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I was recently on holiday and one day found myself with a bit of spare time waiting for my family outside a wildlife park. Feeling the boredom, I decided to browse the web on my Nokia Lumia 920 Nokia Lumia 920 Review & Giveaway Nokia Lumia 920 Review & Giveaway A couple of weeks ago, Nokia introduced two new devices to the world: the Nokia Lumia 925 and the Nokia Lumia 928. The top notch of Windows Phone 8 devices, these two smartphones will only... Read More and try to find something interesting to watch.

Now, I could have used the YouTube or BBC iPlayer apps; I could have relied on many other apps but instead I decided to have a browser-only mobile experience. The results, sadly, were mixed – the problem being that Windows Phone doesn’t support Adobe Flash.

Although the Internet Explorer mobile app has HTML5 support, if you want to enjoy media streamed using Flash you’re stuck. The alternative is to use HTML5 or apps from the Windows Phone Store that offer the media you’re looking for, streamed to your phone.

So why is Adobe Flash unavailable on Windows Phone, and why must you use an app?

Flash for Mobiles: The Current Situation

The first nail in the coffin for Adobe Flash mobile support came from Apple when the technology giant began restricting deployment of Flash-based apps on the iPhone and later the iPad. This was initially done under the auspices of improved security for users, but may well have been aimed more at blocking developers from releasing Flash games that can be played without the user accessing the Appstore.

Following this, in 2011, Adobe announced that Flash support would be withdrawn for mobile devices. Although it is still possible to install and run Flash on Android How to Install Flash On Your Android Jelly Bean Tablet or Phone How to Install Flash On Your Android Jelly Bean Tablet or Phone For the past few years, Adobe Flash has proved quite controversial. Ever since Apple opted to block support for it on iOS – thereby forcing anyone who wanted to use the iPhone or iPad to... Read More there is no more development of the technology for anything other than Windows and Mac OS X.

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However, despite all of this, Microsoft was very interested in having a version of Flash developed by Adobe to run on Windows 8 (specifically in the Modern tile based interface). As Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are quite closely related, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that an official Flash app might arrive at some point.

Until then, however…

Watch Flash Videos on Windows Phone 8 with Apps

In order to enjoy Flash video clips and streaming websites on Windows Phone, you will probably need to use an app.

muo-bbciplayertips-wp8

There are various popular video site apps for Windows Phone, such as YouTube (there are several of these), Vimeo, Dailymotion and BBC iPlayer. Each of these is free, simple to use and brings video streaming to your phone without Flash.

In addition, the Flash Videos app extends the number of Flash-based video streaming websites to include a wider selection of content types. However, this app isn’t free – you’ll need to spend $4.99 at the Windows Phone Store to use it, but it is very highly rated.

(Incidentally, beware of a dreadful app called Adobe Flash which is, despite the name, nothing of the sort. Rather, it is a collection of Adobe Flash-themed news feeds!)

Enjoy Streaming Video With HTML5 What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the past few years, you may have heard the term HTML5 every once in a while. Whether you know anything about web development or not, the concept can be somewhat nebulous and confusing. Obviously,... Read More

As mentioned above, Internet Explorer 10 mobile on Windows Phone 8 has good HTML5 support. This means you can enjoy videos that are streamed using this method. Many of the apps above also use HTML5 streaming.

muo-flash-wp8-html5

You can try out HTML5 streaming for Windows Phone 8 devices by heading to the YouTube HTML5 opt-in at www.youtube.com/html5. Here you can join by tapping the Join the HTML5 trial button – but make a note of the items that are supported by Windows Phone, as illustrated here.

muo-flash-wp8-ie

Once you have opted in, browse YouTube and find a video to view. The clip will open in your phone’s video player, streamed via HTML5. Note that you will have to have Desktop version selected as your website preference in Settings > Applications > Internet Explorer. Also note that YouTube advises that some videos with ads are not yet supported.

For more information on how HTML5 is supported on Windows Phone (and other platforms) head to http://mobilehtml5.org/. Meanwhile Joel’s article What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the past few years, you may have heard the term HTML5 every once in a while. Whether you know anything about web development or not, the concept can be somewhat nebulous and confusing. Obviously,... Read More explains exactly what HTML5 is and its impact on the web or get started learning HTML5 with our brand new guide written by Matthew.

