HEIF: iOS 11’s new Image Format on iPhone & iPad

HEIF: iOS 11's new Image Format on iPhone & iPad

The arrival of iOS 11 and High Sierra to Apple devices have brought many changes and one of them is the introduction of the HEIF image format.

This new format comes with the intention to completely replace the obsolete JPEG and offer a series of very important advantages that we will see next.

Key benefits of the new iPhone and iPad HEIF format on iOS 11

The first thing that stands out from the HEIF format is that it is not simply an image file, but is a container that can store different contents. Thanks to this in this format it is possible to save image sequences, image editing information, etc.

As you will be imagining the format is perfect to store the iOS Live Photos and also so that when we edit a photo (whether applying a filter, making a cut, changing the orientation) changes are reversible at all times and not the original information is destroyed.

HEIF: iOS 11's new Image Format on iPhone & iPad

Another strength of HEIF is that it offers support for 16-bit colors, compared to 8-bit JPEG. In addition, all this achieves a much better compression than the format we have been using so far, which translates to less space occupied in the memory of devices (in general a HEIF occupies half that same image in JPEG).

One of the main reasons why the HEIF format has not been used so far is that the compression it offers needs enough computing power. The processors of smartphones were short for working with files of this type in real time (especially to encode them, that is, to generate them from a photo made from the device itself). This is something that has already been overcome and today there is no problem to work with them, even Apple has integrated hardware compatibility with this format so that working with them is the same as working with a JPEG at a glance (from the processor A10 Fusion).

iOS 11's new HEIF image format

We can not assure that HEIF will replace the JPEG as a “standard” for photo and the GIF as a sequence of images in a short period of time, but it will certainly get a big boost thanks to Apple’s support and surely other developers will start offering it native form in their operating systems and apps.

iPhone, iPad, and Mac compatible with HEIF Image Format in ios 11

As I said before, the HEIF format requires that the devices be compatible. In the case of iPhone, iPad and Mac all can read this format provided they have installed iOS 11 or High Sierra, but only some can create them.

The devices compatible with the files HEIF according to Apple are:

  • iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X.
  • iPad Pro of 2017 (10.5 and 12.9 inches).
  • Mac computers with Intel Core Six-Generation processors.

Of course, the above-mentioned devices that the company launches also will be compatible with the HEIF format unless for any reason Apple decides that it is time to change strategy and use another format; something that does not seem too likely.


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