How to hack Adobe Flash onto your modern Android phone

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Apple may have crushed Adobe’s mobile Flash plans with an iron fist, but the prolific ActionScript code continues to pepper websites across the net. Flash for Android was abandoned after Adobe dropped its final release in September 2013, ending support for the platform at Android version 4.0.x.

But as much as we want to move to an HTML5 world, Adobe’s web plugin continues to be supported on desktop operating systems. Which means that if you want to experience the entirety of the interactive web on your Android device, there’s no choice but to saddle up with Flash.

Thankfully for us, a highly resourceful xda-developers member who goes by the handle “surviveland” couldn’t sit idly by with a brand new Nexus 5 that was unable to display Flash content. He dug through the Flash 11.1 Android app code and cobbled together a modified version that will run on Android 4.4.

To take advantage and get Flash running on your Android 4.4 device, you’ll need to install both the Dolphin Browser and the hacked Flash player. You can do this in any order. In my case, I installed the Flash player first and then the Dolphin browser.

flash hacked

Installing a modified version of Flash for Android.

To enable installations of APK’s downloaded outside of the Play store, go to Settings, Security, and tick the checkbox for Unknown Sources. Then, download and install the modified flash player from surviveland's post in the xda-developers forum.

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Dolphin Browser for Android.

Then, install the Dolphin Browser from the Google Play store.

After installing Dolphin Browser, you'll need to update a few settings to enable Flash integration. To access the settings, launch Dolphin Browser, tap on the circular dolphin icon at the bottom left of your screen, then tap on the menu icon displaying 3 horizontal bars.

Tap the Settings button, Make sure Dolphin Jetpack is turned on with a green checkmark (it's enabled by default), then tap User Agent and select Desktop. This makes Dolphin browser identify itself as “Safari on Mac OS X” to websites, which is very useful as many sites will refuse to display Flash content if they think you are using a mobile browser.

dophin flashplayer on

Set Flash Player to Always On in the Dolphin settings.

While still in the Settings menu, scroll down and tap on Web Content, then Flash Player and select Always On. That’s it! You’re now all set up and ready to view Flash content on your Android 4.4 device!

museum of me

Viewing Intel’s ‘Museum of Me’ Adobe Flash app movie on a Moto X.

I tested Flash on my Moto X (running Android 4.4.2) by visiting a few sites, starting with the Flash Player webpage, which plays a simple animation. For a more advanced test, I used Intel’s Museum of Me web app, which harvests data, photos and videos from your Facebook account to create a custom video. For the most part, the Museum of Me Flash app worked great, but I did have issues trying to jump around the video timeline.

Be aware that many Flash applications were developed for desktops only, so some functionality may not work with touchscreens. The Flash player on Android is also known to load videos and content more slowly than its desktop counterpart, and you may see additional incompatibilities for some Flash web apps.

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