In his recent blogpost, Thoughts on Flash, Steve Jobs says:

We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash.

My best guess is that Flash runs in user-mode, with restricted privileges. Is is impossible to crash a system having restricted privileges.

What am I missing?


He wasn't talking about kernel panics (full OS crashes), he was talking about app crashes. He should have phrased it a little differently. His meaning would've been more clear if he had said "Flash is the number one cause of crashes on the Mac".


It's difficult, but not impossible. Just because you can't access memory in kernel space directly doesn't mean you can't call a library function that does it for you.

  • Then this problem would be related to a bad implementation on kernel code, not any userspace app. – ssice Jun 16 '14 at 15:44

He meant the browser. You can use flashblock stuff for Safari, use Chrome with its own flash/isolation support and Firefox with flashblock. (Like this you can avoid most of the crashes). (Later you may be able to use Firefox Lorentz. (Now its avaliable for Windows and Linux).


Of course this is true.

Macs are not powered by regular components, they use special magical components that never fail under any circumstance.


Software wise (as Spiff said) I can just about believe this as a few years ago as various flash websites would crash my browser (IE and Firefox), however, I have not had a flash crash in some years now - instead it just hogs my CPU at full! (link 1, link 2, link 3.)

Hardware wise, I see a rather large percentage of Macs (in relation to other brands) in for repair - usually down to hard drive related problems. They do crash, and they crash often.

  • 1
    I'm sorry you've had bad luck with hard drives in your Macs, but since Apple uses the same makes and models of third-party hard drives as any other PC vendor, and since Consumer Reports regularly ranks Apple as having some of the most reliably hardware, I think your anecdote is non-representative. – Spiff May 8 '10 at 1:26
  • @Spiff - I don't use Macs, I run a computer service company and I see a large percentage of repairs being Macs (And I am a member of many panels that provide information to reports)... I was just saying that Macs have just as many problems as other machines and do not have magical parts that never fail. – William Hilsum May 8 '10 at 2:11
  • If you don't run a Mac, you can't say that Flash doesn't crash one just because you run Flash without a crash. It is a very poorly ported piece of software and is much less stable on the Mac. The authoring environment is similarly less stable and slower too. – dlamblin Nov 30 '11 at 8:52

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