Dropping Adobe Flash boosts Apple's MacBook Air battery life by 2 hours

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has stopped bundling Adobe Flash on new Macs, ostensibly so users could obtain the latest, secure version themselves, but vastly increased battery life seems to be another leading reason.



According to testing performed by Chris Foresman of Ars Technica, the new MacBook Air can last for a full six hours after loading a series of webpages in Safari, but its battery performance drops down to four hours once Adobe Flash is installed and the same sites are loaded.



"Flash-based ads kept the CPU running far more than seemed necessary," Foresman wrote. Without the Flash plugin installed, websites typically display static ads in place of Flash content, erasing the need for constant processing power demanded by the Flash plugin's rendering engine.



With Flash ads consuming as much as 33 percent of the MacBook Air's battery potential, it's no wonder why Apple has demonstrated no interest in getting a version of Flash installed on its iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, all of which have much smaller batteries.



This summer, Adobe launched a public relations attack on Apple for failing to support Flash on its iOS devices, nor allowing Adobe to deliver a version of Flash for the iOS platform, nor approving apps for the iOS that were created in Adobe's Flash Professional application. Apple has backed away from refusing to approve apps created with third party tools, but has shown no interest in getting Flash content to run on its iOS.



When asked for "any updates" on the company's stance on Flash during its quarterly earnings report, chief executive Steve Jobs quipped, "flash memory? We love flash memory," before taking the next question.



Apple's removal of Adobe's Flash plugin from a default install on the new MacBook Air coincided with the company's debut of a more conservative new "wireless productivity test" it said was more in line with actual use, and better standardized for accurate comparisons between models. Being able to test the new machine without its battery being taxed by Flash ads certainly helps the company achieve better results.



The Shrinking Flash Platform



Microsoft stopped bundling Adobe Flash with the release of Windows Vista in 2007, although its motivation was likely due to the company's efforts to push its rival Silverlight plugin. However, Windows implements Flash as an ActiveX control, which means users can click on Flash placeholders within a webpage and the Flash plugin will install itself. New Mac users will have to manually download and install Flash from Adobe in order to make it available.



Apple sells far more iOS devices than Macs, and no iOS devices support runtimes for Flash content. That has had a major effect upon advertisers, publishers, website design, and online video broadcasters, who have collectively made monumental shifts away from Flash. This in turn has made Flash playback far less important on the desktop than it was just a year or two ago, although there is still important content tied to Flash.



Apple has removed Flash content from its own website, although it also has supported Adobe's efforts to add hardware acceleration to the Mac OS X version of Flash, and has approved the Skyfire plugin for iOS' Mobile Safari, which uses a gateway service to translate Flash videos into HTML5 videos that can play on Apple's devices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 94
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,254member
    Using clikctoflash increases my MBP by several hours too from my unscientific usage tests so I am not surprised.
  • Reply 2 of 94
    If you just use it to read with very low bright screen or use it as an iPod only, it will last lot longer duuhhh
  • Reply 3 of 94
    Wait, I thought Adobe said Flash had no effect on battery life? </trolling>



    No surprise here, and actually inspires me further to just uninstall Flash altogether.
  • Reply 4 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    ...inspires me further to just uninstall Flash altogether.



    Do.



    http://stevenf.tumblr.com/post/13767...ir-models-were
  • Reply 5 of 94
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,096member
    This begs the question. When a user installs Flash on their shiny new Air and sees their battery life cut by 33% who will they complain to and blame? Hint; it won't be Adobe. The Apple discussions forums will light up with blathering, outraged users who will blame Apple for their "terrible battery life". You know they will.
  • Reply 6 of 94
    bedouinbedouin Posts: 331member
    Adobe's comeback to this should be laughable, if they even bother.
  • Reply 7 of 94
    I like the fact that Apple are using a more "real world" test for advertising battery life. I continue to be impressed that my iPad gets consistently more than their advertised 10 hours.
  • Reply 8 of 94
    Since installing click to flash my original version Macbook Air does not crash.
  • Reply 9 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Using clikctoflash increases my MBP by several hours too from my unscientific usage tests so I am not surprised.



    You know, I used clicktoflash and it did good. The only think I didn't like is when a site loaded one of those rollover ads that take up the entire screen and I was stuck with a big outline of what should've been there. Maybe I wasn't using it right.
  • Reply 10 of 94
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    You know, I used clicktoflash and it did good. The only think I didn't like is when a site loaded one of those rollover ads that take up the entire screen and I was stuck with a big outline of what should've been there. Maybe I wasn't using it right.



