Camera/photos: option to use JPEG instead of HEIF?

VSG

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Aug 9, 2014
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Hi there!

I've been an avid Public Beta Tester for a year now and haven't regretted it, sending in dozens of reports.
Using iOS 11 as a daily driver scares me away. And in a big way.

Simply because I'm taking a lot of photos with my phone and enjoy doing so. Apple's announcement to shift from JPEG in photos to their proprietary HEIF-format is something that I find really troublesome.
Until now it was a real ease-of-use to just plug in your phone to your PC, access the camera folder and drag and drop all the photos you wanted to edit to the PC. What good is all that when you can't edit the photos anywhere else but with Apple's photos app?

Will there be an option to batch convert large amounts of photos in an export feature from Mac's Photos? What if you don't have a Mac? Will you have to share all the photos to yourself via e-mail just to get some watered down JPEG-files?

After all, HEIF is already a lossy format, converting it down to another lossy JPEG-file won't improve image-quality in any respect.

Since I have a big vacation coming up where I'll probably take hundreds of photos that will have to be edited afterwards (with apps other than Photos!), I'm unsure if I should install the public beta once it is out. Or to hold off of iOS 11 as long as humanly possible.

So my question to developers with the beta installed after all the exposition: is there an option in iOS 11 to stick with JPEG for taking photos?

Thanks in advance!
Best regards,
VSG

Ps: I'm curious to see how this "feature" turns out but I'm pretty sure Apple will get a lot of heat from a lot of people who take photos with their iPhones. Sticking with a file format that will turn any option of editing a picture on something else than Apple's set of apps to edit (in the end) a lossy convert (JPEG) of a lossy convert (HEIF) of a picture (RAW) is really a downer.
 

VSG

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Original poster
Aug 9, 2014
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I found this on Twitter:

Edit: I can also confirm iPhone 6s doesn't even have that option, so HEVC/HEIF seems to be an iPhone 7 exclusive (I don't know about the new iPad Pros)
Thanks for the info and the clarification!

That is good news indeed. :)

Now I'm actually pumped to see what the beta has in store.
Best regards!
 
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T'hain Esh Kelch

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Should we expect HEIF to become a wide standard in the years to come? I can't find much information about the expected adoption of the format.
 
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VSG

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HEIF is not proprietary, and it is not Apple's
You are totally right. My comment wasn't well informed in that regard. My bad. I found out afterwards that HEIF is an official standard. Although in Apple's keynote I got the idea they said it was their format.

Should we expect HEIF to become a wide standard in the years to come?
I honestly don't think so. I actually couldn't find any info about any photo editing software that was able to edit those pictures. At least none that was easily affordable.

I don't even know if well known photo-apps are even able to open them. (XnView, IrfanView or GIMP, just to name a few.) at least I couldn't find any info regarding their support for the format.
 
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T'hain Esh Kelch

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I don't even know if well known photo-apps are even able to open them. (XnView, IrfanView or GIMP, just to name a few.) at least I couldn't find any info regarding their support for the format.
Well, if there is no OS level support for a format, I doubt it will get far. Now that macOS and iOS supports it, it may actually be quite different. Of course, Windows would also need to support it for it to catch on in any way..
 
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VSG

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Well, if there is no OS level support for a format, I doubt it will get far.
That's my point. Add the internet in general to that. Unless all browsers on the market support the format, it won't get anywhere. How many photos are taken and shared on the web? If not everyone can see them (or a conversion has to happen every time), it won't catch on.

Same thing about the "end of MP3" I've been reading about since the patents have expired. I can't see MP3 go anywhere soon.
Yes, in terms of quality AAC is superior but that format hasn't caught on outside of the Apple ecosystem, either.

In tech it's rarely about best in terms of quality. More often than not it is about being the easiest to use and the most compatible.

I'm skeptical about the future of HEIF. Apple needs to be willing to go an even longer extra mile to make it stick.
 
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Ritsuka

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That's my point. Add the internet in general to that. Unless all browsers on the market support the format, it won't get anywhere. How many photos are taken and shared on the web? If not everyone can see them (or a conversion has to happen every time), it won't catch on.

Same thing about the "end of MP3" I've been reading about since the patents have expired. I can't see MP3 go anywhere soon.
Yes, in terms of quality AAC is superior but that format hasn't caught on outside of the Apple ecosystem, either.

In tech it's rarely about best in terms of quality. More often than not it is about being the easiest to use and the most compatible.

I'm skeptical about the future of HEIF. Apple needs to be willing to go an even longer extra mile to make it stick.
AAC is everywhere, if you ever played a video from youtube, it's H.264 with AAC audio (or VP9 and Opus if your browser support it). So saying that AAC hasn't caught on outside of Apple is a bit wrong.
 
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LordQ

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Really? iPhone 7 only? That sucks, the 6s is more than capable to handle this...
 
