following locations:

C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash
C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash
%appdata%\Adobe\Flash Player
%appdata%\Macromedia\Flash Player

Note that the '%appdata%' location is a dynamic label: the Windows user's AppData/Roaming folder.

In macOS environments, users should delete the files in these locations, instead:

<home directory>/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash\ Player
<home directory>/Library/Caches/Adobe/Flash\ Player

Users should restart their computers before determining whether Flash Player (or any other software) is fully-removed or still present. Although there are many ways to test Flash-playing capability, Adobe recommends using the Flash Player 'status' page at their website, displaying a small, moving image for users who still have Flash. Users without Flash should see a static, non-moving picture or icon. Refresh the page if it was open from previous tests.

Users also may remove Flash Player from the Control Panel's 'Add or remove programs' menu, from the Start menu's shortcut for the program, or through the macOS Finder's Applications section. These removal methods are not preferable for any software with an easy-to-use, dedicated removal utility like this one.