Using HEIF or HEVC media on Apple devices

Upgrade to iOS 11 or later or macOS High Sierra or later to view, edit, or duplicate HEIF or HEVC media captured with an iOS device.

iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra introduced support for these new, industry-standard media formats:

  • HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) for photos
  • HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), also known as H.265, for videos

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

To fully view, edit, or duplicate HEIF and HEVC media on your device, upgrade to the latest version of iOS 11 or later or macOS High Sierra or later.

Capturing this media

When using iOS 11 or later, these devices can capture media in HEIF or HEVC format:

Other devices using iOS 11 or later or macOS High Sierra or later can view, edit, or duplicate HEIF and HEVC media, with some limitations.

Though capturing in HEIF and HEVC format is recommended, you can set these devices to capture media using older formats that are more broadly compatible with other operating systems and devices:

  1. In iOS 11, go to Settings > Camera.
  2. Tap Formats.
  3. Tap Most Compatible. This setting is available only on devices that can capture media in HEIF or HEVC format.
  4. All new photos and videos will now use JPEG or H.264 format. To return to using the space-saving HEIF and HEVC formats, choose High Efficiency.

Working with this media

Support for HEIF and HEVC is built into iOS 11 or later and macOS High Sierra or later, letting you view, edit, or duplicate this media in a variety of apps, including Photos, iMovie, and QuickTime Player.

On some older devices, support for HEVC is also affected by the resolution and frame rate (fps) of the video. Resolutions of 1080p or lower and frame rates of 60 fps or lower are more broadly compatible with older devices. You can go to Settings > Camera on your capture device to change the resolution and frame rate it uses for recording video.

If you're using iCloud Photo Library with iOS 10 or macOS Sierra, you might see a warning icon in the upper-right corner of the photo or video, or you might see an alert message. To fully view, edit, or duplicate HEIF and HEVC media on your device, upgrade to iOS 11 or later or macOS High Sierra or later.

Sharing this media

iCloud Photo Library preserves media in its original format, resolution, and frame rate. If your device can't fully view, edit, or duplicate HEIF or HEVC media in your iCloud Photo Library, or displays it at a lower resolution, upgrade to iOS 11 or later or macOS High Sierra or later.

When you share media using other methods, such as AirDrop, Messages, or email, it's shared in a more compatible format, such as JPEG or H.264.

Importing this media via USB

When you import HEIF or HEVC media from an attached iOS device to Photos, Image Capture, or a PC, the media might be converted to JPEG or H.264.

You can change this import behavior in iOS 11 or later. Go to Settings > Photos. In the TRANSFER TO MAC OR PC section, tap Keep Originals to prevent the media from being converted when importing.

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