How to take JPEG photos on iPhone instead of HEIC (2022)

Thanks to its ability to save a lot of storage space without compromising image quality, HEIC (also known as HEIF) is the most efficient image format. As part of the smart storage management feature on your iPhone, HEIF has been the default image format since iOS 11. While no one can dispute the efficiency of HEIF, it still has a long way to go before it can surpass JPEG in compatibility terms. There are still many platforms that don’t support HEIF natively. That means you are forced to convert HEIF images to JPEG to make them work with any other software or hardware. So if you want to use a widely supported image format for a hassle-free experience, let me show you how to take JPEG photos on an iPhone instead of HEIC.

Save JPEG Photos Instead of HEIC on iPhone (2022)

Before going through the step-by-step process to take JPEG photos on iPhone, check out the difference between HEIC and JPEG image formats along with the disadvantages of choosing JPEG. Use the table below to jump directly to the guide.

What is HEIC and JPEG image format on iPhone?

When Apple decided to adopt the HEIF file format (introduced in 2015 by Moving Picture Experts Group/MPEG) with the release of iOS 11, the Cupertino giant coined the name HEIC. This is how HEIC became the variant of HEIF on iPhones.

As the first major adopter of the file format, Apple launched HEIC as an innovative feature for iOS users. Equipped with advanced and modern compression methods, HEIC can save images at smaller file sizes while maintaining higher image quality. Notably, HEIC images take up about half the space of a JPG file of equivalent quality. This means that you can store more images on your iPhone if you capture them in HEIC format.

Another thing that separates HEIC from other formats is the ability to store images encoded with various encoding formats, for example HDR and SDR photos.

Introduced in 1992, JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is the most commonly used format for compression and loss of digital images. It is capable of achieving 10:1 compression with little noticeable loss in image quality.

Despite being more efficient, HEIF has not yet been adopted by all major platforms. To prevent the incompatibility from getting in the way, iOS 15 automatically converts images stored in HEIC format to the older JPEG format. When transferring images from your iPhone to your Mac or Windows PC, be sure to change this setting. (Settings app -> Photos -> Transfer to Mac or PC -> Auto). The Mail app built into the iPhone also converts HEIC images to JPEGs before sending them to the recipient for greater compatibility.

JPEG image format defects to keep in mind

Compatibility aside, not everything about the JPEG image format shines. One of the pain points of choosing JPEG is that you are forced to record video in H.264 formatwhich is below par, to say the least.

Also, if you want to record a 4K video at 60 frames per second (FPS) or capture a slow motion 1080p video at 240 FPS, you need to switch to High Efficiency. It allows you to capture images in HEIC (High-Efficiency Image Format) format and video in HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding, also known as H.265) format, respectively.

In a nutshell, it all boils down to excellent efficiency versus unparalleled compatibility. As for which one you should choose, it entirely depends on your specific needs. That’s why Apple offers a pretty simple way to switch between the two on iOS.

Take JPEG photos instead of HEIC by default on iPhone

Please note that the steps are the same for current generation iOS 15 and previous generation versions of Apple’s operating system, including iOS 14 and iOS 13. So no matter what iOS version you are using, learn how to take JPEG photos instead of HEIC on iPhone here:

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone. After that, scroll down and open the “Camera” Definitions.

Choose camera in iOS settings

2. Now, select the “formats” option at the top.

How to take JPEG photos on iPhone instead of HEIC

3. You will then have two options to choose from:

  • High efficiency: Allows you to capture high-efficiency HEIF (image) and HEVC (video) format photos and videos.
  • More Compatible: It allows iPhone users to take JPEG photos and videos in H.264 format respectively.
Shoot images in JPEG format on iPhone

4. Select most compatible in the “Formats” settings, and you’re all set! In the future, your iPhone will always click images in JPEG or H.264 format (in the case of video) instead of HEIC (or HEVC). If you want to reverse your selection, repeat the same steps and choose “High Efficiency” as the format.

Set JPEG as the default image format on your iPhone

So that ends our guide on how to set JPEG as the default format for clicking photos on iPhone instead of HEIC. As I said above, you should choose it based on need, especially when compatibility is at the top of your mind. It would have been better if there was a way to set JPEG and HEVC as the default image and video format respectively. The freedom to choose the preferred format without being forced to choose compatibility or efficiency would be the best way forward. Take note, Apple! What do you think of the easy option to switch between JPEG and HEIC formats? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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