If you’ve noticed Safari crashing more often lately on your PowerPC Mac, you’re not alone.

At first I blamed the Verizon cell data coverage in Las Vegas for the stuttering video and dropped frames that I noticed when tuning into TWiT Live for their CES Coverage, but when the browser started locking up completely I knew it had to be Flash.

A little Googling revealed that Adobe is dropping support for PowerPC G3 after 10.1:

The Adobe Flash Player 10.1 release, expected in the first half of 2010, will be the last version to support Macintosh PowerPC-based G3 computers. Adobe will be discontinuing support of PowerPC-based G3 computers and will no longer provide security updates after the Flash Player 10.1 release. This unavailability is due to performance enhancements that cannot be supported on the older PowerPC architecture.

While this does not mean that Flash Player 10 will be completely unsupported on G4-based hardware, Adobe is clearly focusing their performance tweaks on Intel chips.

Performance improvements in Flash can only be a good thing and I can’t expect developers to support PPC when Apple itself requires an Intel processor to run Snow Leopard. Unfortunately this means that the current version of Flash is completely unusable on my old PowerBook G4.

Obligatory Caution: There are always security concerns when choosing not to run the most up to date version of any software. The machine I downgraded is my file server, which is not my primary browsing machine. As ever, browse with common sense.

How to Downgrade to Flash Player 9

  1. Download the Flash Player Uninstaller from this TechNote

  2. Mount the disk image, launch Flash Player Uninstaller and follow the prompts

  3. Download the Flash Player 9 testing archive (221MB!) from this TechNote

  4. Extract the archive and browse to the 9r260 folder

  5. Double click flashplayer9r260_mac.dmg to mount the disk image

  6. Drag each file into the indicated folder:

  7. Restart your browser

Once you have completed the steps, browse to a site with Flash content and right click on a Flash object. If you see About Adobe Flash Player 9, sit back, relax and enjoy Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show.