Adobe Integrated Runtime

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Adobe AIR
Developer(s) Adobe Systems
Initial release February 25, 2008; 6 years ago (2008-02-25)
Stable release (November 11, 2014; 15 days ago (2014-11-11)) [±]
Development status Active
Operating system Microsoft Windows
BlackBerry Tablet OS
BlackBerry 10 (Discontinued since OS 10.3.1)[3]
Linux (Discontinued since v2.6)[4]
Platform IA-32, x64, ARM and MIPS
Available in English
Type Run-time environment
License Proprietary[5]

Adobe Integrated Runtime, also known as Adobe AIR, is a cross-platform run-time system developed by Adobe Systems for building Rich Internet applications (RIA) that can be run as desktop applications or on mobile devices, programmed using Adobe Flash, Apache Flex (formerly Adobe Flex), HTML, Javascript and XML. The runtime supports installable applications on Windows, Mac OS and some mobile operating systems such as BlackBerry Tablet OS, iOS and Android. It also originally ran on Linux, but support was discontinued as of version 2.6 in 2011.


AIR is a cross-platform technology and AIR apps can be repackaged with few or no changes for many popular desktop and mobile platforms. On mobile devices, AIR supports many basic native hardware features, including GPU rendering, touch-screen gestures, camera and microphone, accelerometer, networking, and more.

  • Add-on packages called AIR Native Extensions can provide access to additional native functionality, including gaming and social networking integration, advertising, and more.[6]
  • AIR Gamepad provides an API for developers to make mobile apps that can serve as secondary displays and controllers for browser-based Flash games[7]


With AIR, Adobe provides a runtime-environment that allows Flash, ActionScript, or HTML and JavaScript code to construct Internet-based applications that have many of the characteristics of more traditional desktop-like programs. Adobe positions AIR as a browser-less runtime for RIAs that can be deployed onto the desktop, rather than as a full-fledged application framework. An application deployed in a browser does not require installation, while one deployed with AIR requires that the application be packaged, digitally signed, and installed on the user's local file system. This provides access to local storage and file systems, while browser-deployed applications are more limited in where and how data can be accessed and stored.[8]

Adobe AIR internally uses Adobe Flash Player as the runtime environment, and ActionScript 3 as the sole programming language. Flash applications must specifically be built for the Adobe AIR runtime in order to use additional features provided, such as file-system integration, native-client extensions, native window/screen integration, taskbar/dock integration, and hardware integration with connected Accelerometer and GPS devices.[9] AIR enables applications to work with data in multiple different ways, including using local files, local SQLite databases (for which AIR has inbuilt capability), a database server via web services, or the encrypted local store included with AIR.


Desktop platforms[edit]

The latest version of Adobe AIR, Version 3, contains Adobe Flash Player 11, and is available for Windows (XP and newer) and OS X.[10] Official support for desktop Linux distributions ceased in June 2011 with version 2.6.[11]

In January 2009, Adobe claimed that there were over 100 million installations of Adobe AIR worldwide, and that "the majority of AIR runtime installations occur at the time the first AIR application is installed by a user".[12] Adobe AIR is also included with all downloaded installations of Adobe Reader 9 (released in July, 2008), Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, with no option for exclusion either in the download or in the installation.[13]

Mobile platforms[edit]

Adobe AIR applications can be published as native phone applications on certain mobile operating systems, such as Android (ARM Cortex-A8 and above[14]) and Apple iOS.[10]

The following table explains to what extent Adobe AIR can run on various mobile operating systems:

Operating System Prerequisites Latest Adobe Flash Player AIR Framework
Android Android 2.3+, ARM Cortex-A8+ [15] AIR (uses Flash Player 11.6)[16] Option 1: The AIR player can be embedded as a 'captive' runtime, which increases APK size but makes the application standalone.[17]

Option 2: The runtime is not included with the app, and must installed as a separate app from the app market.[18]

Apple iOS iOS 4.3 or later AIR (uses Flash Player 11.6)[16] Not applicable: each app includes its own 'captive' runtime.[19]
BlackBerry Tablet OS None AIR 3.1 (uses Flash Player 11.1)[20][21] Already pre-installed on each device.[19]
BlackBerry 10 None AIR 3.5 (uses Flash Player 11.1) Already pre-installed on each device.

Application development[edit]

Adobe AIR runs Flash applications within a contained Flash Player instance, and HTML/JavaScript/Ajax web applications by running them within the included WebKit rendering engine. Multiple instances of the browser can be started within a single AIR application, but JavaScript content executes with some security limitations.

Adobe provides a free AIR SDK for the development of AIR applications on supported desktops and mobile devices. The AIR SDK is an add-on library for ActionScript 3 which introduces additional functionality to support standalone application development. On mobile devices, this includes extensive mobile technology support, including touch-screen gestures, networking capability, support for devices' cameras, microphones, accelerometers, and more. However, as a non-native development platform, AIR does not provide direct access to native GUI elements such as navigation bars or controls. Native extensions can be utilized to access additional native resources (see below).

