It seems like there’s no end to the list of applications that bear the Adobe name.
If you go through the list of applications on your computer or smartphone, you’ll probably see a few of them.
Adobe AIR is one of them, a utility that may have lost its relevance over the past few years.
In this post, let’s discuss Adobe AIR, why you may need it, and whether having it on your computer is a good idea.
Do I Need Adobe Air?
Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) is a collection of programming tools and frameworks that allows developers to build programs faster.
You need Adobe AIR installed on your computer or smartphone to run applications that use those tools.
However, it’s old technology.
You can safely uninstall it if you don’t have any old programs or games on your computer that use it.
Moreover, because Adobe no longer supports AIR and Flash, keeping them installed will increase your security risks.
Therefore, even if you have an old program or game that depends on Adobe AIR, look for a new version that uses more modern technologies.
If one doesn’t exist, look for an alternative program.
Then uninstall Adobe AIR.
What Does Adobe AIR Do?
Adobe AIR is a runtime engine that allows other programs to execute on your computer.
It streamlines communication with the operating system and hardware resources so that developers don’t have to spend time on these tasks.
The engine was launched in 2008 and quickly became popular among game developers and companies that created e-learning software.
It was especially important in developing casual games you could play on your phone and computer.
The most famous example is probably Angry Birds, whose first versions were built using Adobe Flash and AIR.
These games don’t have a complicated installation process.
You simply open them and start playing.
Adobe AIR programs fall under the category of Rich Internet Applications (RIA)
In layman’s terms, RIAs are applications that need an internet connection to work but open on a desktop without requiring a browser.
A huge advantage of Adobe AIR is that it’s cross-platform, meaning it works on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Therefore, developers didn’t have to write multiple versions of their applications for different platforms.
They could use Adobe AIR and the ActionScript programming language to develop programs compatible with many operating systems.
However, more modern technologies have replaced AIR in recent years.
AIR is based on the same code as Adobe Flash, which became notorious for having many security vulnerabilities.
The largest companies in the web industry, including Apple, Microsoft, and Google, joined Adobe’s initiative to replace Flash with more secure tools and programming languages.
Adobe ended support for AIR and Flash on December 31, 2020.
Flash is effectively dead, but AIR still has some use-cases in the enterprise space.
Some larger companies have struggled with replacing the programs they created using AIR, so they still use them.
Is Adobe AIR Safe?
Keeping Adobe AIR on your computer or mobile device can pose a security risk because Adobe doesn’t support this technology anymore.
Therefore, if hackers find a new vulnerability in this program, they can use it to attack your computer, and Adobe won’t provide an update to patch the security hole.
Moreover, Adobe AIR programs essentially run inside Adobe Flash Player, which has had many security issues over the years.
Flash Player used to be the tool that allowed content creators and programs to develop animations and games for the web.
It used a programming language called ActionScript, which allowed hackers to piggyback malicious code on the game or animation.
Whenever a security hole was discovered, Adobe issued a patch to fix it.
However, as the patches piled up, it became exceedingly complex to keep Flash Player safe.
The industry leaders started criticizing Adobe for putting their users at risk.
For example, Steve Jobs published an open letter titled “Thoughts on Flash” to discuss why Flash had to die.
Fortunately, modern browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, don’t support Flash Player anymore.
Instead, they rely on modern open-source technologies, such as HTML 5 and WebAssembly.
Moreover, Microsoft issued a mandatory update in October 2021 that removed auto-installed versions of Flash Player from Windows 10.
However, it didn’t uninstall the program if the computer owner had installed it manually or from a source other than Microsoft.
The update only applied to Windows 10, so Windows 7 and 8 users may still have Adobe Flash Player on their computers.
If you have Adobe AIR or Flash Player installed on your computer or smartphone, you should uninstall them.
Note: Harman still develops and maintains Adobe AIR for enterprise applications.
Therefore, if your company asks you to install an application that requires Adobe AIR, you don’t have to worry about security risks.
How To Uninstall Adobe AIR
As mentioned, Adobe AIR is a tool that lets you run other programs, especially casual games, and e-learning apps.
Therefore, before removing it, you must ensure that none of the programs on your device need Adobe AIR to function.
Do you have a favorite game from the early 2010s?
Does your work require you to use an old application that contains dorky animations and effects?
If yes, you probably can’t remove Adobe AIR until you’ve figured out a way around these.
Maybe it’s time to say farewell to that game you’ve been playing since you were a teenager.
Perhaps you can talk to your IT department to see if they have an alternative way for you to get your work done.
Adobe AIR’s uninstallation wizard contains a step that tells you which programs on your computer depend on AIR to function.
Once you’re sure uninstalling Adobe AIR won’t disrupt your workflow, follow the instructions for your operating system.
Uninstall Adobe AIR On Windows 10 And 11
- Open your Start Menu.
- Type in Apps and Features and press Enter.
- Locate Adobe AIR on the list of apps or search its name in the search bar.
- Click on the program and select Uninstall.
- Confirm your choice by selecting Uninstall.
- Windows will launch the program’s uninstallation wizard.
- Follow the steps in the wizard until you get a success message.
- Restart your computer.
Uninstall Adobe AIR On Windows 7
- Open Control Panel.
- Select Programs and Features.
- Scroll down till you find Adobe AIR.
- Click Uninstall to launch the uninstallation wizard.
- Complete the wizard to remove Adobe AIR.
- Restart your computer.
Uninstall Adobe AIR Using Revo
Uninstalling programs via the Windows utilities leaves some folders and traces of their settings scattered in your operating system.
Instead, we recommend using an advanced uninstaller such as Revo to remove all the leftover folders and settings.
Here are the steps you need to take:
- Open Revo Uninstaller and wait a few seconds until it loads the list of your apps.
