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.


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+.


John2843 · July 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

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

    Jeffrey Taylor · July 31, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Chrome won’t work because it’s HTML5 based, stripped of any Flash elements. Any other browser should work. My preference is native or Dolphin.

    Now though, since I have a Chromebook and Chromecast, I just cast the browser to my television and it works fine.

      kevin · February 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Jeffrey Tayo
      Lot, I’m good till I try to cast my dolphin browser to my TV with chromecast. Can’t figure that part out. Gimme a hint thanx

        Jeffrey Taylor · February 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm

        Can’t. Only works on Chrome for desktops and laptops.

    Howard Hirsch · December 25, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Puffin browser support flash natively. I just downloaded it to my Jelly Bean S4.

      Jeffrey Taylor · December 26, 2013 at 7:43 am

      Puffin works. I prefer Dolphin simply because it offers cross-device syncing.

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