How to: Watch Flash Videos in Android 4.0+

Admittedly, Mrs. The Droid Lawyer and I are addicted to that British drama, Downton Abbey. Fortunately, so are 7.9 million other Americans. Our problem though is that we missed the start of season 3 and don’t have DVR (cancelled that expensive budget-breaker). The good news though for us is that the shows are available online, which makes catching up very easy. The problem, as others probably found, is that you can’t view Adobe Flash enabled content on an Android tablet or phone running Android 4.0 or higher.


You’ll recall that Android dropped its love for Flash during the summer of 2012. Sure, we could use a laptop and hook it up to our television, but that requires extra effort, cables, and settings. Since my tablet already connects to the television via HDMI, we prefer to use the tablet.

And we can, provided we’re willing to tweak a few settings. Here’s how you can run Flash content on your Android 4.0+ device:

First, since you can’t download Adobe Flash in Google Play, you’ll need to “sideload” the app. This means you’re going to download the application install file to your Android device and open the file yourself, rather than having the function performed in Google Play. The process is the same as opening and installing a program on your desktop, and is safe, provided you’re using a reliable source for the file.

You’ll want to make sure that you’ve allowed “Unknown sources” (menu > settings > security > Unknown sources), which will enable you to install the file using the sideload method.

With unknown sources enabled, your next step is to download the application file. Install this straight from your device so you don’t have to transfer  and find it later. You may need to open the file using a program like ASTRO File Manager. If that’s the case, just browse to your Downloads folder and open the file from there.

Once you install Flash, you’re almost ready. If you’re using Google Chrome as your primary browser, you’ll have to abandon it for the moment. Unfortunately, Flash doesn’t run in Chrome, but it runs fine on the native browser. If you open your browser and don’t see the warning, you’re all set.

Now, some warnings:

  • This method isn’t perfect. The video often pauses and stutters. I believe this is more easily attributed to internet speed than to a tablet or Flash Player. I want you to be aware before you bite my head off.
  • If you find the video stuttering, try viewing the program in a smaller screen. We zoom some pictures in to provide a better viewing experience on the tablet. You lose some picture quality, but this isn’t significant since you’re already viewing the video over the internet. Also, don’t forget that the native browser allows you to view the page in “desktop mode” (menu > Request desktop site) versus the standard mobile browser. This will enable the full screen settings that aren’t available in the mobile browser mode.



Note: neither of the pictures above are viewing in full screen mode. They are screenshots of the zoomed in screen in Dolphin browser.

  • Try using a different browser, like Dolphin Browser HD. Dolphin has user agents that mimic different browsers. Changing a user agent can help improve the video output.


6 Responses to How to: Watch Flash Videos in Android 4.0+

  1. Works on Firefox on tablet Samsung tab 2, but not on phone Motorola droid razr. Need Puffin for both. Chrome never.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.