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How to revert to the stable version of Flash player

TJ Luoma , @tjluoma
It's no secret that Flash is a blight on the Internet and should be killed with fire. However, some sites insist on using it, and so you may be interested in having it around.

Towards that end you may have read about the pre-release of Flash player 10.1 and decided to install it for the possible improvements in performance.

If you then decide to uninstall it, ha ha! You can't! Sorry!

Update: there is a uninstaller available, it is not included in the installer package. Read on for manual un-installation instructions, but use of the uninstaller is recommended. My apologies for the confusion. I wrongly assumed that Adobe would package an uninstaller with the installer, as that is what most Mac developers do when they offer an uninstaller. I regret the error.

There is no uninstaller, and you can't re-install the older version over the pre-release version, because the installer sees it as a newer version and won't let you.

Fortunately it can be removed by what I like to call "brute force."
  1. Quit all browsers
  2. Go to /Library/Internet Plug-Ins in Finder and delete the "Flash Player.plugin" and "flashplayer.xpt"
  3. Download the latest stable version of Flash player (which will download a file called "install_flash_player_osx_ub.dmg")
  4. Double-click "install_flash_player_osx_ub.dmg" which should open "/Volumes/Install Flash Player 10 UB" where you will find a file called "Adobe Flash Player.pkg"
  5. Control (right) click on "Adobe Flash Player.pkg" and choose "Show Package Contents".
  6. Open the "Contents" folder
  7. Drag the "Archive.pax.gz" file to your Desktop
  8. Double click on the "Archive.pax.gz" file to unarchive it, which will create a folder called "Archive"
  9. Open the "Archive" folder and locate the "Flash Player.plugin" and "flashplayer.xpt" files.
  10. Copy the "Flash Player.plugin" and "flashplayer.xpt" files to /Library/Internet Plug-Ins (you can then throw away the Archive folder on your Desktop, as well as Archive.pax.gz if it is still there.)
  11. Launch Safari and check your Flash version here. As of this writing, the current stable version is "10,0,32,18"
  12. (Optional) Install ClickToFlash so that Flash will only load when you want it to.
It is utterly baffling to me that a company as large as Adobe would ship a pre-release version of their plugin without an uninstaller [that you don't have to download separately, see above]. Then again, given Adobe's reputation, perhaps it shouldn't surprise me.

Some of you may be wondering why I didn't just delete the files from /Library/Internet Plug-ins/ and then run the installer for the stable version. I tried that, but the installer still insisted that there was a newer version installed, even after a reboot.

My advice is to keep using the stable version (with ClickToFlash) for now.

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