How to force Flash updates in Chrome

The following guide walks you through the steps of checking the installed Flash version in Google Chrome, and forcing it to update if an outdated version is used by the browser.

All versions of the Google Chrome web browser ship with Adobe Flash installed natively in the browser. While Chrome does not support classic NPAPI plugins anymore, Chrome is still supporting PPAPI plugins of which Flash is one.

This is good usually for users who require Adobe Flash. The main reason why that is the case is that users don't have to worry about the installed version of Adobe Flash too much, as Google takes care of the updating.

How to force Flash updates in Chrome

While this works fine most of the time, usually before or at the time Adobe releases updates for Flash, it may happen that Google is late to the party when it comes to pushing the updated version of Flash to Chrome installations.

This has the effect that Chrome users run an outdated version of Flash, and that should be cause for concern as that goes along with a truckload of vulnerabilities usually.

adobe flash ppapi download

Downloading and installing the latest Flash Player from Adobe won't help in this case, as Chrome relies on the PPAPI version of Flash and ignores the NPAPI version that is installed from Adobe's site.

Adobe offers Flash PPAPI versions for download, and that is one option that you have to update Flash in Chrome and Chromium. But, there is another option, one that is more comfortable than having to visit Adobe's website, downloading the new Flash installer from it, and running it on devices that you want to update.

We talked about Chrome's chrome://components/ page back in 2012 for the first time, and hinted at the possibility of using it to check for updates.

force-update adobe flash player chrome

Basically, what you want to do is the following to check for, download, and install Flash updates in Chrome:

  1. Load the internal chrome://components/ page by pasting it in the address bar and hitting the Enter-key (or typing it).
  2. Locate Adobe Flash Player on the page. You can check the version right then and there, or hit the "check for update" button underneath it right away.

This runs an update check. If Google has released an update, but not yet delivered it to your device, it will be downloaded and installed.

It is certainly a possibility that Google has not yet made available the update for Chrome's Flash plugin. The check for updates fails in this case, and your only option is to head over to the Adobe website to perform the manual update instead. (via Computerworld)

Tip: you may disable Flash in Chrome entirely as well if you don't need it.

Closing Words

Google is usually pretty fast when it comes to Flash updates in Chrome. But if you notice that Adobe released an update for Flash, and Google did not yet push it to your device, you may use the method to try forcing the update. (thanks Ilev, via Computerworld)

Now You: Do you use Flash at all anymore?

Article Name
How to force Flash updates in Chrome
The following guide walks you through the steps of checking the installed Flash version in Google Chrome, and forcing it to update if an outdated version is used by the browser.
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Responses to How to force Flash updates in Chrome

  1. ms February 15, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Only for a certain browser game or two, and a streaming site that haven't moved towards HTML5.
    Its going the way of the dodo bird!

  2. Netguy101 February 15, 2017 at 11:46 am #

    You forget to mention that the Adobe flash version is updated only for that user account. So, someone would have to go through all user accounts and update flash via that Chrome://components address.

    Also, I hope there is a way to automate this, so that Adobe flash is constantly checked for updates at the browsers' startup.

  3. Sylvio Haas February 15, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    Hello, Martin

    No method brought an update for Adobe Flash.
    1. I downloaded and installed the update from Adobe's site but nothing happened, the version is the same I had before.
    2. Google Components page. There it stated "Component not updated" and when I clicked on Check for Updates the result was the same: "Component not updated".

    Does this mean that I cannot force an update and have to wait until Chrome decides to update?

    Thank you.

    • Martin Brinkmann February 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

      Sylvio, it appears that way. Do you block connections to Google by chance in Chrome?

      • Sylvio Haas February 16, 2017 at 10:49 pm #

        Thank you for answering. No, I don't block connections to Google, unless I do it and am not aware of it! Where should I look??? Thank you.

      • Martin Brinkmann February 17, 2017 at 4:34 am #

        Sylvio, it seems unlikely that this is the cause then. Which version of Flash is installed?

  4. Anonymous February 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    I believe the flash portion in the chrome://components link is missing in version 57+, same with chrome://plugins. Moved to chrome://settings/content for management.

    • Martin Brinkmann February 15, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

      I still see Adobe Flash Player listed under Components in Chrome 58.

      • Anonymous February 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

        Thanks, I will try again, this version 58.0.3013.0 (64-bit) has it missing

    • ilev February 15, 2017 at 5:19 pm #

      I have updated version of Flash in my Chrome Version 57.0.2987.37 beta (64-bit) and Flash is listed under /components.

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