Mac OS X Mavericks and Adobe Flash Player

macOS & Mac Apps

Since I have temporarily switched from my non-working Windows machine to Mac OS X, I have encountered some major disadvantages of the operating system in conjunction with VoiceOver. This is one of them unless there is something I am missing.

I am using the latest Flash plugin with Safari. Many sites require a button to be pressed because the player is set to not automatically play the video. Is the object entirely not accessible to Safari and/or VoiceOver? At least with Internet Explorer or Firefox it was visible and most of the time an unlabelled button could be pressed at the very least. Absolutely nothing shows regardless if the video auto plays or not. If the object is not visible, are there any work-arounds or methods of circumvention? I really can not deal with this any more. It is one thing not being able to download FLV and MP4 files from sites but now I can not even click a button! If Adobe seriously writes off the blind community that quickly the entire company should be condemned. That should be illegal on an international scale with zero exceptions. I tried to download Adobe Air foolishly with the hope it would change something though I know there is no logic to that. However, the download link redirects to the home page with no resulting download.

Much appreciation to anybody who has even a tolerable fix. I just need access to the embedded object that is the player.



Submitted by mehgcap on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Find the frame on the page. Normally, it is just labeled "frame", or sometimes "frame1" or "frame6". Interact with that (vo-shift-down) and you should find the buttons you need. If you find yourself doing this a lot you might want to assign moving by frame to a commander, as there is not a frame movement command by default. For instance, I have VO set up to use a and shift-a, when Quick Nav is on, to jump by frames.

Also, if you are having trouble with OS X in general, take a look at our getting started page for new Mac users.

Submitted by Brother J. on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thanks, I will try that. What if the player is not in a frame? That is common as well and I have encountered that already.

Submitted by mehgcap on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Do you have a link for such a page? Normally, the buttons will just show up in-line, and if they don't, I'm not sure what else you could do. Honestly, I don't even have Flash installed these days, but perhaps someone else could try out a site that is giving you problems. I can also send the link to a Mac email list I'm on to see if anyone can get it to work.

Submitted by Brother J. on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In regards to your comment about a lack of shortcut for frame navigation, I did find two of them. VO+Command+f and VO+Command+Shift+F move forwards and backwards through frames respectively. I guess I can delete my commander keys.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Well I don't think that flash is accessible with voiceover. Fault of adobe cinse it refuses, accordingly with what I have heard, to adapt their client to play with voiceover.
I have nmever been able to access flash buttons inside safari.

Submitted by dvdmth on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

Thanks to Adobe, Flash is generally inaccessible on the Mac. Depending on how it is implemented on a site, you may be able to control the Flash content in spite of the inaccessibility. It depends on whether the buttons you need to interact with are Flash elements or not. That is my understanding, anyway.

At least Flash is being used less often nowadays, and there are some who believe Flash will ultimately go away entirely in favor of HTML5. I'm not convinced myself of that yet, but we can always hope.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

So .... unless the sites either implement html elements to handle the flash or implement flash to use keyboard keys to control flash one is out of luck when it comes to mac.
Installing windows might be an option, but I would install it on a vm and get the two systems running in oparalel.

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My thought is that flash isn't a fault of voiceover, it's lack of usability is adobe. I have never seen a page with lack of intractability within flash elements. If you want, as previous people said, install windows on your mac, with or without bootcamp.

Submitted by mehgcap on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Parallels is not accessible. Use VMWare Fusion for the easiest experience. Virtualbox is free and inaccessible, but it does offer a full set of terminal commands so you can operate it from the command line if you want to give that a shot.

Submitted by Brother J. on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I had no idea it is not accessible. Thanks for saying something. I already have Windows installed via Bootcamp Assistant and VMWare Fusion refused to start the virtual machine supposedly due to the fact I am running a 3.33 gHZ Core 2 Duo processor.

Submitted by mehgcap on Thursday, July 17, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I tried the site. I clicked the link for the AppleScript and Numbers video, simply because it was first. Once that page loaded, I hit the "next heading" command twice to get to the main area, vo-right twice to go past the description and land on the frame, vo-shift-down to interact, and all my playback controls were right there. Again, I don't have Flash installed at all, so this site is able to use HTML5 or some other means of playing video which works quite well with VoiceOver. This is on the latest Mavericks, not that that should matter.

Submitted by Justin on Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm assuming it is using HTML5. Playback works great for these videos!

Submitted by Berty on Thursday, July 17, 2014

Surprisingly, it works on Chrome but, it is still not working with Safari. I am also using the latest OSX 10 and the latest Safari. Maybe, there is something not quite right on the settings. Anyway, I'm still a happy Mac user.

Submitted by splyt on Thursday, July 17, 2014

.. perhaps because the site might detect yoyu are using flash and falling down on that choice for you?

Try uninstalling flash and checking if it starts to work anyways.

Submitted by Tree on Thursday, July 17, 2014

have you guys tried the click to flash Safari plug in?

Submitted by Brother J. on Thursday, July 17, 2014

Though I have heard of it by way of the Apple extensions page, I have never tried it. How would that make Flash content accessible if it is not already so on a page? That is like NoScript for Gecko minus everything else except for Flash plug-in blocking.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, July 17, 2014

It I believe turns all flash content in to html5 if I remember correctly. I uninstalled it as it quit workign on several sites like youtube and stuff.

Submitted by Brother J. on Friday, July 18, 2014

Does this mean every video will work if I uninstall the Flash plug-in and install Click To Flash?

Submitted by splyt on Friday, July 18, 2014

It's unlikely that the original poster installed that extension.

In his / her case the site aparently detected flash and was directing the access to it. As flash is uninstalled, the site detected no flash and switched to the html 5 interface which seens to be ok.

These extensions probably make a just in time conversion and present the video in some way. Even so I am unsure about how the interface would be for voiceover users.

Submitted by Sebby on Saturday, September 27, 2014

And now you know why Steve Jobs banished Flash on iOS. :)

Click to Flash and Click to Plug-in are great extensions but they are rather messy to install, configure and get right. I wouldn't bother, personally--I haven't in a while. It is best to try to provoke sites into providing HTML5 players yourself. For Youtube you can do this going to and selecting to use the HTML5 player, however be aware that some videos must still use Flash for DRM and/or Ads. It's sometimes also useful to enable the Develop menu in Safari, and switch your user agent to a mobile browser; that often produces an HTML5 player, for obvious reasons. Sadly this can be detected using script and is intentionally broken by some callous players.

I think Windows, sadly, is the easy answer in case of greatest need. But it's always a sad moment when you have to do that. I hope Flash dies in a fire.