Starting with iOS 11 and continuing to iOS 13, Apple changed the default camera formats for photos and videos to High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) for images and image sequences. For photos, that meant using HEIC files instead of JPEG, and the default value for videos is now HEVC instead of H264.
These new standards allow file sizes to be smaller while maintaining the same quality, which means you can store more photos and videos on your iPhone. This relatively new standard, finalized in 2015, supports animations better than more traditional formats, such as GIFs, which is useful since animation and video clips are more common on phones and for posting to social media.
While this is convenient for file storage, it is not ideal for publishing on the web and in other places where it is useful to format images in more traditional formats for the web, such as JPEG for photos.
But while not exclusive to Apple, HEIC and HEVC files are not universally supported yet. So if you take a HEIC photo on your iPhone and send it to a friend who has an outdated Windows PC, Android phone or even an older Mac, they won’t be able to see it.
There are ways to export existing HEIC and HEVC files to their JPEG and H264 counterparts, but if you frequently send lots of photos and videos taken on your iPhone to friends and family that don’t have Apple products, you may want to change your iPhone’s camera to the oldest and most compatible formats. Doing so will still give you high-quality images and videos that can be easily shared with anyone, but take up a little more storage space.
How can I stop my iPhone from taking HEIC photos?
To save iPhone and iPad images as JPEG instead of HEIC format, follow these instructions:
- From an iOS device compatible with iOS 11 or later, launch Settings
- Then tap Camera.
- Tap Formats.
- Change the format of your iPhone camera to More compatible by default, which is High efficiency. The “Most Compatible” setting will automatically save images as JPEG files and videos in H264 format.
Convert HEIC to JPEG on iPhone
If you already have a photo in HEIC format and need to convert it to JPEG, there are several ways to convert the file directly to iPhone.
- Photo editing app: iOS photo editors like Adobe Lightroom CC support opening files in HEIC format. Then you can export from these applications in JPEG or another compatible file format.
- Email photos: The built-in Apple Mail app on iOS will automatically convert any attached HEIC images to JPEGs when they are sent, even if the “Actual Size” quality is selected.
- Dropbox Camera Upload: If you use the Dropbox app’s ability to automatically upload images from your iPhone, you can configure it to convert everything to JPEG before uploading. Within the Dropbox app, just go to Account> Camera Uploads> Save HEIC photos as> JPG.
- OneDrive Camera Upload: Similar to Dropbox, OneDrive app can convert your HEIC files to JPEG before uploading. However, you don’t need to configure anything here as it is converted to JPEG by default.
- Image Conversion App: Several paid and free apps available on the iOS App Store offer HEIC to JPEG image conversion. We haven’t tried many of these conversion apps, so we can’t give a specific recommendation, but searching the “HEIC to JPEG” app store will return a lot of results for you to refer to.
HEIC / HEVC Advantages
The steps above covering how to change your iPhone camera settings and existing photos from HEIC to JPEG are required for compatibility, but it’s okay (even preferable) to stick with HEIC and HEVC unless you have the compatibility issues mentioned previously.
These high-efficiency formats, while not without competition, are industry standards that are increasingly compatible across a range of platforms and devices.
They offer better compression without sacrificing image quality compared to JPEG and H264, and are possibly essential to accommodate the increasing resolution and bit rates of our media, such as 4K video.
So if you and those with whom you share photos and videos are running recent Macs and iPhones, there is no problem using HEIC or HEVC. Even those who are using Windows, Linux or Android, the updates should eventually allow support for high-efficiency file formats if it’s not already there.
If you post photos on the web, you probably want to use the JPG format as it is still the standard format for photos posted on the web.
Convert HEIC to JPEG on Mac
Some users prefer to work from their Mac. Apple Computers also give you the option to convert an image to JPEG.
- Open the image in Apple Preview on your Mac
- Click “File” in the upper right corner of your computer
- Click “Export”
- You can then change the name of the image, where you want to save it (i.e. desktop) and the file type. Choose JPEG.
- Click Save ’
Access the image and send or share it wherever you want. You can also use this feature on a Mac to save documents as PDFs by selecting the “Export to PDF” option from the File menu.
If you’re having trouble sending MMS (multimedia text) to Android users from your iPhone and converting the files doesn’t work, there are a few things you can try.
MMS messages are sent via mobile data, not wifi. If you don’t get a cellular signal, you’re probably to blame for the MMS content not delivered to the androids. Other iPhone users may receive the content because you are sending via AppleIMessage which is different. Please check your mobile data connection and try again.
Assuming your cellular connection is ok, check your Settings below.
- Click “Settings” on your iPhone
- Scroll down and tap “Messages”
- Activate “Send as SMS” to turn green
- Tap “Send and Receive”
- Change “Start new conversations from” to your phone number if your Apple ID is checked
Then restart your phone. You can also try sending your MMS to other Android users. If it’s just the only contact you can’t send pictures to, there is a problem with the phone number or the contact itself. You can try removing the contact and adding it again, making sure to add the area code.
If this problem persists, contact your cell phone provider. Some APN settings may need to be updated or your plan may be out of mobile data. Either way, contacting your operator should resolve the issue if it is text based and only for Android or Windows phones.