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How to fix the 'blocked plugin' error

When you see a "blocked plugin" error message on a black screen when a screensaver starts, this means a plug-in — a third-party program required by the screensaver — is not working. In 99% of the cases, the plug-in in question is the Adobe Flash Player, and the solution is to update Flash to the latest version, as Apple blocks outdated versions for security reasons.

It is also possible you have never installed the required plug-in on your computer. Whatever the case is, this help page will guide you through the actions required to fix the problem.

Because the "blocked plugin" message can be hidden by some screensavers, the solution provided here may also apply to Mac screensavers that stop working but show no errors.

Checking for updates

Follow these steps to check for updates to the Adobe Flash Player. Alternatively, you can re-install the plug-in using the instructions below "(Re-)installing the Adobe Flash Player".

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left of your screen
  2. Click "System Preferences"
  3. Check for a "Flash Player" link in the bottom row of the System Preferences panel
  4. If a "Flash Player" link is shown, click it and continue with the next step. If not, skip ahead to the "(Re-)installing Adobe Flash Player" section below
  5. The "Flash Player" panel will open. Click the "Updates" tab
  6. Click the "Check Now" button to check for available updates
  7. If an update is available, you will be notified and forwarded to the Adobe website
  8. Follow the instructions on the Adobe website to install the Flash Player update

If no updates are available, you can try clearing "all local storage, saved choices, settings and other data used by content in Flash Player" from the "Advanced" tab of the Flash Player panel. Note that this will reset the settings of other applications that rely on Flash.

(Re-)installing the Adobe Flash Player

To install the Adobe Flash Player plug-in for the first time, or to update it to the latest version without checking for updates first, follow these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Beneath "Step 1", select "Mac OS X"
  3. Beneath "Step 2", select "FP X Mac for Safari and Firefox - NPAPI (where X is a number)
  4. Click the "Download now" button to begin downloading the plug-in
  5. Once your download is complete, open the file that was downloaded to show its contents in the Finder, then double-click "Install Adobe Flash"
  6. Follow the instructions of the installer to complete the installation process

You now have the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player plug-in. The next time your screensaver starts, you should no longer see the "blocked plugin" error message.

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