Adobe provides for AIR HTML/JavaScript development with Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, although any other HTML editor or text editor can be used.[22]


Adobe AIR applications can optionally be built with the Adobe Flex Framework. The FLEX framework is an integrated collection of stylable Graphical User Interface defined in MXML, data manipulation and networking components, and applications built upon it are known as "Flex" applications.

In 2011, the addition of Stage3D to the Flash Player allowed Flash and AIR apps access to devices' native GPUs for hardware acceleration. Several third-party frameworks have been developed to build upon the functionality of Stage3D, including the Starling Framework and Away3D. These frameworks are also compatible with AIR, and provide vital performance improvements to AIR apps published for mobile devices.

AIR Native Extensions[edit]

On mobile platforms, AIR apps can be augmented in functionality with the usage of AIR Native Extensions (ANEs). Native extensions are plug-in packages that provide an interface between an AIR app and native mobile code, allowing developers to access native features not otherwise usable in AIR, such as Apple Game Center or Google Cloud Messaging. Native extensions may be developed by anyone using publically available tools;[23] some are distributed for free or even as open source, while others are sold commercially.[24]

Development software[edit]

Adobe distributes two pieces of software that support the development of AIR applications in ActionScript:

Third-party development environments that target the AIR runtime are also available:

  • FlashDevelop, an open-source Flash ActionScript IDE, which includes a debugger for AIR applications
  • FDT by PowerFlasher Solutions, a commercial ActionScript IDE
  • CodeDrive, an extension to Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 for ActionScript 3 development and debugging


Adobe AIR can run a subset of JavaScript, with no ability to dynamically execute code when running in the application sandbox. According to Adobe, this restriction is designed to prevent malicious remote content from attacking a user's system.[25] Because of this restriction, JavaScript frameworks that make use of dynamic JavaScript functions like eval() were not initially compatible with Adobe AIR. However, several frameworks including Dojo Toolkit,[citation needed] jQuery,[citation needed] and ExtJS[citation needed] were updated to run in Adobe AIR's application sandbox. Some frameworks like MooTools were already compatible.[citation needed]

Dreamweaver CS4/CS3 requires an additional extension to compile AIR applications,[26] as does Flash CS3 in the form of an update.[27]

Release history[edit]

"Apollo" 1.0 Betas[edit]

Adobe made a public preview release of AIR (then called Apollo) along with a software development kit (SDK) and extension for developing Apollo applications with the Flex framework, on March 19, 2007.

On June 10, 2007, Apollo was renamed to AIR and a public beta release of the runtime was launched. Public beta 2 of AIR SDK was released on October 1, 2007. Public beta 3, was released on December 12, 2007.


Adobe AIR 1.0[edit]

Version 1.0 of the Adobe AIR runtime and SDK was released on February 25, 2008.[citation needed]

Adobe AIR 1.1[edit]

Version 1.1 of Adobe AIR was released on June 16, 2008. This release included a number of new features including:

  • Additional languages including Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish
  • Ability to localize the name, description local database error messages of the application
  • A new option that allows an application to be updated from an old certificate to a new one while preserving the identity of the application (for example from a self-signed certificate to a chained certificate)
  • A new property for detecting the space available on a drive
  • A new property for detecting whether the hosting operating system's window manager allows transparency

In addition, version 1.1 works on Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise.[28]

Adobe AIR 1.5[edit]

Adobe AIR 1.5 was released on November 17, 2008. New capabilities included:

  • Ability to encrypt the local database
  • Inclusion of Flash Player 10 features
  • An updated version of WebKit with performance improvements due to a new JavaScript interpreter
  • Five new languages including Czech, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish and Polish
  • A Linux version was released on December 18, 2008.[29][30]

Adobe AIR 1.5.1[edit]

Released on February 24, 2009, AIR 1.5.1 was primarily a compatibility update that includes bug fixes and security updates.

Adobe AIR 1.5.2[edit]

Released on July 30, 2009, AIR 1.5.2 introduced a number of minor new features and compatibility issues. Some of the important fixes included:

  • When using the full-screen interactive mode an application using the 1.5.2 namespace can capture the keyDown event and call the preventDefault() method of the event
  • SWF content embedded within an HTML container could now be displayed with certain wmode settings.

Adobe AIR 1.5.3[edit]

Adobe AIR 1.5.3 was released on December 8, 2009. It included fixes for a number of compatibility and security related issues. The BBC iPlayer Desktop manager v1.5.15695.18135 is the first version to use AIR 1.5.3.


AIR 2.0[edit]

The Adobe AIR 2 public beta was released on November 16, 2009 followed by the beta 2 on February 2, 2010 and the release candidate on May 11, 2010. In addition, Adobe AIR for Android was announced on February 12, 2010. AIR 2 was officially released for Windows, Mac OS and Linux on June 10, 2010 and Android on October 8, 2010. It dropped the ability to run on PowerPC Macs.

