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What is Apple's HEIC format and why does it matter?

What is Apple's HEIC format and why does it matter?

Did you ever transfer a photo from your iPhone to another device and notice the file extension is .HEIC and not .JPEG? That’s some of Apples magic to help you save storage on your phone. I'll talk about what the HEIC format is, and if it is any good.

What is HEIC

First up, HEIC stands for High Efficiency Image Container. As the name implies it is a container format Apple uses on its most recent models. It is part of the HEIF format, which lets you take very high quality photo's with a small file size.

HEIC is basically JPEG on steroids. It uses modern compression algorithms to ensure a small file size. In comparison with JPEG, the files are over 50% smaller(!) but have the same, if not better image quality.

What can HEIC do?

Well i don't know, but Google sure did! Here is a list:

  • HEIC is a lossy file format but it does keep your image quality practically the same.
  • HEIC files are over 50% smaller than JPEG files.
  • Transparency? No problem for HEIC.
  • Just like other formats, HEIC supports metadata.

Forcing my iPhone to use JPEG

At this point, i do not really understand why you would want this. But ofcourse this is something you can do with your iPhone. With this setting turned on, your video files will also be saved as MP4 instead of HEVC.

On your iPhone, head into Settings > Camera > Formats and choose “Most Compatible.” To change it back to HEIC, choose “High Efficiency.”

This setting only works for future photos and/or videos. Your old media will stay the same format.

Bare in mind: your media file sizes will now be a lot more, so make sure you have enough space.

Should i use HEIC or not?

This is ofcourse the final question of this blog. In my opinion you should only use JPEG if the apps or other software require you to. However these situations are rare and mostly occur to real power users.

The HEIC format exists for a reason. Apple does not make these serious decisions to change a default file format, if they haven't researched the hell out of it.

Converting HEIC

If you are ever having trouble with your HEIC file and you would like to convert it to JPG or any other format, you can use our free converters.

We at RunningWombat are currently building out the next-gen of file converters, converting your HEIC to JPG will be done in an instant.

Check our free converters out here.

I really hope you found this blog post helpful and i will talk to you in a next blog.

Let me know if you have any questions at

Cheers, Rowan