Update: After KitKat (4.4) update, you must use the unofficial APK file to make Flash player work on Galaxy S4 again. Please read Part 3 for details on the Flash Player APK file for KitKat.
Once you get your hands on your brand new Galaxy S4, you may encounter the Flash issue. Galaxy S4 does not support Flash!
Even after you side-load the Flash (see below on how to do this), neither the stock browser (Internet app) nor the bundled Chrome recognize Flash.
For Chrome for Android, we all know Flash has been never supported. Do not confuse this Chrome with the Chrome on your desktop.
But for the stock browser, it is quite strange, because the stock browser (with Jelly Bean 4.2) in Nexus 7, Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 all work charmingly with Flash!. For Jelly Bean 4.1, there are no issues even on Samsung’s own handsets, for example, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2. What’s wrong?
Apparently, the stock browser in Galaxy S4 was altered by Samsung to block Flash plugin and other plugins as well.
So, to make Flash work on your S4, we need both Flash player (which is not pre-installed) and a third-party browser.
Before jumping to how to do this, let’s get some background information on why Flash has been an issue for Jelly Bean.
Flash was banned by Apple on iOS! The official explanations include: 1) Flash is not open (same as iOS); 2). There are better alternatives; 3). Reliability, security and performance issues; 4).Battery life issues; 5).Flash is not for touch screen; 6). Flash is a cross platform development tool. Actually, the last one is what Apple fears.
Of course, Flash is not as crappy as what Apple painted. A lot of websites are still using this “old” or “PC Era” technology. There are still sizable (although probably decling after it is banned by Apple) developers So, Flash support has been part of feature list for most Android devices. However, Adobe decided to pull the plug. The Flash player app was withdrawn from Play Store. The official support for Android was stopped at Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich).
In fact, Adobe is still maintaining the apk on their website. And Flash still plays nicely with Jelly Bean 4.1 and 4.2. Some vendors (for example, HTC) actually pre-install Flash on their handsets.
So, the Flash problem in Galaxy S4 was simply created by Samsung. It has nothing to do with Flash or Jelly Bean.
As mentioned, the solution is to install Flash player AND install a third-party browser. Here are the steps.
Part 1. Get the Adobe Flash Player (based on this guide: How do I manually install Flash Player on my Android device?)
- Make sure your Android device is connected to the Internet.
- Go to Settings–Security
- Check the “Unknown sources” check box. (under Device administration)
- Tap OK to confirm your selection.
- Close Settings.
- Launch the browser.
- Search for “flash player archive page” or navigate directly to http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions.html
- On the Archive page, scroll down to “Flash Player for Android archives”
Flash Player 11.1 for Android 4.0 (18.104.22.168)Flash Player 11.1 for Android 4.0 (22.214.171.124)
- Tap the link to download the Flash Player installer. Download begins automatically.
- When download completes, close the browser.
- Open Notifications.
- Tap “install_flash_player.apk”
- When prompted, tap Install.
- When installation is finished, tap Done.
(you can also download the apk file on your PC, copy the file to S4, then install it)
Part 2. Get a browser that support Flash on Galaxy S4
As mentioned, neither Chrome nor the stock browser (aka internet app) does not work with Flash on your S4.
Not all third-part browsers work with Flash on Jelly Bean. Here are a few we tested. yYou do not need to have them all, but it is better to test different browsers for the Flash site you are going to visit. Some browsers work great for some sites, but not other sites.
- Firefox. To be frank, Firefox for Android is not a great app. It is a bit buggy on Jelly Bean. But it is a reliable browser for most sites. Please note, after installing Flash, you need restart Firefox (in the Task Manager, stop it; then start it again).
- Boat Browser (free). It simply works. By default, the Flash plugin is disabled. You need tap the menu button, go to settings–Page content settings-Enable flash/plug-ins, and set it as always on.
- UC Browser. It should work without any additional settings. The Flash will not play automatically, and you need touch the play button on each Flash video.
Of course, there are many other browsers that support Flash. You can test whether Flash is supported by visiting: http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/find-version-flash-player.html
Part 3. After KitKat (4.4) update, you must use this unofficial APK file to make Flash player work on Galaxy S4 again
After updating your Galaxy S4 to KitKat, the official Flash APK file mentioned in part 1 will NOT work.
A xda-developers.com member, surviveland, slightly hacked the official APK file to make it work with KitKat 4.4. You may follow this link to download the Flash Player APK file for KitKat. If that link does not work, you may try this link for the hacked Flash Player 11.1 for KitKat ( credit to surviveland. We are NOT responsible for the APK file. Use at your own risk).
After installing the unofficial Flash Player APK, Flash player should work on S4 now. The recommended browser for KitKat is Dolphin Browser. This one works best with Flash on S4.
Do you still have problems to use Flash on your S4? Do you have any suggestions? Post them in the comment box below.
More Galaxy S4 tips and tricks can be found in Galaxy S4 Tips page.
Samsung Galaxy S4 manual in more than 20 languages can be read or downloaded (PDF) from Samsung Galaxy S4 manual page.