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Did you know that over 3 trillion photos were taken by iPhones last year? You read that correctly – THREE TRILLION! Those photos are then shared on social media, family text chains, email newsletters and more. The only problem is, in the process of all that uploading or sending to the few who are not iPhone users (womp), you might have noticed a funky file format when trying to upload your images: HEIC.

But what the heck is that “HEIC” format exactly? And why does it give us so much trouble when we try to view and share our iPhone photos?

We’re answering these questions and more below! Keep reading to learn how to easily convert iPhone HEIC to JPG like a pro and get started sharing your favorite photos with anyone and everyone seamlessly.

So what is a HEIC file, anyway?

iPhones have been producing images in HEIC (otherwise known as high efficiency image file formats) since the release of iOS 11 in 2017. HEIC isn’t exactly a file format, however. It’s actually more like an image container that creates smaller file sizes with higher quality images.

The only downside is that a HEIC file is not as widely compatible as other image formats like JPG and PNG, so if you want to share your HEIC file with someone who doesn't have the latest version of iOS or Mac OS, you'll need to make adjustments.

iPhone users have two options when they want to convert HEIC to PNG or JPG: manually change your iPhone settings and lose out on the benefits of a HEIC image or manage your images with an all-in-one tool that can easily store and convert files for you.

Fortunately, there are a number of free online tools available that can help you quickly and easily convert HEIC to PNG and other formats. Additionally, many photo editing programs now support HEIC files, so you can open and edit them without having to convert them first!

Why did Apple create the HEIC file format?

HEIC is designed to save you storage space so you can continue capturing all 85 pictures of your dog laying on the couch in a funny position without filling up your phone. Or, to get a bit more specific to our customers and their use cases (not that we don’t love dogs at Brandfolder!), if you’re a photographer for a direct-to-consumer retail company HEIC allows you to continuously store photos of all 20 angles of each of your products.

The Apple operating system automatically shares HEIC files as the default JPG format for apps, but HEIC isn’t natively supported on some operating systems or applications. And, if you’re trying to distribute your content quickly – like across any of your digital channels – the commonly preferred file format is JPG or PNG.

For example, one of our customers in particular hosts a collection of different New Years celebration events and taps into user-generated content by using volunteers to shoot images from the events to post on social media. Those volunteers are able to guest upload their HEIC image directly from their iPhones into a specific Brandfolder Volunteer Social Media Committee Collection. Then the customer’s admins and collaborators can view, select, edit, customize and convert the assets they want to distribute to their social channels all directly within Brandfolder.

HEIC vs JPG: Pros, cons and what to consider

Pros of HEIC:

  • More efficient compression: A HEIC image takes up less storage space than a JPG image of the same quality, which means you can store more images on your device or save bandwidth when uploading them to the internet.
  • Better color representation: HEIC supports a wider color gamut than JPG, which means that images in this format can capture and display more colors, leading to more accurate and vibrant images.
  • Lossless and lossy compression: HEIC supports both lossless and lossy compression, while JPG only supports only lossy compression. Lossy compression algorithms remove information that is considered to be less important to the human eye, such as fine details and color nuances, while trying to preserve the overall quality of the image. This means that you can choose to either keep the image data intact at the cost of larger file size or discard some data to save space but retain the overall quality.

Cons of HEIC:

  • Compatibility issues: HEIC is a relatively new format, and as such, it may not be compatible with older devices or softwares that were not originally built with this format in mind.
  • Limited support in web browsers: HEIC images are not natively supported by most web browsers, so to be displayed on a website, you need to convert HEIC to PNG or JPG (or another more widely-supported format).

Pros of JPG:

  • Widespread support: JPG is a widely-used and well-established format, so it is supported by a wide range of devices, software and web browsers.
  • Small file size: JPG images can be highly compressed without losing too much quality, which makes them ideal for situations where storage space is at a premium or bandwidth is limited.
  • Low quality loss: JPG images are lossy format but it can be set to the level where the loss of quality is minimal.

Cons of JPG:

  • Low quality compression: JPG images are compressed by discarding some of the image data, which can result in a loss of quality.
  • Limited color representation: JPG format has a smaller color gamut and therefore it cannot capture and display as many colors as the HEIC file.

In general, a HEIC image is a good choice if you're looking to store large numbers of photos on your device or if you're looking to save space when uploading images to the web. If you need to ensure compatibility across a wide range of devices and software, or if you're working with images that need to retain as much quality in as little space as possible, JPG is probably the better choice.

Benefits of converting HEIC to JPG and other file formats

Converting HEIC to JPG or PNG or other commonly used formats can open up a lot of possibilities. You'll be able to share your images with people who don't have the latest version of iOS or Mac OS, since these formats are more widely supported. It also makes it easier to upload images to websites or social media platforms and quickly transfer large batches of images between devices without running into any compatibility issues.

Brandfolder can convert HEIC to PNG, JPG and more

Luckily for you, if your company has a need to convert HEIC to PNG or JPG on iPhone, desktop and more, the Brandfolder platform does just that! With our edit and convert features, you can easily manipulate your HEIC assets on the fly and export to formats like JPGs, PNGs, GIFs or SVGs.

convert resize bf heic jpg

Here’s how it works:

All you need to do is sign up for an account and upload the files you want to convert. Once you've done that, you'll be able to access the "Convert" tool from the left-hand menu. Here you'll find a variety of options for converting your HEIC file, including the ability to adjust the quality and size.

Once you're happy with your settings, click the "Convert" button and Brandfolder will take care of the rest. Your images will be converted in the background and when they're done you'll be able to download them as either JPG or PNG.

The converted files will be stored in your Brandfolder account so you can access them anytime you need them. You can also share them with others or use them in other applications.

Once they’re saved, you can even crop to any size or use popular social media pre-set dimensions. And the best of all? You can do all of your editing in bulk!

Convert file formats on the fly

If you’re a business that has needs for organizing, managing, converting, distributing and measuring your brand’s assets, then it’s time for a better solution than sketchy, unsecured tools for converting HEIC to JPG or other formats.

As the quality of images and videos rises, as well as the amount of assets consumers demand, amateur or professional photographers will need to watch how much space is left on their devices before they run out. But don’t worry, Brandfolder is here to help.

Don’t waste another minute dealing with a tricky HEIC file! Schedule a demo with a member of our team to learn more about Brandfolder.