MAC OS 10.6.8 Using Safari 5.1 Needing Help With Updating Adobe Flash

Recently Adobe Flash installed an icon in my System Preferences and when I click the icon there are several tabs.  One allows updates to check automatically.  It says it will install the latest version of Flash without having to remove the previous version, but I have never been told that a newer version is available unless I clcik "check now."  although "Check for updates automatically" is checked, I do not know where it tells me a newer version is available.  Also, there has been 5 "newer versions" available since this icon was installed in System Prefeences, I have only found out about the newer versions when I clicked "Check Now."  If I read that with this new way to install the latest Mac version of Flash does not require me to uninstall the previous version of Flash how do I install the most recent version of Flash?  Does it come in an email?
Since it is not telling me that there is a more recent version of Flash unless I click "Check Now" should I still do it the way I used to install the latest version of flash?  (The way before this icon was added to System Preferences)?
I would appreciate help with updating Flash to the most recent version.  I used to uninstall the older version, restart the browser and download the most recent version and install it.  It always worked find but this was before there was an Adobe icon in my system Preferences.

The way you used to do this (uninstall, restart the browser, etc.) is still definitely valid and probably the "safest" way to get a new version installed.  Uninstalling shouldn't be required, but it definitely doesn't hurt.  If you feel comfortable doing it the old way, please feel free to continue using that process.
As for notifications, this is a bit trickier, but in general you should be notified within 30 days (or so) after a new player is released.  This usually occurs when the browser loads swf content.  Clicking the button will, like you mention, immediately check.  Another alternative to finding out when a new player is released is to subscribe to our Flash Player Releases feed.
Is there a way to be automatically notified when a new Flash Runtime release is made?

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