Adobe’s Flash has been widely heralded as the leading cause of crashes under Mac OS X; anecdotal and quantifiable (in the form of aggregated crash reports) support this claim. It’s also been blamed for poor battery life on portables, CPU hogging and other maladies.
Disabling the plug-in and running it on a per-case basis can be easily accomplished with the tool ClickToFlash. This handy utility allows users to–as the name implies–trigger playback of Flash content on web pages via a mouse click. It also swaps out Flash-based YouTube videos for higher-quality H.264 versions (something that can also be accomplished by joining the YouTube HTML5 beta).
However, if you’d like to operate Flash normally, there are a few simple procedures you can implement to significantly increase performance and avoid the most common crash causes.
Update to the hardware-accelerated “Gala” beta. If you’re using one of the following Macs:
- MacBooks shipped after January 21st, 2009
- Mac Minis shipped after March 3rd, 2009
- MacBook Pros shipped after October 14th, 2008
- iMacs which shipped after the first quarter of 2009
upgrade to the Flash Player 10.1 “Gala” preview release. It includes H.264 video hardware decoding on Mac OS X 10.6.3. This feature dramatically increases playback performance and decreases CPU usage on compatible Macs. You can tell that the video you’re watching is hardware accelerated if there’s a small white square in the upper left corner the playback window.
Clear the Flash cache and delete preference file. Navigate to /Users//Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/ and delete the folder #SharedObjects.
Also navigate to /Users//Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/
and delete the files macromedia.com and version.txt then restart.
Uninstall then reinstall Flash. Although it’s somewhat tedious, uninstalling then reinstalling Flash has eliminated crashing and performance issues for a number of users. Download the Flash uninstaller, then download either the Gala pre-release (if your Mac has the appropriate graphics hardware) or the current release edition, then restart.