What About Playing Flash Games?

Enjoy browser-based Flash games, perhaps in Facebook or one of the many Flash gaming sites?

Forget it – on Windows Phone, these websites cannot be used as the Flash-based game content simply won’t run. Unlike Android and iOS, there are few apps that can take the place of these browser based games – no Farmville or Mafia Wars, for instance.

muo-flash-wp8-games

If you’re an avid gamer, of course, there is little reason to want to play Flash games on Windows Phone, when you have access to a library of Xbox Live titles, your Xbox Gamertag How Xbox Live Users Can Benefit From A Windows Phone How Xbox Live Users Can Benefit From A Windows Phone If you’re a fan of mobile gaming and also own an Xbox 360 console, you might well be aware of Xbox Live, Microsoft’s digital delivery service that also supports multiplayer and most importantly allows you... Read More and all of the achievements and points that come with them!

Conclusion: Want Flash on Windows Phone? Use Apps or Forget It!

The state of Flash for mobile platforms is one of decline. Indeed, it is fascinating to see such a widely used piece of software become overlooked and replaced in this way. Very few applications and utilities can claim to have been so widely used, but it does seem that Flash is on the way out – we’re currently enjoying its final days, thanks to the arrival of HTML5.

So, if you want to view Flash videos on Windows Phone 8, use an app that will stream the videos using a different platform. If you want Flash gaming on the same mobile device, forget it and start browsing the ever-growing Windows Phone Store instead.

With iOS banning Flash and Adobe withdrawing support for mobile devices while planning new ways to support HTML5, there is absolutely no reason for a Windows Phone device to support this increasingly archaic system.

Are you excited about HTML5 or do you mourn the departure of Flash? Let us know in the comments what could ease your the transition!

Image Credit: Angry Man via Shutterstock

  1. Person
    May 5, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    i want flash support to watch flash animations on places cough*e621*cough

  2. Dileep Kumar Saxena
    November 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    HTML5 video background overlap on all windows phone......How's resolve it? plzzz. give me solutions........

  3. Matthew Day
    September 4, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Metro Browser may be a possible answer - supports Flash video for a number of sites, not sure if it would work with others that it doesn't mention

  4. karmann
    May 12, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    I'm going to get straight to the point. I know Hate is a strong word but I hate windows phone they are always limiting the consumers, telling them what they can do or not. The bottom line its all about the money. My eyes are open now and I will never buy a windows phone again. Thanks no flash player. And many other apps

    • inder
      June 22, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Windows mobile are good for nothing... even the cheepest mobile i.e anroid mobile user enjoys best of apps... but Microsoft is least bothered to merge with FB and other happning things in the world...I am sure it would become like Blackberry sooner or later....

  5. Gio
    March 22, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Most popular website in my country http://www.myvideo.ge is based on flash and I can't watch videos and TV with my Nokia lumia 925 and there is no app for this site :( unfortunately there is only one solution to buy a phone with a different platform :(

  6. Jeff
    March 14, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Jason, if you want to watch the news feed, theres an app to stream live tv on my windows phone, from att

  7. Jason S
    March 13, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    I think the bigger point is being missed here. First, let me say, I've owned nothing but Windows phones for the past 2 1/2 years and WP has great potential. The problem is, the average person can go to their local carrier, pick up an iPhone or Android and get flash content easily, Yes, I know you say they don't come with Flash built in, and I get that but all that "tech talk" means nothing to us average users. We just want it to work, and work easily. When my friends can watch flash video's (say, from a local news channel's website--which is a true event that made me feel stupid for arguing to them that WP is better than others) and I can't, it makes MS and WP look bad. Yes, there's the argument that it's not secure and that the other platform users are able to use it via 3rd part apps, BUT at least they can view it at all. At the very least MS could hire a 3rd party app developer to provide this experience. Just as pointed out above, people can grab the phone next to WP's at their local carrier that do more things than a WP and as long as this is the case, WP has no hope. Why doesn't MS get this!? Or maybe they do and just don't care? I hate to think that because I so desperately want WP to succeed but when my friend's iphone has a much better MS Office experience via apps than my WP made by MISCROSOFT does, I think I have a valid concern to question the true motives of MS.
    I would love to hear others thoughts on this!

