Using HEIF or HEVC media on Apple devices

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

iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra include 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.

Capturing this media

When using iOS 11, the following devices can capture media in HEIF or HEVC format:

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

Though capturing in HEIF and HEVC format is recommended, you can 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 and macOS High Sierra, letting you work with this media in a variety of apps, including Photos and QuickTime Player.

On some older devices, support for HEVC is also affected by the resolution and frame rate (fps) of the video:

  • iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Air 2 work with HEVC video that was captured at no greater than 1080p/240 fps.
  • iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini (Retina models) work with HEVC video that was captured at no greater than 1080p/60 fps or 720p/240 fps.
  • Mac models from mid 2015 or earlier work with HEVC video that was captured at no greater than 1080p/240 fps.

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 macOS High Sierra.

Sharing this media

iCloud Photo Library preserves media in its original format, resolution, and frame rate. Upgrade to iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra 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.

When you share HEIF or HEVC 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. 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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