Do I need Adobe AIR, or should I remove it? [Explained]

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Download PDF
Affiliate Disclosure

  • Some users might discover an Adobe AIR program on their desktops and laptops.
  • This post provides further details for what Adobe AIR is and whether you should uninstall it.
  • Don't hesitate to explore our detailed Software section for more useful guides, tips, and tricks.
  • You can check out many more we answer posts at our What-Is Hub.

Adobe is one of the largest software companies in the world, offering users a variety of software options that cover almost any creation-related activity.

Here are some of the company’s most notable software:


You might even find some Adobe programs on your desktop or laptop that you never installed yourself. Those are programs that come bundled with other software that needs them.

What is Adobe AIR used for and do I need it?

Adobe AIR is what’s known as a runtime engine, or a runtime environment. A runtime engine is a program that other software depends on to run optimally. So, Adobe AIR is a bit like an engine for running other Adobe software.

The Adobe AIR runtime engine is a cross-operating-system runtime that’s compatible with numerous platforms.

Therefore, Adobe Air isn’t just restricted to Windows as developers also utilize it for mobile and Apple Mac software. However, it is worth mentioning that Adobe discontinued AIR support for Linux platforms.

If you’ve spotted Adobe AIR on your desktop or laptop, then chances are you have some Adobe software that depends on its runtime engine.

You do need Adobe AIR for a wide range of AIR apps (see below). If you try to run certain software with AIR uninstalled, those apps might display an error message.

What programs use Adobe AIR?

There are numerous rich internet apps that utilize the AIR runtime:

  • FlickrDesktop Search
  • ImageDropr
  • FlickrFlipper
  • Adobe Media Player
  • ReadAir

Of course, this is just a short selection of software options, but you can find detailed information about a suspected program by doing research online.

What can I do if I have Adobe AIR on my PC?

What is the purpose of Adobe AIR?


The purpose of Adobe AIR is to enable developers to combine Adobe Flash, JavaScript, HTML, ActionScript, and Flex for the deployment of web apps on desktops, laptops, and other devices.

It enables developers to create web apps that you can utilize outside of browsers. Web apps that can be utilized outside of the browser are known as rich internet applications.

Can I delete Adobe AIR?

Yes, you can delete Adobe AIR. To do so, simply follow the next steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + S keyboard shortcut.
  2. Type apps in the search box that opens.
  3. Click Apps & features to open the window shown directly below.
    Apps & features tab Do i need adobe air?
  4. Next, select Adobe AIR from the list.
  5. Click the Uninstall button for Adobe AIR.
  6. Then click Uninstall on the window that opens to confirm.

Is Adobe AIR still used?

Yes, AIR is still utilized; but Adobe will stop supporting it at the end of 2020.

Adobe is transitioning support over to HARMAN. Thus, HARMAN will manage support for Adobe AIR beyond 2020. AIR probably won’t be as prominent a runtime package under HARMAN.

Overall, Adobe AIR is not essential if you seldom utilize apps that need it. However, users who make use of desktop web apps that might need AIR should keep it to ensure they can still run the apps.

Adobe announced in 2014 that there are more than one billion Adobe apps installed on various devices. So, there’s a pretty good chance you might have an AIR app on your system.

FAQ Read more about Adobe AIR

  • Why is Adobe AIR linked with Flash?

Adobe AIR is a superset of Flash Player and utilizes Flash technologies for its RIA apps. Thus, it’s not a coincidence that Adobe is discontinuing support for both AIR and Flash at the end of 2020.

  • Where can I download Adobe AIR from?

If you uninstall AIR, and need to reinstall it, click Download now on the Adobe AIR page.

  • What’s the AIR SDK?

The AIR SDK is a development toolkit for AIR apps. You can download that from the Adobe AIR SDK page.