- Find Adobe AIR and double-click on it.
- Confirm your choice by clicking Continue.
- This will launch the program’s uninstallation wizard. Go through the steps like you normally would.
- Once the wizard completes, return to Revo and select your scan mode. We recommend Advanced Mode so that the program finds all the remaining folders and settings.
- Click Scan and wait until the operation completes.
- On the Leftover Registry Items page, click Select All and Delete.
- Click Yes to confirm your choice.
- Click Next.
- On the Leftover Files and Folders page, click Select All and click Delete.
- Click Yes to confirm your choice.
- Restart your computer.
Uninstall Adobe AIR On Android
- Open Settings on your phone and navigate to Apps.
- Find Adobe Air and tap on it.
- Tap Uninstall and confirm your choice.
How To Install Adobe AIR
As we’ve explained, you don’t need AIR on your computer under normal circumstances.
In fact, it’s a good idea to uninstall it to avoid getting hacked.
However, if you find yourself in need of Adobe AIR for some reason, you can download and install it.
1. Download Adobe AIR Runtime
Adobe’s website contains a few pages that appear first on Google’s search results.
However, the company no longer maintains an archive of AIR’s downloadable files.
Instead, it redirects you to a blog post about the transition of control to the Harman Company.
File download websites host different versions of Adobe AIR, but you should never install programs from a random online source.
Softonic is a reputable software download website we recommend.
You can find the few latest versions of AIR here.
Harman also hosts a page that lets you download the latest version of Adobe AIR’s runtime for Windows and macOS.
However, Adobe AIR SDK isn’t the version you should download.
SDK stands for Software Development Kit.
It contains AIR’s source code and the tools one would need to create software using Adobe AIR and ActionScript.
Ignore Harman’s SDK page on Google if you see it.
2. Run The Installation Wizard
When you download the executable file, double-click on it to open the installation wizard.
The installation process is extremely straightforward.
Updating Adobe AIR
Since Adobe AIR isn’t as popular as it used to be, you probably won’t have to update it frequently.
In fact, the latest available version was released in 2021.
Nevertheless, if you need to update your Adobe AIR installation, we recommend visiting Harman’s official page.
Simply download the latest version and install it.
Doing so will replace the older version on your computer.
Another way to update Adobe AIR is via the Adobe Updater utility.
The utility is helpful if you have a very old version of AIR.
That’s because Adobe has renamed the program to Adobe Application Updater, which only covers programs in the Creative Cloud lineup, such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
Since being transferred to Harman, Adobe AIR is no longer part of the Creative Suite collection.
Does Adobe AIR Affect Your Computer Speed?
Some people think that Adobe AIR is a tool that makes your computer run faster.
Perhaps the word “AIR” gives them a sense of speed or lightness.
However, Adobe AIR doesn’t make your computer faster.
Nor does it slow down your computer in most cases.
Adobe AIR is a lightweight engine that doesn’t use many resources to run.
Moreover, because it was mostly designed and developed a decade ago, its RAM and GPU requirements are minimal compared to what’s available in modern computers.
If you find that your computer slows down when you open an application that uses Adobe AIR, you should check for software incompatibility issues.
Most importantly, ensure you have installed the latest Adobe AIR version.
Then search online to see if the version has known compatibility issues with your graphics card driver.
If you don’t know the brand and model of your graphics card, type in Device Manager in your Start Menu and hit Enter.
Under Display Adapters, you’ll probably see two items.
The one that includes Nvidia or Radeon as your graphics card, while the other is your CPU’s integrated GPU.
If you can’t find any issues with your graphics card, check the Event Viewer utility in Windows to see if an error has been logged.
The error message may hint at the cause.
A final trick you can try is to reduce your display resolution.
Older programs aren’t designed for 1080p and sometimes can’t automatically reduce the resolution.
However, because Adobe AIR isn’t as popular as it used to be, you’ll probably have difficulty finding the solution.
Instead, we recommend finding a workaround such as installing a virtual machine that runs Windows 7 or XP.
Alternatively, you can try to find another program that lets you achieve the same goals without using Adobe AIR.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Adobe AIR Free?
Using Adobe AIR as a consumer is free.
However, after the transition of AIR’s support to Harman, developers who want to use it to create applications have to purchase a subscription.
The price depends on the application’s revenue.
Smaller apps with less than $50,000 annual revenue get a free license.
However, they have to display Harman’s logo when their application loads.
Enterprise applications must pay over $1,000 for their license but get priority support and no requirement to display Harman’s logo.
2. Does Photoshop Need Adobe AIR?
Starting with the Creative Cloud (CC) versions of Adobe programs, Photoshop doesn’t need Adobe AIR.
However, the older versions, specifically the Creative Suite (CS) series, relied on Adobe AIR for some advanced functionality.
It was common to see Adobe AIR and a few other utilities installed on a computer with Photoshop.
Regular users rarely used the functionality that relied on Adobe AIR.
3. Is Adobe AIR Still Supported?
As of December 31, 2020, Adobe no longer supports AIR.
However, to help companies and developers struggling to transition to newer technologies, the company has made a deal with the Harman Company, a subsidiary of Samsung.
They also maintain the Adobe AIR community, where developers can ask and answer questions about the engine.
4. What Programs Use Adobe AIR?
Adobe AIR was a popular runtime engine between 2010 and 2016.
In 2014, Adobe announced that more than one billion devices had installed AIR.
Many gaming and e-learning companies used to create desktop applications with animations that were cutting-edge at the time.
Angry Birds, Pandora, and eBay Desktop were among the most famous programs that relied on Adobe AIR.
However, as the industry transitioned from Adobe Flash for security reasons, Adobe AIR also lost its user base because it shared the same fundamental code with Flash Player.