No Flash Support on iPhone, No Java Either

There is no Flash or Java support on the iPhone. This had leaked earlier but now that it is out this is verified and it pretty much sucks.

This limits the type of gaming market the iphone could become, or the type of shiny chrome apps that could be built with Flash. I guess games can be built with HTML5 and javascript (um thanks Jobs).

I was at least hoping for FLV support which would open up many clip sites for mobile, but then again this would compete with iTunes and QuickTime.

Current knowns about the iPhone dev platform:

  • there’s no Flash or Java support
  • there is PDF support
  • Quicktime is used for encoding and displaying video and audio
  • said video is encoded via H.264
  • with Safari on the iPhone, links can be embedded in web pages to allow phone calls from a click; this would be insanely useful for corporate directories and such
  • web pages are limited to 10 MB (!), Javascripts can only run for five seconds (maybe no games at all :( )
  • the iPhone’s browser user agent: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A538a Safari/419.3

Also more info from here:

  • HTML5
  • 10MB max html size for web page
  • Javascript limited to 5 seconds run time
  • Javascript allocations limited to 10MB
  • 8 documents maximum loaded on the iPhone due to page view limitations
  • Quicktime used for audio and video
  • stylesheet device width:480px
  • there are no scroll bars or resize knobs. the iphone will automatically expand the content
  • new telephone links allows you to integrate phone calls directly from your webpage. remember this is only on safari.
  • built in google maps client for integrated mapping from your website
  • iPhone screen size 480×320
  • encode movie size 480×360
  • Links to movies on a web page will take users directly to video full screen playback

They are really controlling the experience early on, something I was hoping they wouldn’t do. Controlled markets is the current problem with mobile platforms in the US. I am sure better specs and flash might pop up in later versions of the iPhone in Apple fashion of increasing the hype on each version. Advancements such as 3G, more than 8GB storage, flash maybe, just not sure about this one due to the competition of Quicktime and iTunes. This severely limits the RIA web on the iPhone, at least this version of it.

UPDATE: Jesse Warden has links to using Flash content inside of Quicktime. This coud be a gaming option after all. It still limits the web browsing but in terms of interactives and games this could be good.

Flash on the iPhone via Quicktime: Part Deux

Apparently the “enabling” of Flash is as simple as clicking a button, correcting my original coverage.

Check out I2Fly’s coverage of’s iPhone Flash Games. Also, some of Gary’s ported Flash games worked.

Be sure to check out this out regarding a mobile web with no Flash.

  • John Dowdell

    I have not yet researched Apple’s current technical documentation on what their version of QuickTime inside iPhone can do, but I’d be surprised if that combo successfully played out.

    (If you’ve actually seen someone play an old SWF via QT on iPhone, then please advise, thanks.)


  • drawk


    Yes supposedly even if it does work it is only Flash3 or Flash 5 support. It is no market for games that is for sure. I am really disappointed at the platform to develop for the iPhone.

  • psymon101

    This adds another reason to look at OpenMoko as a serious alternative, with the right marketing maybe it will be a strong competitor to the iPhone.

  • Bill Perry

    I’ve tested numerous web sites that have Flash content embedded in them and Quicktime movies to render Flash 5 content and none of them work in the Safari web browser on my iPhone. There is no way to render/play back Flash content (SWF/FLV) on the iPhone. I’m continuing to test sites but as far as I can see there’s no support – bummer.

  • Probably an asshole

    10 reasons why Apple is ripping people off with their iPhone

    10th) There is absolutely nothing new technology wise about this product. I don’t think anyone has really realized that their computers and phones now days can do the exact same functions. “But wait!” you might exclaim. “This is completely different. It’s all in one small portable device that has easy access and use.” And for that comment, I would have to ask for your share of the cut Apple is giving you to regurgitate lines such as that, as your lack of creativity screams swindle me out of house and home. Look numb nuts, I don’t know what alien race dropped you off here so that you could pollute our brain waves, but please, go stick your head in a blender.
    The reason why that is such an asinine comment, in case your still attempting to read this article, is because this phone is an inevitability. I could have thought of this idea in a drunken stupor, and the only thing that would have limited me in beating Steven Jobs to the market would have been money, workers, the technological know-how to create the damn thing, and idioitic consumers such as yourself. Want to guess which one would be the hardest obstacle in my way?

    9th) Rich pompous pricks. Yep, I mean you. “I had to buy the iPhone to show off to all my coworkers on how cool I am. I lack any personal taste or style and follow every major trend to keep convincing myself that I’m not all alone sucking my thump each night as I cry myself to sleep.” If there is a hell, one of the seven circles has got to be sitting in a line outside of an Apple store waiting for it to open while the girl in front of you sings to the latest Lindsey Lohan song and the guy behind you is extra tubby and only eats refried beans. And, of course, talks about nothing except the stupid thing he’s about to buy.

    See, the problem is that the only people who will actually have the phone will be total dicks about it. And guess what, you just signed up for the very limited time offer of being part if that illustrious group. I’m sure your parents are proud.

    8th) It’s a cheap, two dollar hooker. See, what most critics and media reviewers don’t understand about any new product, be it the iPhone or a new juicer (now able to juice Wisconsin’s finest cheese!) is that the first product will have its faults. Lots of them. But, like any product actually worth buying, in a few years the price will drop, the problems will be dealt with (even if not really fixed), and the people who learned to wait and watch will be rewarded with a better deal. However, in our ego inflated, compulsive country we live in, each new toy is a must have. “Never mind the kids’ health care, honey. I got to get me one of those.” Yes, sadly this mentality has lead to the destruction of many a perfectly happy family. Luckily, there is a hotline to help out children in serious financial aide because their parent whored them out to raise the money to buy an iPhone. Oh wait, I lied.

