Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Pre-Release Now Available

Whenever I notice the fans of my wife’s MacBook escalating to tornado speeds from across our living room, it’s a safe bet she’s engaged in a session of Bejeweled Blitz or another intense Flash-based game, pushing her laptop’s CPU to its limits.

However, the scenario seems somewhat improved with Adobe’s pre-release of Flash Player 10.1. While the Windows version benefits from the addition of hardware-accelerated h.264 video decoding, the Mac and Linux versions lack this enhancement. Adobe points fingers at Apple for this limitation, citing a lack of access to necessary APIs on macOS.

Despite this, the new Flash version still manages to reduce CPU usage significantly compared to its predecessors.

Anandtech conducted tests on the pre-release version of Flash Player and noted substantial improvements:

I used the same Office video clip that I had for all other tests and played it on my Mac Pro in full screen (2560 x 1600). Monitoring the CPU usage via Activity Monitor, I observed a significant reduction in CPU utilization:

Flash 450%
Flash 190%

This reduction from approximately 450% to 190% (or just over 10% of total CPU utilization across 16 threads) made it possible to play full-screen Hulu videos smoothly on my system. Previously, I had to settle for a smaller window, but Flash 10.1 has changed that.

Living in New Zealand, I’m unable to access Hulu videos, so I couldn’t replicate Anandtech’s exact findings.

However, I did evaluate the fullscreen video performance on and YouTube, both before and after updating to the Flash 10.1 build. While the decrease in CPU usage wasn’t as dramatic as Anandtech’s, there was a noticeable improvement under Flash 10.1 compared to the earlier version.

Testing was done on an Early 2008 MacBook Pro with a 2.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor:

  • Fullscreen YouTube video, Flash 10.0: 50%
  • Fullscreen YouTube video, Flash 10.1: 35%
  • Fullscreen TVNZ video, Flash 10.0: 110%
  • Fullscreen TVNZ video, Flash 10.1: 50%

The reduction in CPU load is quite significant, especially for simple YouTube videos, and the CPU usage for TVNZ videos more than halved. It’s been a while since Flash has genuinely impressed me.

It’s worth noting that since this is a pre-release version, it may not be as stable as the final releases, and bugs are likely still being worked out.


Daniel is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing years of experience and a deep love for all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail, Daniel covers everything from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to the newest features in macOS and watchOS. His insightful articles and reviews help readers stay informed and make the most of their Apple products. When he’s not writing, Daniel enjoys exploring new apps and tinkering with his MacBook Pro.