Software is constantly improving and Apple has always strived to be at the top of the list when it comes to innovation. One of the improvements introduced in iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra is the switch from the common JPEG and MP4 media formats to the more performant yet lesser known HEIF and HEVC formats.
The latest versions of iOS and macOS no longer encode photos and videos in JPEG and MP4 formats, using HEIF and HEVC formats instead.
For those who’d rather stick to the classics, it is possible to make your iPhone use JPEG and MP4 instead of HEIF and HEVC formats. However, let’s start by discussing what’s the difference between these formats, as well as their benefits and potential drawbacks.
What are HEIF and HEVC?
HEIF stands for High Efficiency Image Format and HEVC stands for High Efficiency Video Coding. Their names pretty much say it all – these formats have been designed for high efficiency and use newer compression algorithms that make these files much smaller in size compared to JPEG and MP4 but without reducing their quality.
Unlike some might assume, HEIF and HEVC are not Apple’s proprietary formats, and any software or operating system can use them, just like JPG and MP4. With higher resolution photos and 4K videos, it’s obvious the videos and photos taken with recent iPhone models would also occupy more storage space.
Apple thought of the new HEIF and HEVC formats as a solution but despite the smaller file sizes, they require increased processing power for rendering so for now, only the latest generation of iPad Pro, and the iPhone 7 and newer models have the necessary hardware to support them.
By default, any of the compatible iOS devices running iOS 11 will take photos and videos in HEIF and HEVC formats.
Current limitations of HEIF and HEVC formats
When it comes to iOS, you shouldn’t have any problems using these formats. Nevertheless, if you want to store some HEIF or HEVC files on your Mac, you can only view and edit them if your computer is running macOS High Sierra or a later version.
Windows users are a little less lucky since the OS doesn’t provide native support for these formats and you would need to convert them to more compatible formats using a third-party app.
We’ve already discussed how you can easily convert HEIF photos to JPEG, so if that’s all you need to do, just follow the linked tutorial. This also means that your iPhone will still capture photos and videos in the new formats, and you get to enjoy all their quality and space saving benefits.
How to make your iPhone use JPEG and MP4 instead of HEIF and HEVC
Nevertheless, if you want to ditch the new formats completely and go back to the good old JPEG and MP4, that’s also a possibility. Here’s how you can do it:
Navigate to Settings -> Camera -> Formats on your iOS device.
On the Formats settings screen, you will notice that by default the “High Efficiency” option is enabled.
If you want to make your iPhone use JPEG and MP4 instead of HEIF and HEVC you simply need to enable the option called “Most Compatible” instead. From then on, your iOS device will capture videos in MP4 and images in JPEG.
This will obviously mean your photos and videos will take up more storage space, but for many users, this is an acceptable compromise to ensure maximum compatibility of their media files with other platforms.
What do you think about the new HEIF and HEVC formats implemented by Apple? Do you plan to keep using them or have you switched back to JPEG and MP4? Let us know in the comments section!