Surf the Web Faster with ClickToFlash Safari Extension

As many fans of the iPad know, Apple is currently having a war of words with Adobe over its Flash plug-in for web browsers. As a Mac user, you have probably already experienced Safari or Firefox crashing due to Flash. You have likely heard your computer’s fans go crazy when Flash videos are on screen (I can’t tell you how many times my fiancée has had to put on headphones just so she can hear the video). And, you’ve likely noticed that your machine slows down when your web browser needs to load Flash. This is truly a love-hate relationship, as many people want or need to use Flash but hate dealing with its bugginess and poor performance on Mac OS X.

ClickToFlash Extension for Safari

Swearing off Flash is not realistic for most people right now, but if you could selectively decide which Flash animations and videos to load, you could control your web browsing experience, improve your browsing speed, reduce your processor load (which keeps the fans down), and even improve your battery life (if you’re on a laptop). How can you do this? Install ClickToFlash. This is an amazing Internet plug-in that lets you do all the things I have just mentioned. It also can force YouTube to load the QuickTime-native, H.264 versions of videos (which are typically higher quality and use less processing power). You can even “whitelist” certain cites so that ClickToFlash always loads the Flash content from those cites, meaning you don’t have to manually click a flash animation each time you want to display it.

When ClickToFlash is running, it shows you the outline of location that a website has placed a Flash video. In the middle of the outline box, the word “Flash” appears. If you click inside the outline, the Flash animation/video loads. That’s it. If you don’t click inside the box, the Flash video never loads! This way, you control what you see and when you see it.

Two other notes:

  • You can click the gear in the upper-left corner of the outline box for advanced settings, including whitelisting the site you are currently on (again, whitelisting means ClickToFlash will always load Flash from that site without your prompting).
  • You can access the ClickToFlash preferences from the Safari menu. This lets you further customize your Flash experience.

To install ClickToFlash, follow these steps:

  1. Download ClickToFlash.
  2. Once downloaded, double click the installer in your downloads folder (if it does not automatically open). This brings up your typical installer window.
  3. Follow the prompts to install ClickToFlash, which places the plug-in in your /Library/Internet Plug-ins folder.
  4. Restart Safari or Firefox, if they were open while you performed the installation. Only then will they load the plug-in.

That’s it! You have successfully installed ClickToFlash and are on your way to a better web browsing experience.

Did this tip work for you? How else have you improved your web browsing experience? Do you have any tips for avoiding problems in Flash? Share your thoughts in the comments section.