Understanding the Difference Between JPEG, JPG, and HEIF Image Formats

jpeg vs. HEIF format on the iphone


Last week while at High Point Market I gave five different smartphone photography talks. In every single presentation someone raised their hand and said they were having problems emailing, sharing and/or opening photos.

 I asked if the photos were HEIF format and in every single case, they were. So let's solve this issue that so many of you iphone users seem to have.

 What is JPEG, JPG, and HEIF?

  JPEG, JPG, and HEIF all refer to image file formats. Without getting too technical, an image file format is simply how your computer or smartphone saves the visual information as a file, which affects the quality, size, and compatibility of your images.


JPEG and JPG - Universally Accepted Formats

Let's start with JPEG and JPG. There's actually no difference between JPEG and JPG. Both files refer to the same type of file format, which stands for "Joint Photographic Experts Group." This group created the standard for this particular type of compressed image file, which is why you will often see photos saved with these extensions.

So why is there a choice between "jpeg" and "jpg"? The answer primarily depends on the operating system or personal preference. Whether your image is saved as a JPEG or JPG, it's the same thing, and it's universally accepted across different platforms and devices. If you're having issues with others being able to open your images, then you are going to want to use JPEG or JPG file format.

HEIF - The High Efficient Alternative

Now, let's talk about HEIF, which stands for High Efficiency Image Format. Unlike JPEG/JPG, HEIF is a different beast. It's a compressed file format designed to store images and image sequences in a more efficient way compared to traditional formats like JPEG. This means that HEIF files can often offer higher quality images at smaller file sizes, which is a big deal if you're working with a lot of photos.

However, there's a catch. HEIF is primarily supported by iOS and Mac operating systems,so HEIF files can be challenging to open on other platforms. If you're sharing your photos with a wide range of people, or if you're using a non-Apple device, you're likely run into compatibility issues with HEIF.

Switching from HEIF to JPEG

If your phone is shooting in HEIF and you're having issues with compatibility, don't worry; there's an easy fix. You can switch your iphone to capture images in JPEG by following the steps below.

Go to Settings-Camera-Formats and click on "Most compatible."

This change ensures that your photos are saved in the widely accepted jpeg/jpg format, which should solve any problems emailing or sharing your photos.

While JPEG, JPG, and HEIF may seem like just random letters, they play an important role in how we capture, save, and share our photos. Knowing the difference between these formats and when to use each can help you get the most out of your digital photography. So, next time you're snapping away, take a moment to consider in what format you're saving those precious memories.

Want more education on mastering your iphone? check out this post "What the heck is Raw format and when should I use it?"