Keep Flash Out of Your Face, and Protect Your Computer from Malware, with ClickToPlugin

I’ve long used the ClickToPlugin extension in Safari to prevent plug-ins from loading on web pages. This blocks Flash and other media plug-ins from running, and shows you a placeholder when you load a page with an element that is blocked.

It’s especially useful to block those annoying, moving Flash ads that serve no purpose other than to distract you from reading a web page.

Clicktoflash placeholder

If you do want to load the Flash animation, just click it. (Well, don’t click the one above; it’s just a screenshot.)

As Graham Cluley points out in his security blog, this plug-in can also protect you from Flash zero-day vulnerabilities that can infect your computer; since Flash can’t run, the vulnerability can’t be exploited. Sometimes, the Flash animations that serve malware are tiny, and you don’t even see them.

There are two versions of the plug-in: ClickToFlash, that only blocks Flash, and ClickToPlugin, that blocks other media player plug-ins, and that also tries to force the plug-in to switch to Safari’s built-in HTML5 media player.

This saves time, battery power and bandwidth, and keeps your annoyance level low. And it protects you from annoying Flash animations.

You may simply want to uninstall Flash; you can do that, but you may find that you actually need it from time to time. I find this to be the best solution: I can load the Flash animations if I want to, but, if not, I’m not bothered.

If you use a browser other than Safari, see Graham Cluley’s article for links to plug-ins that work in other browsers.

10 thoughts on “Keep Flash Out of Your Face, and Protect Your Computer from Malware, with ClickToPlugin

  1. I haven’t had Flash installed on either of my Macs for more than a year. Amazon audio previews are pretty much the only thing I’ve had to give up.

  2. I uninstalled Flash a few years ago and switch to Chrome for web sites the require it, which surprisingly is still quite a few. I have more problems with sites that have pop-ups that need to be acknowledged before proceeding as I block pop-ups.

  3. My Macs have been Flash-free for about 5 years now, and there is only one site that fails (a multi-file uploader implemented in Flash, the dev there should really get on with the times). If you do run into a site that need Flash for audio/video, try this (Safari): enable the developer menu (Safari Preferences > advanced), and for those sites, switch to an iPad User Agent string. Magic. That works for e.g. the BBC, NHK and most Japanese broadcasters, and more…
    (and yes, I have Click to plugin installed as well, that helps).

  4. Query pls.

    I went to Safari > Extensions, found and installed the ClickToPlugin extension as suggested on this blog article.. Now, when I go to a web page, Safari displays the message shown in this link:

    Safari is displaying this message on about 50% of the webpages that I visit (bank logins, youtube, etc). It’s annoying to have to continually click to make the message go away. Is this the way that the extension is supposed to work? Thx

    • I’ve never seen this. Perhaps it’s related to a preference. Right-click on a web page, choose ClickToPlugin Preferences. Click General. Is Block Plug-ins Manually checked? (It’s not for me.)

  5. I installed ClickToPlugin but it does not seem to work with BBC. Maybe I am doing something wrong but I cannot see where. Does it work okay for everyone else with BBC?

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