5 iPhone Browsers That Support Flash

The iPhone has never supported Flash, a technology once widely used to deliver games, video, and complex interactive experiences on the web. Thanks in part to the iPhone, Flash isn't a big part of the Internet anymore, so not supporting it isn't a huge drawback. However, there are still some websites, games, and web apps that require Flash. If you need to use one of those sites on your iPhone, you've got some options: the 5 browser apps listed here all claim to support Flash. But the question isn't whether they can play Flash. It's whether they can play it well enough to make it usable.

RELATED: Can I Get Flash Player for iPhone?

01
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Photon Flash browser app

Photon (US$3.99) offers the best Flash playback of all the apps on this list. It achieves this by connecting your iPhone to a remote computer running Flash and then streams that computer's desktop to you via the Safari browser built into the iOS (this technique is used by almost every browser app. When the iOS itself doesn't support Flash, this is basically the only option). Its Flash performance is solid: you'll see some pixelation, but over Wi-Fi, it's acceptable for occasional viewing (3G/4G is a bit worse). Photon can access Hulu or online game sites like Kongregate. Some of its other features are a bit weak, but it's your best bet for Flash.

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Overall rating: 3.5 stars out of 5. More »

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CloudBrowse flash browser
image copyright AlwaysOn Technologies Inc.

Another app that streams a remote desktop session to your iPhone, CloudBrowse ($2.99) seems aimed at corporate users. That's because not only does that app cost $2.99, it has a $4.99/month subscription attached to it. You can use the app for 10-minute sessions for free, but if you want to browse longer, you need to subscribe (an annual subscription costs $49.99). CloudBrowse is surprisingly fast, but its Flash playback is spotty. The video is jerky and audio gets out of sync quickly. It also hasn't been updated since 2013, so I'm not sure that it's still being developed.

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Overall rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.
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Puffin Flash Browser App

The quality of Puffin's ($0.99) Flash playback simply isn't that good. Video looks more like a series of still images than a smooth movie. And that's when it works. In a number of my tests, the Flash elements and movies on sites didn't work at all. It's a speedy browser, though, and offers a solid array of other features, so it's a viable option as an alternative browser if you don't like Safari. But when it comes to Flash, it's not much of a contender.

Overall rating: 2.0 stars out of 5. More »

Flash Video Web Browser

Flash Video Web Browser ($19.99) takes the same approach to delivering Flash to the iPhone that many other browsers on this list do, with a twist. It connects to a web browser running on your home computer, rather than in a data center, and then streams the content from that computer to your iPhone. (This is, essentially, what any remote desktop app does, not just browser apps.) The downside of this approach is speed and that you're required to have a computer at home running the browser you want to use. The app is hugely more expensive than any of its competitors and hasn't been updated since 2014, so I'd assume it's no longer being developed and should be avoided.

Overall rating: Not reviewed More »

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VirtualBrowser

VirtualBrowser flash app

Another app that takes the remote-access approach (that is, it connects to a browser running in a data center and then streams the content of that browser back to your iPhone, thus delivering Flash content), with all the strengths and weaknesses that come with that. One wrinkle here is that you can only buy access to one browser at a time: either Firefox or Chrome, but not both. Each costs $4.99, with a $1.99/month subscription. That feels a bit pricey, but it could be worth it if you need to test Flash performance on different browsers on the iPhone.

Overall rating: Not reviewed