    7th) It’s still a half-assed piece of equipment. As with every serious product on the market today, it is guaranteed to run into several fatal errors and have to be replaced in a couple years time. That’s just good business sense. However, the real problem lies not in its ability to dysfunction at a certain time, but rather the lack of an attempt to actually make it something worth keeping. Their is nothing in this device that will make anyone wish to have it after a few short years, other than sentimental value and that loan you took out to pay off the monthly bills it generated. The concept of even making a product that lasts completely escapes anyone who designed it. And for that matter the attention span of toddlers.

    6th) The iPhone will not get you laid. Sorry, fellas, but Apple scrapped the idea of including a blow up doll in the original design.

    5th) Apparently, it’s nickname is the “Jesus Phone.” Two things I wish to point out here. The first, don’t ever call it the “Jesus Phone.” Second, this might be the very reason why LSD was created; so that people could feel so messed up as to believe that the coming of the messiah can be personified in a three-by-six inch square that happens to play my favorite music. Because, short of hallucinogenic drugs, I fail to see the connection. But don’t fret, you can buy your savior too (while limited supplies last).

    4th) It’s much like the Comcast slogan. Your phone calls won’t change any; they’ll just cost more. Except if they don’t actually work as well as your old phone. Then you’re screwed.

    3rd) It is now possible to watch pornography on your phone. Wait a second, I might need to step out for a second to my nearest Apple store. ‘Cuse me a few seconds.

    2nd) Having your Mom call you while in the middle of watching pornography on your phone. And, apparently, your dad. Damn three way calling.

    1st) At the end of the day, all you really bought was a Mac.

  • drawk

    Yeh the iPhone is really low bar. Neat interface, some new things like voicemail like email but all in all this is the base model that they will use year on year to slightly upgrade to milk it.

  • sascha/hdrs

    Quicktime or not … still sucks that Flash is not officially supported! And I’ve read a long list of other negative things about iPhone. Honestly I wish for Apple that this product will be a huge failure!

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » Ni flash ni Java en el iPhone

  • William Volk

    I don’t where the “Javascript for 5 seconds” comes from. We have not seen that problem.

    While it’s not trivial to build Javascript/AJAX games for the iPhone, it is possible. MyNuMo has a iPhone game in test at http://fun4iPhone with additional casual games (card games, etc.) out for the iPhone out shortly.

    Thank you,

    William Volk
    CEO, MyNuMo

  • William Volk

    Sorry … the URL is


  • drawk

    Hey William,

    Yeh javascript *works* for games but imagine how much cooler this game could be ( with Flash. Or imagine a mini NES emulator in Java? Or all your favorite classic arcde games righ there on your iphone. Multiplayer games etc. I hope it is coming soon otherwise this mobile revolution Apple was hyping is far far off. I have had cooler smart phones since 2001 with the ability to program them. This is a locked out development platform. I think they were mainly scared of competition for quicktime by FLV video and possibly better apps built with flash online that would take away from their software.

  • B

    Let’s go through “Probably an asshole”‘s 10 reasons and debunk them from personal experience…

    10.) There are millions of products that flood the market that include no new or exciting technologies. People buy cellphones every day that are comprised to no new technology. Old outdated pieces of trash. Go bash one of those.

    9.) “I had to buy the iPhone to show off to all my coworkers on how cool I am. I lack any personal taste or style and follow every major trend to keep convincing myself that I’m not all alone sucking my thump each night as I cry myself to sleep.”
    Seeing as this is the first cellphone I’ve ever had that costs money. All of my previous cellphones were those cheep free ones that cellular companies threw into any wireless plan.
    Secondly, waiting in line for an iPhone sounds like no different an experience then waiting in line for let’s say, a video game or the Star Wars films.

    8.) I don’t even know how to tackle this angry note. Everyone in line around me was either single or had no children (at least the ones I conversed with), and I am a high-school kid on summer break. Sorry to disapoint, I have no children to abandon.

    7.) And you’re telling me that every other cellphone on the market fulfills this void? What about LG’s Chocolate? For many of their customers, the sliding caused the wires to wear and eventually break, rendering the phone completely useless in a few short months. Most fashion-aimed phones on the market are doomed the same fatal end.

    6.) Obviously a biased and angry statement.

    5.) And I’m sure you visit Florida every day to visit the True Messiah, right?

    4.) The call quality on this phone is a vast improvement from my last phone.

    3.) I thought you said the phone had nothing revolutionary, so why don’t you go find another phone to watching your porn on?

    2.) By the sounds of it, something like this would be right up your alley.

    1.) This last point makes you come off as a PC fanboy. If this is true then your entire reply was simply a text version of your personal vendetta against Mac and/or Steve Jobs.
    This being true, your entire reply means nothing, excluding that fact that it was as formulated as a elementary school kid’s essay on why dogs are the best pet on the planet.

    Maybe if your reply wasn’t so full of spite and obvious rage, I could take you more seriously. But shortly into point 10, I realized that I would be reading a load of biased crap. Which it was.
    Simply sounds like mommy didn’t buy you an iPhone, so you hate everyone who has one.

  • William Volk

    Yes, Flash would be nice. However after a few years of producing mobile game titles in J2ME (Mobile Java) etc… I was surprised how quickly we are able to put together iPhone games.

    Our Blackjack title will be out in the next few days and in terms of play and graphics it looks better than most of the mobile Blackjack games I have seen.

    Thank you,

    William Volk
    CEO, MyNuMo