Browser & Device Reference

This article lists which browsers and devices are officially supported by JW Player, including any existing limitations and differences between desktop and mobile.

Table Of Contents

Under the hood, JW Player uses two playback technologies (HTML5 and Flash), with the selection logic executed via JavaScript. The selection process is described below.

Nowadays, new versions of browsers are frequently released. We always test the most widely distributed one(s).

Desktop Browsers

This table lists which desktop browsers are fully supported by JW Player:

Browser HTML5 Flash
Chrome yes yes
Firefox yes yes
Internet Explorer 9+ yes1 yes
MS Edge yes1 yes
Safari yes yes

All JW Player features are supported on these browsers, with the exception of media playback. In a nutshell, not all browsers support WebM video and Vorbis audio. See Supported Media Formats for details.

Mobile Devices

Due to the speed of adoption of mobile operating systems, we fully test and support the latest versions on the most popular devices. This table lists which mobile browsers are officially supported by JW Player using HTML5:

Device Operating System Devices
Safari on iPhone iOS 8+ iPhone 4s through current
Safari on iPad iOS 8+ iPad 2 through current
Chrome on Android Android 4.0+ Any running Android 4.0

For a list of stats of device and operating system adoption, view these MixPanel trends.

As with desktop browsers, playback support for the various media formats varies. In a nutshell, MP4 video and AAC/MP3 audio are safe formats for mobile. See Supported Media Formats for more details.

Mobile Limitations

There are limitations to video playback on mobile devices compared to desktop browsers:

  • Auto-starting a video on page load is not possible on mobile.
  • Playing multiple videos at the same time is not possible on mobile.
  • JW Player will not work with Flash for Android.
  • Changing the mute state and volume is not possible on mobile.
  • On iPhone only, video is only played in fullscreen mode. On iPad and Android, video can be played either windowed or in fullscreen.

JW7 Provider Model

Previously, with JW6, JW Player would render in either Flash or HTML5 and could not be changed unless it was set up again with the appropriate primary rendering mode set.

While JW7's control bar will always be rendered in HTML5 via CSS, the player will dynamically load an appropriate Flash or HTML provider based on the media that is loaded. This allows JW Player to dynamically change from HTML5 to Flash playback on a per-playlist-item basis. As a result, there is now a more unified and simpler method of API handling, as well as speedier setup and playback.

As with JW6, all features of JW Player (playlists, skinning, scripting, API, etc.) are available in both provider modes. Whether JW Player uses a Flash or HTML5-based provider is therefore dependent upon the media that is loaded. See Supported Media Formats for details. Here's a quick overview:

  • DASH can only be played in HTML5. See About Dash Streaming for more info.
  • MP4, AAC, MP3, and HLS can be played in both HTML5 and Flash.
  • WebM and Vorbis can only be played in HTML5 in some browsers.
  • FLV and RTMP can only be played in Flash.

At large, the market is moving away from Flash towards HTML5. Therefore, JW Player will always attempt to use HTML5 over Flash if a piece of content can be played in both modes on a certain browser. This behavior can be changed however, by setting the configuration option primary to flash. In this case, JW Player's Flash provider will attempt to be used for all content.See the Configuration Options Reference for more info.

Multiple Sources

If an embed contains multiple media sources, at the time of playback, JW Player will determine if it is playable in HTML5 or playable in Flash. The appropriate provider will then load. As an example:

  • With a setup containing DASH + HLS sources and HTML5 primary, JW Player plays DASH in HTML5 on Chrome/Edge/Firefox, and the HLS stream in HTML5 on Safari. Flash will be used as a backup on browsers that do not support HTML5 playback for either format.
  • With a setup containing HLS + DASH sources and HTML5 primary, JW Player plays HLS in HTML5 in Safari, Edge, and Chrome*. The player will also attempt to load the Flash provider if it is available. We will prioritize source order over the primary setting, if possible. DASH will then function in HTML5 on available browsers.
  • With a setup containing HLS + DASH sources and Flash primary, JW Player plays HLS in Flash whenever it is available. DASH will only be used if a user's computer does not have Flash installed and if the browser supports it.

 *hlshtml must be set to true. In JW Player 7.5 + this will be set to true automatically if no advertising is configured. 

See the Configuring Multiple Sources article to learn how to set up multiple sources.

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