    It would be cool if it could show just the initial image. Just installed, will see how it goes. Adobe probably should have kept their mouth shut, it went from bad to worse.



    And, still have not seen any indication that Flash ever ran in the iPhone in the first place, so probably easier to just say that Apple hates us than do the work.
  • Reply 11 of 94
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,124member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bedouin View Post


    Adobe's comeback to this should be laughable, if they even bother.



    Probably something about "not experiencing the whole internet" or crap like that.
  • Reply 12 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Using clikctoflash increases my MBP by several hours too from my unscientific usage tests so I am not surprised.



    I have to agree. Until I installed ClickToFlash I didn't realise how much un-necessary junk was being downloaded and run.



    I can live without an animated title banner, but hey - if I can't - I just click and there it is.



    Flash needs to be a simple tool, like Java - launched by the user when needed, not automatically running.



    Think of your browser using cash rather than battery life. Then it makes sense.
  • Reply 13 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    You know, I used clicktoflash and it did good. The only think I didn't like is when a site loaded one of those rollover ads that take up the entire screen and I was stuck with a big outline of what should've been there. Maybe I wasn't using it right.



    You're not using it right. If you're forced into this situation, go to the 'Safari' menu, right next to the apple logo on the top right, and choose 'Click To Flash' > 'Load Flash For This Page' or all pages, if you like. Now the blackmailing flash component is loaded and you can dismiss it.



    Don't blame Click To Flash - just don't visit that website again, and email them to let them know why you won't be clicking on their ads.
  • Reply 14 of 94
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Using clikctoflash increases my MBP by several hours too from my unscientific usage tests so I am not surprised.



    Yeah, you can't live without it. Those ads would be unbearable to watch. But for all the Flash bashing AI does you'd think they would make some effort to get away from Flash themselves, but no, every news story has a flash video and almost all the ads are Flash as well. If Flash is so despicable, why does AI insist on displaying it throughout their whole site?
  • Reply 15 of 94
    this is such a skewed article (like all apple fanboy articles about flash).



    if you gimp a website of some/many of its features, of course it will load faster and use less memory/processor.



    a VALID comparison would be to replace all flash ads, content, tracking, etc with universally-acceptable replacements. the power of flash is that the same thing can run on all platforms. t



    i'd like arstechnica or this site to replicate all the functionality of flash, have it work on all browsers, and then do a study. the comparison of "sites with flash turned on" vs "sites with flash turned off" is essentially a study in "what would the internet be without advertising and instead all free and fast just for me to consume without paying" and that's just sticking your head in the sand



    until flash-bashing articles show a apples to apples comparison of flash games, ads, tracking, video, etc - that work for everyone including ie6 or whatever, the apple bias against flash is strictly fanboyism
  • Reply 16 of 94
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,461member
    If only Apple would patent this innovation , other manufacturers and the Andruids at Google would adopt it sooner, too.
  • Reply 17 of 94
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,461member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by theshaka2 View Post


    the power of flash is that the same thing can run on all platforms.



    This is also the power of the web itself. We don't need Flash. More systems have web browsers than Flash installed.
  • Reply 18 of 94
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    It would be cool if it could show just the initial image. Just installed, will see how it goes.



    That part is up to the coders.



    Code:






    <div id="foo" style="width:640px; height:480px; background:url(poster.jpg); background-repeat:no-repeat;">



    <script>



    Flash loading code here...



    </script>

    </div>









  • Reply 19 of 94
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by theshaka2 View Post


    i'd like arstechnica or this site to replicate all the functionality of flash, have it work on all browsers, and then do a study. the comparison of "sites with flash turned on" vs "sites with flash turned off" is essentially a study in "what would the internet be without advertising and instead all free and fast just for me to consume without paying" ...



    Valid point but it can easily be tested just by using the Youtube HTML5 version and watch until the battery is dead. Then repeat with the Flash version of the video. I'm sure there would be a big difference because Flash isn't that efficient. But playing video isn't all that Flash can do. It does a lot of other stuff. HTML, not so much.
  • Reply 20 of 94
    irelandireland Posts: 17,588member
    Check out the AnandTech review. I don't expect credit for the tip.



    Over in the battery-life segment of the AnandTech through review for the new MacBook Airs the 13" got 11.2 hours on the light web-browsing test with iTunes music running. But then, on the Flash test they got 5 hours.



    That's 6.2 hours of a difference, not 2. Great reporting, btw.
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