Flash sucks even worse than I thought. The Never Ask Again checkbox is not honored in Flash 9.0 r124 (under 10.5.5/Safari 3.1.2), which breaks Flash videos (pretty much Flash's only real reason for being, aside from advertising spyware). I reported this to Adobe, but don't expect much.

Note that I end up with dozens of stacked dialogs, and they pop back up about one per second, so hulu clearly won't work until Adobe fixes this bug, or I give up and turn on Flash cookies (which I have no intention of doing).


Concise problem statement: Flash does not honor setting to not store cookies or local data.

Steps to reproduce bug:

  1. Visit http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager03.html
  2. Set Global Storage Settings to None.
  3. Check Never Ask Again.
  4. Uncheck "Allow third-party Flash content to store data on your computer".
  5. Restart Safari.
  6. Visit http://www.hulu.com/, or http://widgets.nbc.com/cscallback/urlexchange/ (a Sarah Palin SNL clip), or http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/11/04/us/politics/20081104_ELECTION_WORDTRAIN.html

Results: Many many annoying Flash dialogs asking for permission to store data (1 on NYTimes; many on the videos, which interrupt playback).

Expected results: When I check Never Ask Again, I should get NO dialogs asking to store Flash cookies, and no Flash cookies should be stored.

In addition, I unchecked "Store common Flash components to reduce download times." But when I relaunched Safari, it was unchecked. I relaunched a second time, and this setting stayed checked. Never Ask Again was still correctly checked, but I still kept getting obnoxious cookie prompts from hulu.

Update: Leonard Rosenthol informed me that Flash 10 is out. It's a bit hard to find, but does appear to solve the problem. I upgraded, relaunched Safari, reset the option, relaunched Safari, and no longer get those stupid prompts. Hooray! It's odd that Adobe hides it so effectively (it's not even on Adobe's main update page), and the built-in Flash updater doesn't offer it; unfortunately Apple hasn't delivered it to Mac OS X users yet.

Update 2 -- 2008/12/25: Disabling local data (cookies and local caching) prevents Flash videos at Flickr and other sites from playing (I just get a black rectangle of the right size -- no change or controls). YouTube/Google video is not affected, though. I'm not re-enabling Flash cookies, though.