AIR 2.5[edit]

Adobe AIR 2.5 was released on October 24, 2010 at the Adobe MAX 2010 conference.[31]

AIR 2.6[edit]

Adobe AIR 2.6 was released on February 24, 2011 for Android devices.[32] Another update was released on March 22, 2011 for updated iOS interoperability.[33]

AIR 2.7[edit]

Adobe AIR 2.7 was released on June 14, 2011.[34] Ability to run on Linux was dropped.[35]


AIR 3.0[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.0 on October 3, 2011.[36] AIR 3.0 added the ability to run on native 64-bit CPU architecture and use hardware accelerated graphics rendering, captive runtime, native extensions, JPEG-XR image format, LZMA compression for SWF files, and H.264 encoding.[37]

AIR 3.1[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.1 on November 11, 2011.

AIR 3.2[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.2 on March 28, 2012.[38]

AIR 3.3[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.3 on June 8, 2012.[38]

AIR 3.4[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.4 on August 21, 2012.[38]

AIR 3.5[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.5 on November 6, 2012.[38]

AIR 3.6[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.6 on February 12, 2013.[38]

AIR 3.7[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.7 on April 9, 2013.[38]

AIR 3.8[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.8 on July 24, 2013.[38]

AIR 3.9[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.9 on October 8, 2013.[38]

AIR 4.0[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 4.0 on January 14, 2014. It was released to beta on October 30, 2013, code named Jones.[38]

AIR 13.0[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 13.0 on April 8, 2014.[38] It was numbered 13 to synchronize itself with the version numbering of Flash Player.[39]

AIR 14.0[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 14.0 on June 10, 2014.[38]

AIR 15.0[edit]

Adobe released Adobe AIR 15.0 on September 9, 2014.[38] It includes improvements to Stage3D technology, AIR Gamepad enhancements, and a new packaging engine for iOS apps that reduces compile times from minutes to seconds.[40]


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  2. ^ "Adobe AIR for iOS". 
  3. ^ "End of Support Notice". BlackBerry Ltd. April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Adobe AIR and Linux: Increasing Distribution on Devices". Adobe Blog website. Adobe Inc. Retrieved June 14, 2011. "We will no longer be releasing our own versions of Adobe AIR and the AIR SDK for desktop Linux, but expect that one or more of our partners will do so. The last Adobe release of AIR for desktop Linux is AIR 2.6. By focusing on the porting kit and support of partner implementations, we expect to provide broader support for AIR across Linux-based PCs and devices, whereas our own desktop Linux releases have accounted for less than 0.5% of lifetime AIR downloads." 
  5. ^ "Adobe AIR 1.1 EULA" (PDF). Adobe Systems. February 4, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Adobe AIR: Browser vs. Desktop". Adobe Systems. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  9. ^ Adobe AIR 3, Adobe
  10. ^ a b iOS features in Adobe AIR 2.6, Adobe Devnet
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  12. ^ Ludwig, Adrian (January 28, 2009). "AIR passes 100 million installations". Adobe AIR Team Blog. Adobe Systems. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  13. ^ Gottwals, Steve (June 27, 2008). "Adobe Reader 9 is Here!". Adobe Reader Blog. Adobe Systems. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Flash Player 10.1 – Installations and updates". Archived from the original on October 8, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
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  21. ^ Retrieved on September 19, 2011.
  22. ^ "Getting started with Adobe AIR for HTML/JavaScript developers". Adobe Systems. August 24, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "ADOBE® AIR™ 1.5 Security White Paper" (PDF). Adobe Systems. 2008. p. 6. Retrieved March 24, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Adobe - AIR: Tools for Ajax". Adobe Systems. Archived from the original on April 14, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Adobe Flash - Downloads". Adobe Systems. November 17, 2008. Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2011. "Adobe AIR 1.5 Update for Flash CS4 Professional" 
  28. ^ "Adobe AIR 1.1 FAQ" (PDF). Adobe Systems. June 16, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Adobe release AIR for Linux". Heinz Heise. December 18, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  30. ^ "AIR for Linux:Release Notes". Adobe Systems. March 31, 2008. Archived from the original on May 27, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  31. ^ Hu, Michael (October 24, 2010). "Adobe AIR 2.5 is Now Available!". Adobe AIR Team Blog. Adobe Systems. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Adobe AIR Team Blog". Adobe Systems. Archived from the original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Adobe AIR Team Blog". Adobe Systems. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Adobe AIR Team Blog". Adobe Systems. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Adobe AIR Team Blog". Adobe Systems. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  36. ^ "Adobe AIR Team Blog". Adobe Systems. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Adobe AIR 3 Features". Adobe Systems Incorporated. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Flash Player and Adobe AIR feature list". Adobe Systems. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Jones Beta Release Notes". Retrieved January 10, 2014. 
  40. ^

External links[edit]