Why iPhone Photos Format SUCKS: The HEIC Support Problem

Why iPhone Photos Format SUCKS: The HEIC Support Problem


– Today’s video is gonna
be one part tech jargon, three parts photography, six parts iPhone, and the rest a rant, because, I’m a little
ticked off about something. Let’s get into it. (upbeat music) Hi, everyone, welcome to Pal2Tech. I have been recently testing out the new iPhone 11 Pro’s camera. The drool from all the YouTubers out there is dripping all the way down to China with how amazing that this phone is. And, so far, they’re right. This phone is an incredible camera. In September of 2017, when Apple released iOS version 11, and macOS High Sierra, they introduced their new HEIC file format for photos taken on their devices. Not only that, but HEIC
was turned on by default. So, users getting Apple
devices started shooting in that format whether
they wanted to or not. HEIC is the file format name
that Apple has gone with that is part HEIF standard, which is High Efficiency Image Format. Think of a JPEG but a lot more advanced. You get the same image quality, but with a smaller file size than you would with regular JPEGs. At the time it was
released, the tech industry, like they always do, were shouting from the mountain tops about how great this new format was and that Apple was leading the way, and there would soon be
widespread support for HEIC, because, you know, if
Apple does something, then everyone else is soon to follow. So, I came back from a
photo shoot recently, and I had decided to do
a majority of the shoot on the iPhone 11 Pro to,
you know, to test it out. I get back to my computer, which is a Mac by the way, and I open Photo Mechanic to start culling through my photos. I drag my iPhone 11 images
into Photo Mechanic, and this is what happens. This is because, by default, iPhone shoots and stores
photos in the HEIC format, which apparently Photo
Mechanic doesn’t support. So, I went to a Camera Bits support forum, that’s the makers of Photo Mechanic, and I saw this posting from one of their software
engineers over a year ago. And he laments that the
HEIF/HEIC are patent-encumbered and require licensing fees
for developers, et cetera. Now, Apple has said that iPhone users take more than a trillion
photographs each year, so clearly adding HEIC support to Photo Mechanic is a problem, or they would have
definitely done it by now. Instead, they’re just complaining in posts that they published to
Twitter’s media service. So far, no support yet. Here’s the thing, we’re in 2019, over two years since this format was set as default on Apple devices, and any photos that I take
on this phone won’t work, won’t show up, won’t display, and are not supported in a lot of places. They won’t work in Photo Mechanic. They won’t work in ImageOptim, another program that I use all the time. You know (laughs) it’s ironic. A lot of photographers love Squarespace, but if they try and drag and drop a photo to Squarespace, you know to update their photography website, this is the error message that they get. If you try and upload a photo
to your WordPress website, this is the error that you get. (buzzer sound) And you need to install yet another plugin to work around this issue. It gets worse. If you want your iPhone
photos to be published on the open World Wide Web, you know a little platform called the web, this is what they look like on a web page. (buzzer sound) As of today, not a single web browser will support HEIC, including
Apple’s own Safari web browser. A lot of users don’t
notice these problems, because Apple does a very
good job of masking this out. For example, if you’re
publishing your photography work to media companies like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using their own apps, the iPhone will automatically convert it to a JPEG before uploading the image. It’s only later on when you’re needing to step outside the walled garden of these media and tech companies that you realize how little support there is for HEIC. And, again, I say we are now two years into this format. Luckily, both Lightroom and Photoshop, at least, support it. So, there is hope for photographers. However, Apple does give you the option to shoot directly to JPEG instead of HEIC. Let me show you how to turn
that on, on your iPhone. Simply go into Settings, scroll down until you get to Camera, and in Camera simply go to Formats and tick off Most Compatible. That’s all you have to do, and from now on when
you’re shooting photos with your iPhone, they will be saved and done in JPEG format. And, frankly, that’s all I’m
gonna be doing from now on. No more HEIC until I see wider support, particularly on the World Wide Web. Now, I realize that is a catch-22 in that the more people
that start using HEIC, the more support, et cetera, will be offered, I get that. However, this should not be on the backs of photographers and users. Software companies like Camera Bits that sell Photo Mechanic for 139 bucks, need to start providing support for HEIC files before I’m
going to embrace that format. It’s as simple as that. It comes down to trust. I don’t trust HEIC yet. And until I see some real progress and widespread support on their part, I’m sticking with JPEG for now for all of my photography
on the iPhone Pro. What are your struggles
with the HEIC format, or do you have any? Is this even an issue for you at all? Or, is it just the ramblings of me? (laughs) Right? Let me know in the comments below. You know what? Love the web together, right? (laughs) Love the web together. Although, it’s probably the only T-shirt left in existence that says, you know, Windows Phone
on it (laughing) right? Actually, I wore this into an Apple store the other day, anyway. All right, so I’m all done with the rant. The rant is over. Let’s do the final last part, you know, which is addressing the elephant in the studio, okay, which is actually the
stormtrooper in the studio. And this is a YouTube first, for sure. Never before in the history of YouTube, in fact, never before in the history of published videos, published media, YouTube, the World Wide Web, HEIC format, anything, ever, nothing. Never before has there ever been a full-sized scale
stormtrooper costume, right? That I can… (bell dings) check my white balance. (laughs) He’s wearing
a white balance card. Yes. That’s the kind of channel this is. I will see you in a video,
maybe not next week. You know, what I’m noticing is I’ve been putting so much work into these YouTube videos,
which you know I love doing, but there’s been a side-effect lately that I’m not happy with. And that is, I’m spending
less time going through the videos that I’m shooting
of my kids and my family. And, I need to get back to that. I need to be spending
some time doing that. I got Halloween videos, I have trip, vacation videos and photos. I haven’t been going through them. They’re piling up. In JPEG and RAW format,
but they’re piling up on my computer, and they’re getting lost in the shuffle of my continual work that I’m doing on these YouTube videos. So, I’m gonna take some time out. I will see you, probably not next week, unless I can get it done in time. But, maybe the week after. So, in the meantime, have a great weekend. Let me know what you think about the video in the comments below. And, I will you see you
very soon in another video. Have a great weekend. Bye bye. (soft music)

