Firefox 84 will be the last version with NPAPI plugin support

Mozilla plans to remove support for so-called NPAPI plugins in Firefox 85 according to a post by Jim Mathies, Senior Engineering Manager, to the Mozilla Dev Platform group.

Mozilla dropped support for all NPAPI plugins except for Adobe Flash when it released Firefox 52 in March 2017. NPAPI allowed the browser to integrate plugins to add support for content such as Silverlight or Java to the Firefox web browser.

When Adobe announced that it would stop supporting Adobe Flash at the end of 2020, it was clear that Mozilla would not only disable support for Adobe Flash in Firefox but remove the entire NPAPI codebase from the browser.

Tip: you can disable Adobe Flash in IE and Edge already.

Mozilla will remove support for Adobe Flash in Firefox 84 85, and start the removal of NPAPI in Firefox 85 as well. There won’t be an option to restore Flash plugin support in Firefox 84 or newer.

Firefox 84 Stable will be released on December 15, 2020, and Firefox 85 Stable on January 26, 2021.

firefox remove npapi support 85

Firefox NPAPI removal beings when Firefox Nightly is upgraded to version 85 and continues when Firefox Beta is upgraded to the version. Not all NPAPI plugin code is removed in Firefox 85 initially, but Mozilla wants to achieve the following at the very least:

  • Remove NPAPI plugin support evidence from the Firefox user interface, e.g. internal pages.
  • Make sure that users are informed when they run into content issues in regards to Adobe Flash on the Internet, e.g. when some content, a game, app or video, does not load anymore. Mozilla plans to display a “transparent element” in place of Flash plugin content.
  • Remove or disable internal tests that won’t work anymore because of missing plugins support.
  • Clean-up critical areas of the codebase that is tied to NPAPI plugin support.

Additional patches will land in Firefox 86, which is scheduled to be released on February 23, 2021.

Firefox users and administrators who want to stay in the loop can check this bug to keep an eye on the development.

The next major Firefox ESR release is Firefox 91.0 ESR; it is scheduled for a July 2021 release. It is planned that the ESR release will continue to support Adobe Flash until July 2021 when the next version of ESR is released. Adobe did reveal in the Flash Player End of Life FAQ that Flash content won’t run anymore using Adobe Flash Player after the EOL date. There will be an Enterprise-override.

Some Firefox-based browsers will keep on supporting NPAPI, but the question is whether it really matters in regards to Flash if Adobe integrated a kill-switch of sorts into the code.

Now You: are you affected by the removal of Adobe Flash support?

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