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HEIC vs HEIF vs HEVC vs JPEG

Updated: 2022-02-04

HEIC vs HEIF vs HEVC

TL;DR: HEVC is the encoding format; HEIF is a container that can use different encoding format; HEIC is HEIF using HEVC as the encoding format.

  • HEVC: High Efficiency Video Coding (a.k.a. H.265) is an encoding format for graphic data, first standardized in 2013. (BEFORE HEIF!) It is the primarily used and implied default codec for HEIF.
  • HEIF: a container format, it can contain still images and image sequences that are coded in different formats. HEIF it was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG); Introduced in 2015, adopted by Apple in 2017. (Another example: HEIF using Advanced Video Coding, a.k.a. AVC or H.264, as codec is called AVCI)
  • HEIC = HEIF using HEVC as codec (NOT an an Apple invention)

Apple uses the .heic file extension. For HEVC-encoded video content, Apple continues to use the .mov file extension.

Comparing to JPEG / H.264

HEIF and HEVC offer better compression than JPEG and H.264, so they use less storage space while preserving the same visual quality.

To choose between formats on iOS

There are actually 2 different settings that may affect the format you see after you transfer your photos / videos to your computer.

Capture Format

Settings -> Camera -> Formats -> CAMERA CAPTURE

  • High Efficiency: capture photos and videos in the high efficiency HEIF/HEVC foramt.
  • Most Compatible: use JPEG / H.264.

Transfer Format

Settings -> Photos -> TRANSFER TO MAC OR PC

  • Select Automatic to transfer photos and videos in a compatible format (JPEG).
  • Select Keep Originals to transfer the original file.