25 thoughts on “Why iPhone Photos Format SUCKS: The HEIC Support Problem

  • November 1, 2019 at 4:29 pm
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    Anyone having issues with compatibility using HEIC file format photos in your workflow?

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 4:40 pm
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    This was super helpful for those with the trust issues!

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 4:41 pm
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    Family first !! Great help for me on this new format, Ive had some issues but just did realize the format problem. Again Thanks.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 4:58 pm
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    With most compatible, you can not shoot slow mo video.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 5:02 pm
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    Super great info! Thanks so much 🙏

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm
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    Great video thanks

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 6:44 pm
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    wow, you are so incredibly keen! I would have never realized this problem, mainly because I always use my X-T3, occasionally, I use my iPhone X for convenience and I only use Lightroom and Photoshop for post-processing. I only use Instagram., no Facebook. Again, wow, how keen are you! Love your content and so enjoy your upbeat humor and always look forward to your videos!

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 7:22 pm
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    First things I check to turn off with a new iPhone. HEIC is never going to be a thing with this bad support.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 9:19 pm
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    Valuable video thanks.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 10:06 pm
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    Cool video…..many thanks.

    Reply
  • November 2, 2019 at 3:27 am
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    Family first. Loyal subscribers will stick around. Quality supersedes quantity. Good video.

    Reply
  • November 2, 2019 at 11:21 am
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    Unfortunately some of the more advanced camera features (Deep Fusion and Capture outside the frame) are only available if you use the HEIC format.

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  • November 2, 2019 at 2:42 pm
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    As others have said; family first. We're here for the long haul and do appreciate that YouTube for some is not a 'job', but an outlet for sharing knowledge and opinions.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2019 at 10:19 pm
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    Hey chris, love your videos on the Fuji cameras, I recently(6 weeks ago) switched from my Canon DSLR over to Fuji, and I'm simply in-love with my new XT3 with 18-55mm & 50mm f2 lenses. Your videos are informative, and have helped ease me into the mirrorless Fuji world, thanks man! Just off-topic from the video, I did a wedding this past weekend, and experienced something very strange that nobody can answer, and it had me shook, because I am so confident in the XT3, that my last 4 paid shoots I didn't bother taking my old back-up camera with me. What happened was, after shooting the whole day, I got to the reception and when I half-pressed the shutter button to get focus(like I always do), there would be a black broad murky band was slowly rolling through my EVF and LCD everytime from top to bottom. I changed shutter modes, swapped lenses, took out my batteries from battery-grip and re-inserted it, removed the battery-grip, even removed the flash to try and see if it was any of these things that would've caused it, but it nothing helped. Luckily the images weren't affected, just some were out of focus, and the black band/line didn't appear in them. The shutter had a lag in it later on too, I was in mechanical shutter, and when I would press the shutter, there was a delay in the response with it taking the actual images. Has this every happened to you, or anybody on the forum?

