What is a HEIC file on Apple devices?

Have you just transferred a photo from your iPhone to another device and noticed that the file extension is .HEIC and not .JPEG? This is a change made by Apple to save space on the phone. We will tell you what the HEIC format is, which iPhone and iPad models support it, and if you should use it.

What is a HEIC file?

HEIC stands for High Efficiency Image Container and is a container format that Apple uses on its modern iPhone and iPad models. It is part of the HEIF standard and this format allows you to capture high quality photos and videos on your devices while saving storage space.

HEIC uses modern compression methods to reduce the size of photo files. If you compare HEIC and JPEG, the former produces files twice as small as the latter. The great thing is that it does this by guaranteeing the quality of your image.

A HEIC file works like any other image file. You can view and edit HEIC files in supported apps on your different devices. Here are some highlights of the HEIC file format:

  • Like JPEG, HEIC is a lossy file format, but it still manages to maintain the original quality of your photo.
  • HEIC files consume less storage space, allowing you to store more photos on your phone.
  • Unlike JPEG, HEIC supports transparent images.
  • HEIC files can store metadata like other image formats.
  • HEIC images do not support animations. For this, you can use the GIF format.
  • The HEIC file format can be viewed on most devices including Windows, Mac and Android.

How to convert HEIC to JPG on iPhone

Apple devices that support HEIC

Not all iPhone or iPad models support HEIC format. You can only capture and save your images in this file format if you have one of the following devices:

  • iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus or later
  • iPad (6th generation) or later
  • iPad Air (3rd generation) or later
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro (10.5-inch), iPad Pro (11-inch), and iPad Pro (12.9-inch, 2nd generation) or later.

As for the software, you should be using iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra. These OS versions allow you to view and edit your HEIC files, so make sure your iPhone and Mac are up to date.

Can you get your iPhone or iPad to use the JPEG format?

Apple offers HEIC as an optional file format, and you can switch back to JPEG if you prefer. Then all your future photo captures will be saved in the old JPEG format instead of HEIC. The recorded videos will also be saved in MP4 format instead of HEVC.

To make this change, on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings> Camera> Formats and choose “More Compatible”. To switch back to HEIC format, choose “High Efficiency”.

Choose the “Most Compatible” option.

Remember that the above change only applies to your future image captures; your existing content will remain the same. Also keep in mind that each future photo will take up more storage space than when you were still using HEIC, so make sure you have enough storage.

Convert HEIC to JPEG only when transferring your photos

You can have your iPhone or iPad convert your HEIC photos to JPEG when you transfer your photos to a computer. Then the photos saved on your device will remain in HEIC format and will not be converted to HEIC until you have copied them to your computer.

To make it work, on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings> Photos and turn on the “Automatic” option.

Select “Automatic”.

Should you use HEIC or JPEG on your Apple device?

Whether you use JPEG or HEIC on your iPhone or iPad mainly depends on how you use your photos.

If you often share your photos with people whose devices don’t support HEIC, or if you’re using an image editor that doesn’t yet support Apple’s new file format, you better get away with it. The JPEG format is compatible with almost all existing devices and you can edit it in almost any photo editor.

On the other hand, if you are looking to save storage space on your iPhone or iPad and your friends and family have devices that support the HEIC format, you will probably want to use the HEIC format on your phone. This format will allow you to store more photos on your device. And if you set the transfers to “Automatic” as explained above, you can still use the JPEG format you are used to if you are transferring your photos to a PC.

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