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Flash Kills the MacBook Air Battery 33% Faster

When Apple shipped its latest MacBook Air laptops without Flash preinstalled, it gave the explanation that it would rather users installed Flash themselves so that they could get the latest, most secure version.

This is a plausible explanation because often times Apple fails to include the latest build of Flash even in its most recent Mac OS X updates. The latest builds of Flash include GPU video acceleration – something that current Mac users have to upgrade themselves if they want the feature.

There could be another very big reason that Apple left out Flash in its latest, thinnest laptops, and that would be battery life.

In Ars Technica's tests of the 11-inch model, it found that the little laptop survived 4 hours of Safari web browsing with Flash enabled. With Flash taken out of the system, the laptop ran for just over 6 hours.

Apple quotes a 5 hour battery life for this particular MacBook Air, so real world numbers appear to be within a close range of that. Still, for those on the go with a new MacBook Air, is it worth sacrificing a third of your battery life for Flash?

Perhaps the best solution would be to have Flash disabled elements until the user decides to display them, like Click to Flash.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • wotan31
    Adobe's Flash implementation on OSX has always been rather poor, running significantly slower (and with much higher CPU utilization) than on Windows. I don't blame Apple for wanting to dump flash in favor of a more open standard. Open standards like HTML5 allow Apple (or Firefox or whoever) to optimize the source code and write a lean and fast implementation. With a proprietary product like Adobe Flash, nobody has any access to the source code except Adobe.
    Reply
  • Trueno07
    Requiring the user to go and get Flash defeats the purpose of it being a mac. Aren't apple's computers known for their ease of use? Requiring the user to download and update Flash kinda kills that...
    Reply
  • hotchrisbfries
    Flash is actively drawn and persistent on web pages. It's also known that it is CPU/GPU intensive. It's like running a DVD nonstop. It takes extra CPU cycles and possibly extra components.

    TLDR = Cpu usage eats battery, duh!
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    So maybe, flash is something to be avoided on mobile devices altogether once its alternative (HTML 5) becomes prevalent.
    Reply
  • gekko668
    With adobe and Apple are on a sour term, it didn't surprise me a bit if Flash isn't fully optimized for the OSX.
    Reply
  • fyend
    wotan31Apple's implementation of FreeBSD has always been rather poor, running significantly slower than the original.
    Fixed.
    Reply
  • Parsian
    just turn the gpu acceleration off...

    oh wait, we are talking about Apple crowd.

    personally, i love the gpu acceleration applications whether its implementation on Firefox 4.0 or on flash 10.1, it makes life far better.
    Reply
  • nebun
    apple and flash are not very good friends
    Reply
  • cashews
    How about testing a website or application written in flash, then test a website or application wrtitten with exactly the same functionality in HTML5.

    This would be a fair comparison.

    I bet watching high definition videos would reduce the battery life by 33% also, does this mean that the ability to play these videos whould be taken away?
    Reply
  • cashews
    The ability to edit your posts for typos would be great also :|
    Reply