What is the HEIC format, and why does iPhone take HEIC photos?

If you’re using iOS 11 or later, you may have noticed that photos taken with your iPhone camera are saved as HEIC files instead of the previous format, JPG. This new file format was introduced to offer better compression while still preserving image quality. The problem with HEIC is that it’s not widely compatible with other apps or devices, and you may not be able to open a HEIC photo after moving it to your computer. This article will explain how you can convert a HEIC to a JPG or even how to stop taking pictures in HEIC format altogether.


HEIC is Apple’s proprietary version of the HEIF or High-Efficiency Image File format. This newer file format is intended to be a better way to save your pictures, making your images smaller in terms of data while retaining high quality.

Thankfully, if dealing with HEIC photos becomes too much of a hassle, you can have your iPhone camera stop taking HEIC pics by following these steps:


  1. 1 Go to Settings.

  2. Tap Camera > Formats.

  3. Select Most Compatible.


How to send photos from your iPhone as JPG, not HEIC

Another option you have is to keep shooting pictures as HEIC but to share them as JPGs. Here’s how to convert a HEIC to JPG when you share it from your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap Photos.

  3. Scroll down to the Transfer to Mac or PC section.

  4. Choose Automatic.


How to convert HEIC to JPG or PNG on a Mac

If you’ve transferred some pictures from your iPhone and now have a handful of HEIC photos on your Mac, don’t worry. Before you delete those pics and transfer them from your phone again, check out a few of the apps that can open HEIC files. And if the app you want to use doesn’t support HEIC, there are a couple of easy ways to convert those files to JPG format.

What apps can open a HEIC file?

Naturally, any app created and supported by Apple will open HEIC files. This includes apps like Preview, Photos, iMovie, etc. Other apps like Adobe Photoshop will open HEIC files on Mac only, while Adobe Lightroom will let you import a HEIC, although it will automatically convert the file to a JPG.

While dealing with HEIC files may be annoying, remember they do serve a purpose. They optimize the size of your pictures while retaining image quality. So, if you can bring yourself to leave your photos as HEIC, it will be in your best interest — especially in the long term. But the good news is, there are a handful of ways to quickly and easily convert your pictures to the JPG format.

All my best, Joe Ake


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