Stop Flash and other plugins from automatically loading in Safari. ClickToPlugin doesn’t just block Flash: it also lets you play videos without it, or even play them using AirPlay.
If you want to get more out of your Macbook’s battery, avoiding Flash can help – for this reason some Mac users refuse to install the plugin at all. If that’s not practical for you, ClickToPlugin can stop Flash and other plugins from loading unless you specifically tell them to.
There are similar options out there for Chrome and Firefox, but ClickToPlugin goes even further by letting you play some videos – including TED, Comedy Central and the BBC – without using Flash at all. Instead, the videos will play using Safari’s built-in media player. With this workaround you can even download videos, or send them to any Airplay-compatible device. Here’s how it works.
Blocks Flash, Provides Alternatives
With ClickToPlugin installed, Flash videos won’t automatically show up – instead, you’ll see a frame with a thumbnail.
In this example you’re looking at a video on TED.com. Normally this video would play using Flash, but you can click the “HTML5” button to watch the video using the media player built into Safari.
This means you can avoid Flash entirely without missing out. If you prefer Flash, move your mouse to the top-left corner of the video. You’ll see the option to use Flash, as well as a few other playback options.
You can pick between different resolutions of the video, if you like, or opt to use the Flash-based player. It’s worth noting you won’t always see these options – some sites aren’t supported by ClickToPlugin. For example: on Hulu, Flash is your only choice.
Having said that, the plugin does work in some places you wouldn’t expect. Comedy Central, for example:
Let’s get back to playback options. You might have noticed I didn’t mention one that’s visible here: using Airplay.
Sending Videos To Airplay Devices
Airplay, for those who don’t know, is a service built into Apple TV. It has a lot of uses: mirroring your Mac’s screen on your TV, sending videos from your iPhone to a bigger screen, and playing music on your Mac using your TV’s speakers.
You can also use this service to send videos from your Mac to your Apple TV, but there’s no built-in support for sending web videos. This is where ClickToPlay comes in: the plugin lets you send supported videos to any AirPlay-compatible device. If you don’t have an Apple TV, know that there are other Airplay receivers that work using it.
Myself, I’m a fan of Kodi (formally XBMC) – and that media center app supports the AirPlay protocol. This means ClickToPlugin is probably the best way for Safari users to instantly send any video to XBMC.
ClickToPlugin only supports AirPlay on sites where Flash needs to be blocked. On the modern web, this is true of fewer sites – Vimeo, for example, runs entirely on HTML5. For sites like this, with no Flash to block, the maker of ClickToPlugin offers the Media Center Extension for Safari.
The Weirdness With YouTube
Speaking of the modern web: as of Safari 8, YouTube doesn’t use Flash at all. All YouTube videos are served up using YouTube’s own HTML5 interface. The change is so seamless you might not have noticed, but ClickToPlugin users did: the plugin stopped letting users watch videos using Safari’s default video player.
Some users liked using ClickToPlugin for YouTube videos so much that the extension still works for the site. If you find this weird, there’s a fix in the plugin’s settings.
Speaking of the settings, let’s go over them. You can open the settings for ClickToPlugin by right-clicking anything in Safari – the option is at the bottom of the list. Alternatively, you can use a keyboard shortcut: it’s Option and “,” (comma) by default.
There’s a lot going on here; head to the extension’s help page for a full tutorial.
The general tab of the options includes the set of “Killers” used by default. If you’d rather let YouTube use its own HTML5 interface, simply delete the line mentioning YouTube. The service can also support a few additional sites: head to the list of HTML5 Replacements to find out more.
If there are some sites you’d like to allow plugins on, you can do so on the “Control lists” section of the settings.
If you’d like to configure how the media player looks and acts, and which options it provides in the source menu, head to the “Media player” section.
You can also decide which options show up in Safari’s right-click menu.
As you can see, there’s a lot to configure here. It’s the kind of extension that behaves exactly the way you’d like it to, if you take the time to configure it.
Do You Block Plugins?
This extension helps preserve your battery, and Safari feels faster with it turned on. I highly recommend you give it a shot.
Do you block plugins in your browser? If so, why? Let’s talk about this and more in the comments below – I’m looking forward to it.
Image Credits: Boxing glove Via Shutterstock