Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video The HEIC file format, part of iPhone and iPad Photography with iOS 12.
- [Instructor] A little over a year ago with the release of iOS 11, Apple adopted the High Efficiency Image Format standard as the default for still photos and videos created by iOS devices. The Apple file format based on this standard is referred to as HEIC for still photos and HEVC for video. JPEG and the MPEG for H.264 video format are no longer the default on iOS devices, but they're still available if you want to use them.
In the year or so that has passed since Apple's adoption of HEIC and HEVC, more and more computer programs and mobile apps now support this format. The current versions of Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, and Lightroom Classic that were released in the fall of 2018 will all open HEIC files as will the Photos program for Mac in High Sierra. And the operating system really is the key here. On a Mac, you need at least High Sierra or OS 10.13 in order to open HEIC or HEVC files.
The Windows 10 update that was released in the spring of 2018 supports HEIC and HEVC files, but you'll have to install a couple of extensions in order to unlock this functionality. So even though HEIC and HEVC have been around in iOS for a little over a year, older programs and older operating systems will not be able to recognize them. To ease the transition, iOS 12 will seamlessly convert an HEIC file into a JPEG if it needs to be opened into a mobile app that does not support this new format.
And if you're running an older operating system or have older programs on your computer, you can tell iOS 12 to translate these files into the more common JPEG and H.264 format when you transfer them to your computer. Let's take a look at that. So I'll open up the settings. And scroll down here to find the Camera and Photo Settings. There they are. I'm going into Camera first. And then under Formats, I can choose either High Efficiency or Most Compatible.
So High Efficiency is going to be the new HEIC for still photos and HEVC for videos. Most Compatible will be JPEG or H.264 for videos. And notice in the notation underneath, it says that if you're shooting at 4k at 60 frames per second or 1080p at 240 frames per second, that those do require the high efficiency or HEIC-HEVC format.
Let's go back out of camera settings and go into the Photo settings, and then here, all the way down at the bottom, there's a section for transfer to Mac or PC and you can choose to automatically transfer photos and videos in a compatible format which means it's going to convert them to JPEG or H.264, or always transfer the original file without checking for compatibility. So what you choose here is really going to depend on what programs you rely on on your computer to work with your photos and videos.
In my case, all the programs that I use to work with my photography and my video do support the new format so I tend to choose Keep Originals when I transfer these over. And if I need to convert a video to an older format, there are video conversion utilities that I can use for that. If you're wondering why Apple made the switch to HEIC and HEVC, the name says it all, High Efficiency. HEIC and HEVC formats result in significantly smaller file sizes with much better image compression quality.
This means you can fit a lot more photos on your iPhone or iPad. HEIC format can also be thought of like a container. Unlike a JPEG which is just a simple grid of pixels that make up a photo, the HEIC format can contain different types of image information including Depth Maps that can now be used to adjust the background blurring after you take the shot. Live Photos, Animations such as the loop and bounce effects you can do with live photos.
And Bursts. Not only is HEIC more efficient in terms of making files smaller with better quality, it's also a much more versatile and modern way of storing image information than the simple grid and pixels in a JPEG file.
- Shooting panorama photos
- Creating slow-motion videos
- Taking time-lapse videos
- Organizing photos
- Image editing with the Photos app
- Trimming videos
- Sharing photos
- Transferring photos to and from your device