Whether you're streaming a Flash video over the Internet or viewing a file already on your device, you have a variety of options for playing them, no matter which platform you're on. Even iOS usersmore
Whether you're streaming a Flash video over the Internet or viewing a file already on your device, you have a variety of options for playing them, no matter which platform you're on. Even iOS users have options, despite Safari not playing Flash files. Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android each have free apps that will let you play Flash videos. Let's show you which ones are the best.
FLV stands for Flash Video, which is a container for a video that's optimized for streaming over the Internet. This was a popular container on Youtube before it transitioned to HTML5. Most Internet browsers have built-in support for playing FLV files, with the notable exception of Safari on iOS, which will not play Flash for a number of reasons. (Apple has cited security, battery usage, the lack of a touch interface, poor performance on mobile devices, and licensing costs.)
Downloading FLVs can be handy for offline viewing, if you are on a limited data plan or expect to have a poor or non-existent Internet connection. It's popular enough that Youtube Red has integrated downloading into its subscription.
While Safari on iOS does not play FLVs, you can use a third party app like PlayerXtreme Media Player. It's compatible with a variety of video files formats, including MP4 and WMV. However, PlayerXtreme doesn't stream Flash content from a website, only videos that are saved on your device or available on your local network. If you want to view online Flash content, you will need to pay a few dollars for an app like Puffin Web Browser.
You can click-and-drag a video file into a Web browser like Google Chrome ( Windows, Mac, Android, iOS) or Mozilla Firefox (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS) and play it -- but if you want to control things like color, contrast, and brightness, VLC Media Player is arguably your best bet for playing an FLV that's already on your Windows PC.
Apple's Safari browser can play Flash videos, but the function is disabled by default in version 10. A pop-up window will ask you to confirm that you want to play the file. If you click the Use Once button, you will grant permission one time, for that particular file or stream. If you click the Use Every Time button, then Safari will automatically play Flash videos from that point forward, instead of asking you.
Like iOS, Android no longer has built-in support to play Flash videos; it automatically switches to HTML5 when available. Your best bet for watching Flash on Android is to view it in a media player like MX Player. Third-party Android Web browsers such as Dolphin or Puffin can also stream an FLV video from a website.