Microsoft's Edge will make Flash less annoying in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft is following Google's lead by adding an auto-pause feature for unnecessary Flash content in the Edge browser.

Microsoft is joining Google in the quest to remove Adobe Flash from the web. When the Windows 10 Anniversary Update hits this summer, Edge will be able to automatically pause “content not central to the webpage.” Google introduced the same feature last June in partnership with Adobe.

Similar to Chrome, Edge's new Flash-halting feature won't affect auto-playing videos that are part of a site’s content. Instead, the feature will look at disabling flash video and animations in advertisements and other non-essential content. To re-enable it, all you have to do is click on the paused content.

Microsoft says a key reason for the new feature is to save on battery life. Flash animations and videos can take a good bite out of your battery thanks to the demands it takes on memory and the CPU.

But Microsoft also sees what pretty much every critic of the web sees: Flash had its day, but users are better off with HTML 5-based video now.

“Users experience improved battery life when sites use efficient web standards, lowering both memory and CPU demands...We will continue to work within the W3C to ensure standards unblock all developers to fully transition away from Flash,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

Why this matters: Better power management in Edge doesn’t matter as much on a regular PC, but it’s critical on tablets and laptops using battery power. Reducing Flash usage will also help Edge’s performance. That’s something desktops will find helpful since websites laden with unnecessary Flash content should run a little more smoothly. Now if only Edge would get other modern features, like tab syncing across devices.

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Ian Paul

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