Back in October, Apple shipped its first MacBook Air models without the Adobe Flash plug-in pre-installed. In the ensuing brouhaha, Ars Technica discovered Flash cut battery life by up to 33 percent on the MacBook Air and possibly other MacBook models. Personally, my MacBook often sounds like it's preparing for space flight when I visit pages that use Adobe's plug-in.
Whether you wish to conserve electricity, silence overactive cooling fans, boost the security of your browsing experience or protest against the use of media plug-ins, you can easily remove Adobe Flash from your Mac. Most often, the Flash plug-in can be found in the "Internet Plug-Ins" folder on your system's hard drive. To get there, switch to the Finder and select "Go to Folder..." from the "Go" menu. When prompted, enter "/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/" and click "Go" to switch to the appropriate location on your system.
Once you are in the "Internet Plug-Ins" directory, make a new folder called "Disabled Plug-Ins." Move the "Flash Player.plugin," "flashplayer.xpt" and "NP-PPC-Dir-Shockwave" files into your new "Disabled Plug-Ins" folder. Or if you really want to kill Flash, toss these files into the Trash. (Note: if you don't find these three files in "/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/" they may be hiding in "~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/".) The next time you relaunch Safari or Firefox, Flash will no longer be enabled.
If you need to view a Flash-enabled page in a pinch, you can install and launch Chrome. This Safari-alternative ships with a Flash plug-in embedded in the browser. You can also install OmniWeb or iCab and copy the Flash plug-in into the browser's plug-in folder. For OmniWeb, right-click on the OmniWeb application and choose "Show Package Contents" to reveal the PlugIns folder. Copy the Flash plug-in to the folder, and you should be good to go. iCab does not contain a PlugIns folder, but you can create one yourself and copy over the Flash plug-in manually.