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What is a HEIC file and why does Apple use it

What is a HEIC file and why does Apple use it

You probably experienced this issue once, you have an android phone and your friend an iphone. Your friend sends a picture to your phone and you try to view this awesome image but you stumble across a problem: you can’t open the image…

The main reason for this is probably because the image is a HEIC file. The newest iPhones (since iOS11) use this file format for all their images created with the iPhone camera.

So to send a file from iPhone to Android, we have 2 options. You can just send the file as normal and download a HEIC viewer app on the android phone, for the HEIC support. Or we can try and convert the file to a normal JPG file, either before sending it or after sending it. In my opinion, that is the best option.

What is a HEIC file?

iPhone photos are in a file format called HEIC, also known as High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF). The new format greatly reduced the size of your photos while still maintaining the high-quality of your images. 

If you’re not familiar with this techy sounding file format and how it works, here's what you need to know:

An HEIC file contains the same basic components as a JPEG file: an image and metadata. Both contain information about the device used to take the photo, but without location data. However, unlike a JPEG file, an HEIC file can also include depth information for devices with multiple cameras.

Why does Apple use the HEIC file format?

The main reasons for this are that HEIC files are significantly more efficient than JPEGs and have better compression. Instead of using the legacy compression technology in JPEG, HEIC uses a much more sophisticated compression algorithm that causes much less data loss when converting a photo to a file size suitable for sharing.

For example, if you take a 20MB JPEG photo on your phone and then send it to someone over email, that 20MB will be reduced by about 10x or 12x. This will make it easier to share the image with other people but you’ll lose some quality because the photograph was squeezed into such a small file size.

HEIC allows you to maintain much better image quality by getting more out of each individual byte of information used to store the picture on your phone. Basically, information is lost when compressing a file like this because some parts of an image won’t be missed if they aren’t there anymore so Apple’s new format does away with them first before anything else gets sacrificed when making smaller versions for sharing purposes.

Converting the HEIC format for iphone

First, what is converting? Converting is the process of taking a file and turning it into another file format. Converting is a technique that is used a lot. For instance, we can convert an MP4 video file into a MOV file so we can use it in specific ways that need a MOV video file.

You can find many converters online, some paid, some free. However, there is a downside to these converters because they upload your file to their servers to perform the conversion. Imagine you have a highly sensitive file you want to convert, it wouldn’t be smart to let your file be handled by their servers. You don’t have any control over the security measures they have taken, if they even have taken some.

Here at RunningWombat we created an awesome HEIC to JPG converter with one very big benefit: we convert your files locally. Your files won’t be uploaded to any server; the conversion will take place on your local system. This makes the conversion process faster, because it doesn’t need to be uploaded to a server and your files won’t go anywhere but your own computer, a win-win situation if you ask me.

You can use our conversion tool at free of charge without any ads or other snags. Or find our other tools at

One thing to note, many people think HEIC is a RAW format. This is not the case. HEIC is just an optimized version of JPG.

I hope you learned something from this blogpost! Let me know if you have any questions at

Cheers, Rowan.