    Reply
  • November 10, 2019 at 11:32 am
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    I’m a heavy iPhone Image creator and publish on Facebook groups and Instagram. Not until I joined a private photo sharing group in my local photography club, did encounter a problem. My photos that I brought to share would not load on the club’s computer software. I had to convert them to jpeg first. Thanks for you research and video. I will probably now convert my default iPhone X to jpeg only. 👍👍

    Reply
  • November 12, 2019 at 1:08 am
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    "The drool is dripping all the way down to China" lmao great video/rant

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  • November 15, 2019 at 7:15 pm
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    I didn't know this format existed until I was trying to send a pic in email and got one of those error messages. What I'm on the verge of blowing a gasket is that all my stored pictures on ICloud were converted to this format. I want to talk to someone at Apple and possibly sue them in court! Is there a way to mass convert my pictures on iCloud back to jpeg? Apple should have warned us and now THEY should give that option to convert back. You are correct, a lot of Window apps don't support it. And they are being asked to pay a licensing fee? The gall.AAAAhhhh!

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 3:14 pm
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    Kirk in Camera Bits has recently said – "We will add HEIC support in Photo Mechanic 6, but it will require macOS 10.13+ or Windows 10"  So, you can soon go back to your normal workflow.

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 8:27 pm
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    You are soooo correct about "TRUST". If I don't trust a system or device to do what it is initially designed to do, I don't buy it, or throw it away. My first priority for new purchases is Support.

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 5:31 pm
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    It works in Lightroom

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  • November 24, 2019 at 5:58 pm
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    Not an issue. I use Lightroom and every works fine. I look forward to exporting in HEIC to save space on my finished work. Maintain quality and maximize my storage space 👍🏾

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  • November 28, 2019 at 5:58 am
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    the Canon 1Dx mark 3 supports the new format!

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  • November 29, 2019 at 8:27 pm
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    wait are you saying that the dev and support should eat the cost? This is something i disagree with you completely; apple should be the responsible party to allow their users to freely use their intellectual property. This is probably the first time you disappointed me man. Why kiss apples ass and let them rule over how you can do anything, sheep.

    Reply
  • November 30, 2019 at 5:27 pm
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    Excellent concise teaching – thank you! I have subscribed and "smashed" the bell on your channel based on this video.

    Reply
  • December 7, 2019 at 6:27 pm
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    HEIF will never be supported in the web browsers. Nobody in their right mind wants to deal with a heavily patent encumbered format on the web. The idiotic and frustrating thing about HEIF support by Apple, software developers and camera manufacturers is that this is now actually the time that a replacement format for JPEG might actually be successful and it is CLEAR to anybody that a PATENT ENCUMBERED will NOT succeed on the web. But Apple in all their wisdom STILL started to promote and use one creating a big mess.

    The alternative that is starting to be rolled out is AVIF based on AV1 video codec from AOMedia consortium of which Apple is part of as a founding member! AV1 video codec is already supported by Edge, Chrome and Firefox (which is already better than HEVC) and support for AVIF will be added in the near future. With AVIF you don't need to deal with any kind of licensing as it is a patent unencumbered format and it is actually better than HEIF.

    The other very interesting alternative is JPEG XL. It is a purposely build still image codec (compared to both HEIF and AVIF, which use a video codec) and is tuned to avoid any kind of artefacts to provide a visually lossless compression with medium sized files, which is different to video codecs which are tuned to go as low as possible and artefacts are OK as long as they aren't visible in motion. This is why I think it's just perfect for cameras. Also it supports 16-bit per channel and more, which is something HEIF and AVIF don't (both are capped to 12-bits per channel). Another neat thing is also that JPEG is a subset of JPEG XL (it supports JPEG 8×8 blocks), so you can losslessly convert a JPEG to JPEG XL and get about 20% in reduction in size (because of better entropy coder) and such a image can also losslessly be converted back (not one that uses other JPEG XL features howeevr). JPEG XL will be ratified as a standard early next year.

    Reply

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