Best ways to share iPhone HEIC photos?

My new iPhone 13 Pro camera defaults to high efficiency (HEIC) photos. While I can make the default JPEG, there are cautions about not being able to use certain camera modes if HEIC is turned off.

The only thing that bothers me about HEIC is sharing. Most sites (including this one) don’t allow you to directly upload HEIC. And who knows what happens if you share photos in that format as file attachments with friends.

I notice that at this site I can open the photo in Preview, copy, and paste and that works. Any better suggestions?

Actually… it looks like I can set JPEG as the default and even though there is a caution about the other modes it seems you can still take cinematic movies, etc., when JPEG is the default, but it just uses HEIC when capturing in those other modes.

I need to check more closely, but I believe you can have the camera record as HEIC, but have the option to convert to JPEG when sharing the image (e.g. via e-mail or AirDrop).

And yes, if the recipient doesn’t plan on viewing the image on a modern Apple device, he will need third-party software to view an HEIC image.

My experience is it is best to not share HEIC images unless the recipient requests them. I prefer to record images as JPG or convert them to JPG before sharing.
Note that Graphic Converter (for macOS) can convert batches of images (eg HEIC files in a folder) to JPG to make sharing easier.

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That option is on by default. Nevertheless, when I shared to my Mac it was sent as HEIC.

I am now using non-HEIC mode. Things like cinematography seem to work regardless of the warning. I think the warning was just phrased poorly, implying you can’t use it with HEIC off. What they probably meant was regardless of the setting, HEIC will be used for cinematography.

When I share from the Photos app to the Mail app on the iPhone, a HEIF is automatically converted to JPG.

I just checked photos on my library sent to me from iMessage from other iPhones - they are all JPG, even from phones that I know are set up as HEIF.

However, photos that were AirDropped to me from other phones were HEIF.


See also this, under “Sharing and converting this media.”


There it says “If sharing this media using other methods, such as AirDrop, Messages, or email, the media might might automatically be shared in a more compatible format, such as JPEG or H.264, depending on whether the receiving device supports the newer media format.”

So I guess since my MBP supports HEIC it just didn’t bother to convert to JPEG.

I guess I just need to decide if it’s worth keeping in HEIC and converting when necessary, or leaving it in compatible mode and using up extra space.

If the pic is already on your Monterey Mac, just right-click it > Quick Actions > Convert Image. Done.

If you are one of the lucky people who has purchased Graphic Converter, it will put a whole bunch of such converters under the Services menu ready to run only a single click away.

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Useful to know.

Still, if sharing multiple images with somebody it somehow seems that simply starting with a more universal format, like JPG, is easier overall. No?

Sure, HEIC is great in an all-Apple world where everybody is always on the latest and greatest from Apple. Of course outside of Apple marketing make-believe-land, the real world rarely works like that. If you exchange with the rest of that real world, JPG is easier no doubt. Give them 10 years and they’ll catch up. Of course by then Apple will be on some new bandwagon. But truthfully, it’s always been that way (just recall all the complaining about USB on the original iMac). Wash, rinse, repeat. :wink:

I don’t think that this was some evil Apple plot. While definitely one of the first to use HEIF, Apple didn’t invent it. This container formats are open standards that were developed by MPEG. Android since version 8 (2017) supports it. Windows 10 and later supports it with a free extension (though the extension for HEVC video requires a payment because of patent licensing, not due to Apple but to Nokia.)


Who said anything about “evil intent”? :confused:

Apple is charging ahead as they usually do. The rest of the world is slow to adopt change as they usually do. How much you choose to charge along yourself usually depends on who you exchange with most. Simple as pie. There is no conspiracy or “evil intent”.


The HEIF standard was finalized in 2015, and Apple and Android have used it since 2017 (though of course only Apple by default I believe). And regarding “evil Apple plot”, you did say:

Sure, HEIC is great in an all-Apple world where everybody is always on the latest and greatest from Apple. Of course outside of Apple marketing make-believe-land, the real world rarely works like that.

I was just pointing out that it’s oversimplifying to suggest that HEIF is simply the latest and greatest from Apple.

Perhaps what is surprising is that Chrome/Chromium, Firefox, and even Safari still don’t support HEIF natively.

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Again, nobody said it was. The point is that if you are not on the latest and greatest from Apple, chances are you will have trouble viewing a HEIC image. So if somebody primarily needs to exchange images with the rest of the world which is not usually 100% on the latest and greatest from Apple, chances are they will find it easier to not use the default HEIC.

And as you point out, not even being on the latest and greatest from Apple guarantees “it just works”: while Monterey Safari displays JPG just fine, if you link to a HEIC image instead, you get nada. And at this point that is rather inexcusable.

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I think it’s just arrogant and consumer unfriendly. Have your device encode a file designed for sharing in a manner that can’t be shared widely?

Just found this from another thread - free HEIC conversion utility from an apparently trustworthy dev whose mainline product isn’t HEIC conversion:


Here’s an entirely free, browser-based converter:


You can simply open a HEIC in Preview and Save As… and then pick a jpg. No third party software required (although, I’ll agree Graphic Converter is a great thing to have).

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Photoshop Elements 2021 (don’t know about any earlier versions) can also open HEIC files.

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