  8. lamar
    February 17, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Good grief folks, if your that dead set on using out of date and unsupported software, then simply use remote desktop or remote pc to login to your desktop/tablet/laptop, open your browser, go to the movie or game you want to play, and TADAAAA. This is not complicated, and has been around ever since cell phones have been internet capable. And yes the device your remoting into has to be on, and has to be setup to accept remote clients. This is just one of the many work-arounds for using software that is no longer available or unsupported by the manufacturer. And if your truly wanting this situation to get better, email all the folks that are currently deploying flash, or even worse continuing to produce new content in flash, and advise them of your desire for the media to be mobile friendly.

    • Christian Cawley
      February 19, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Good advice, Lamar.

  9. Tom
    February 14, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Yeah but Cawley. flash based games and apps are still being created and html5 still lacks total support for browsers on mobile devices. So like Vlada, why is flash allready being banned. It makes no sense to me and really seems you loosing clients. For iOS and Android you still luckely can install browsers like puffin. It really is to early for only HTML 5. And about being secure... so you can tell me now that HTML 5 is going to be more secure than flash? HTML 5 is still under development, isn`t it?? And isn`t it the choice of the client if he would like to play insecure flash?? Just google it and you will see how many customers and developers actually hate that flash is being banned just like that and not even being replaced by something that is ready and fully supported by all browsers and devices. So it really seems really stupid that flash has been banned so soon.

  10. david shelby
    January 22, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I hate the windows phone will never buy it again no flash player sucks

    • Christian Cawley
      January 26, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Android doesn't come with Flash built in. Neither does iOS.

      Worth thinking on. Flash is unsecure, regularly vulnerabilities are found which is why you have to update it so regularly on Windows. It is also bloated. Think about HTML5 browsers, and the ease with which they playback video.

      Flash is not a reason for choosing one mobile platform over another. :)

    • Vlada
      January 28, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      I dont understand you mr Cawley,
      Fire can burn an be unsecure, but still caveman took the chance and we are here ...worth thinking on... Where would we be if he did not make fire again?
      Flash is maybe all that you say but when you take out possibility for choose app you will loose clients ... Simple as that so... Worth thinking on?

    • Christian Cawley
      February 8, 2015 at 9:25 am

      Vlada, your post seems to overlook the fact that Flash just isn't secure enough. This is why Apple dropped support in iOS, why Android dropped native support, why Microsoft won't have it on Windows Phone, and why HTML5 has had such a strong takeup from developers.

  11. Tom
    January 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    I don't see why the surface tablets support flash and phones don't... When I want to stream live tv abroad, which is a huge problem for me, I have to switch to my surface... Most live streaming sites use flash... I think its to prevent ppl from streaming tv, I mean who the hell cares about flash games, when you can stream HBO and other premium content..

  12. Matta Haris
    January 19, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I have window phone (Lumia 620) but I am facing many problem, first of all flash player is not working secondly many applications are not available in store. In the range of same price you can Samsung phone and enjoy...

  13. Nick
    January 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    I always keep reading how flash player is "dead", yet, like a zombie, I still see it running around on websites alll over the web. I think the real zombies are Microsoft for not creating a way for windows mobile phones to access flash content. I will not purchase a windows phone again in the future.

  14. crystal
    January 5, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I hate my windows 8 phone, for the cost of the phone you should be able to watch or play anything you want to on it. No flash player really stinks!

  15. Geoff
    January 3, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Weave links to articles that have flash based video, quite pointless if the mobile format doesn't support it.

  16. Geoff
    January 3, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Weave links to articles that have flash based video, quite pointless if the mobile format doesn't support it.

  17. Jean James
    October 31, 2013 at 12:39 am

    The free TV offered over WIFI on SouthWest flights requires Flash.

    :(

  18. Darren
    October 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    I would be happy with html5 if everyone actually used it for web based streamed content. Unfortunately, most of them still use flash, many without either an equivalent app or the content you can get with an app being reduced compared to a flash enabled web browser on a regular PC. When is this situation going to change? If flash is dead, why is it still undead everywhere?

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