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Options for Viewing Flash on your iPad

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There are many out there who own an iPad but are frustrated by the lack of Flash support. This prevents many webpages from displaying their content correctly on the iPad .  In addition Flash games are not supported on the iPad either.  Regardless of your views regarding the future of Flash or the alternatives such as html5 that are available, Apple has made it clear that Flash support is not in the future for the iPad (http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/).  So if you own an iPad and want to experience Flash, what are your options?

Of course you can get by without Flash but there will be some websites that just won’t display well.  Here are some ways to view Flash content on your iPad:


The first approach requires you jailbreak your iPad.  Then you are able to install an application called ‘Frash.’  This will allow Flash content to play in the Safari browser on the iPad.  But there are alternatives for those who do not want to go through the trouble (or risk) of the jailbreak. Most of these options utilize some version of a VNC or remote desktop.
Using one of the available remote desktop apps you can basically run your PC, Mac or Linux machine remotely on your iPad and use the native browser on your computer for the flash.  This requires a VNC program such as VNC Viewer ($9.99) or TeamViewer (free for non-commercial use).  These methods are somewhat slow options that will be limited by your network speed and can often have lots of pixilation and significant lags.  From a security point there is an opening in your computer firewall by these programs.

A more recent approach involves using a virtual desktop like approach with a browser interface on the iPad.  Essentially the webpage/game is on the app company’s server rather than being hosted on your own computer.  These apps do a better job than a remote desktop since the only data being transmitted back and forth to your iPad is related to the current site you are on.  But there is a monetary price to be paid to the app company for this service.


iSwifter is a cloud-based streaming service for Flash games such as Yahoo games, AOL games, Kongregate.  There is a one-time $4.99 charge for the app after a 30 minute trial period.  This only works on WiFi at this time and does not support 3G connections.
Cloud Browse is available from iTunes with a 10 minute time limit for the basic version ($2.99 purchase) and then monthly subscriptions can be purchased for $4.99/month or $5.99/month.  Cloud Browse runs a hosted Firefox browser on their server and users enter the url of the site they want to go to.  This will work on WiFi or 3G but of course performance will be affected by your connection speed.  Cloud Browse will give access to java and Flash content of websites including Flash games.
Skyfire Web Browser and Skyfire VideoQ both offer ways to watch Flash content, mostly videos, on the iPad.  The Web Browser allows direct surfing to a site while the VideoQ app requires you enter the url.  They are available for $2.99 each but my experience with them was not as successful on many sites as Cloud Browse.
The Puffin Web Browser is another hosted browser alternative.  It is available from iTunes for $0.99 but is also hit or miss for viewing Flash content.  

One concern with the hosted browser approaches such as Cloud Browse, Puffin and Skyfire is that the hosting server has access to any username/passwords that are entered in your hosted sessions.  You are relying on the hosting company to keep your information safe and secure but there are theoretical risks.  If you are using these hosted browsers you should only use them to access content you cannot view with the standard iPad browsers.
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5
Author:snailcat
5 Comments
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by:Jason C. Levine
snailcat,

Nice article, gets my vote.  What is your opinion on the performance of the cloud options?
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Expert Comment

by:ibrahim52
Honestly i am currently using Puffin and Iswifter, iSwifter is much better than any other cloud based web browser. Nice article , i got to try this frash :)
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by:Bryav
I just upgraded to the Samsung Galazy Tab 10.1 which allows you view all flash and air applications in the web browser. The only thing missing is Silverlight support now.
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Expert Comment

by:lherrou
@Bryav: yes, but that's Android-based, correct?
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by:RRPELLET
I have Puffin on my iPad - video and audio are choppy.  Useless, in my opinion.

Thanks for this article - some other good ideas to try here.

Sure, Flash is passé, but until it's completely gone, we should be able to play it on an iPad!
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