High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) is a file format for individual images and image sequences, similar to JPEG. HEIF was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).

HEIF is the new photo format that Apple is using to replace JPEG, which is probably going to replace it entirely because the popular IPhone with the most-used camera in the world, will be switching from JPEG to HEIF as of IOS 11.

So what exactly is HEIF? What makes it better than JPEG? And what difference will it make to you?


1. HEIF is Smaller and Better

HEIF is the still-image version of HVEC/H.265 — video format. What we will all be benefiting from this is that images saved in HEIF are roughly half the size of JPEGs and are of much better quality. This means that you can now store twice as many photos on your IPhone while freeing up a ton of Gigabytes on your phone.

This is because image compression has gotten a lot better than it was when JPEG was born more than 20 years ago. Part of it was probably due to today’s computers being way more powerful, in which they can crush a file in a more complex way and do it almost instantly. Images can be encoded and decoded super-fast, without stressing the system or the battery with Apple’s newest built-in hardware.

2. HEIF is Flexible

What makes HEIF different from JPEG is that JPEG is a single image but HEIF can be a single or a series of pictures. This makes HEIF perfect for Apple’s Live Photos and also a possible replacement for GIF. HEIF supports transparency and image colour up to 16 bits, versus JPEG’s 8-bit colour. With HEIF, it can capture all of the extended colour range provided by the camera’s 10-bit colour output.

HEIF is also great for editing. A HEIF image can be rotated and cropped without altering the image or resaving it. This makes such edits reversable at any time in the future.

3. Compatible with Everyone

Currently, we are still living in a JPEG world. In order for HEIF to fit in, Apple’s IOS 11 will convert its HEIF images to JPEG upon exporting. This is for sharing purposes — for sharing from Apple to non-iOS devices that don’t support HEIF. As a user, you won’t notice any difference. All of the work will be done behind the scenes. 

What you will notice is rather, the benefits of HEIF. Photos in your phone will take up less space, with better quality photos. If the rest of the world adopts this HEIF format, the whole web will then operate much quicker.

And there you have it! I hope you learned a thing or two about the new HEIF format and that it helped you to understand more about it. Feel free to share your thoughts about this with us. See you guys in the next post!