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VSG

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AAC is everywhere, if you ever played a video from youtube, it's H.264 with AAC audio (or VP9 and Opus if your browser support it). So saying that AAC hasn't caught on outside of Apple is a bit wrong.
Yes, it is present in that regard but I was referring to AAC in digital music only. And there it is not nearly as present as one would think considering the advantages of the format.
 
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Paradoxally

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Yes, it is present in that regard but I was referring to AAC in digital music only. And there it is not nearly as present as one would think considering the advantages of the format.
Still, the public is shifting away from MP3.

Spotify hasn't used MP3 for years now (they use OGG Vorbis) and Apple Music is exclusively AAC.

The streaming era means people care less and less about which format their music is in. MP3 is a relic from LimeWire and iPod times.
 
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dany20mh

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I don't even know if well known photo-apps are even able to open them. (XnView, IrfanView or GIMP, just to name a few.) at least I couldn't find any info regarding their support for the format.
So I took a picture with that option enabled and the picture save with format if HEIF and I could open it in SnapSeed app which hasn't updated for this or I haven't seen any update for it, and I edit the picture and it saved it back again in HEIF (I choose to make a new copy).
 
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j-a-x

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I noticed that using HEIF on my iphone under iOS11 is pretty transparent. I can still edit the files in my favorite app and I can still send them out to people (they send as jpeg). So far the only time I've come across an issue is the Mac OS X version of Photos (Sierra) can't read the HEIF files that sync to my iCloud Photo Library aside form a preview. So I guess I'll need to upgrade to High Sierra to work with HEIF files on my Mac.

I am wondering about image quality. If I start shooting exclusively in HEIF on my iPhone, will the quality be any different from what I'm used to with JPEGs? I can't decide if this is the future of digital photography or a bad decision in the long run.
 
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Ries

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I noticed that using HEIF on my iphone under iOS11 is pretty transparent. I can still edit the files in my favorite app and I can still send them out to people (they send as jpeg). So far the only time I've come across an issue is the Mac OS X version of Photos (Sierra) can't read the HEIF files that sync to my iCloud Photo Library aside form a preview. So I guess I'll need to upgrade to High Sierra to work with HEIF files on my Mac.

I am wondering about image quality. If I start shooting exclusively in HEIF on my iPhone, will the quality be any different from what I'm used to with JPEGs? I can't decide if this is the future of digital photography or a bad decision in the long run.
HEIF seems to be a lot better at same file size. I wish apple would let us choose to optimise size vs quality.

http://nokiatech.github.io/heif/comparison.html
 
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firewire9000

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Sep 15, 2015
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I noticed that using HEIF on my iphone under iOS11 is pretty transparent. I can still edit the files in my favorite app and I can still send them out to people (they send as jpeg). So far the only time I've come across an issue is the Mac OS X version of Photos (Sierra) can't read the HEIF files that sync to my iCloud Photo Library aside form a preview. So I guess I'll need to upgrade to High Sierra to work with HEIF files on my Mac.

I am wondering about image quality. If I start shooting exclusively in HEIF on my iPhone, will the quality be any different from what I'm used to with JPEGs? I can't decide if this is the future of digital photography or a bad decision in the long run.
I’m wondering the same.
 
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iSearch

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Dec 27, 2015
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It was mentioned in the WWDC Platforms State of the Union that photos and videos would be automatically transcoded to JPG and H264 when they are transferred to devices that don't support HEIF and HEVC. It's actually really cool.

 
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j-a-x

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It was mentioned in the WWDC Platforms State of the Union that photos and videos would be automatically transcoded to JPG and H264 when they are transferred to devices that don't support HEIF and HEVC. It's actually really cool.

Does that mean if I iMessage a photo to a fellow iOS 11 user that it’ll be a HEIF file?
 
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iSearch

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Dec 27, 2015
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Does that mean if I iMessage a photo to a fellow iOS 11 user that it’ll be a HEIF file?
Based on what I've gathered from the WWDC Introducing HEIF and HEVC keynote, it depends on whether or not the receiving device is able to read HEIF files. So, if you send an image from a supported device to another supported device, the sending device will evaluate the capabilities of the receiving device to determine if it should send it as HEIF or transcode it to JPG.
 
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j-a-x

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Based on what I've gathered from the WWDC Introducing HEIF and HEVC keynote, it depends on whether or not the receiving device is able to read HEIF files. So, if you send an image from a supported device to another supported device, the sending device will evaluate the capabilities of the receiving device to determine if it should send it as HEIF or transcode it to JPG.
Cool!
 
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firewire9000

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Based on what I've gathered from the WWDC Introducing HEIF and HEVC keynote, it depends on whether or not the receiving device is able to read HEIF files. So, if you send an image from a supported device to another supported device, the sending device will evaluate the capabilities of the receiving device to determine if it should send it as HEIF or transcode it to JPG.
Cool, so smart.
 
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VSG

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Based on what I've gathered from the WWDC Introducing HEIF and HEVC keynote, it depends on whether or not the receiving device is able to read HEIF files. So, if you send an image from a supported device to another supported device, the sending device will evaluate the capabilities of the receiving device to determine if it should send it as HEIF or transcode it to JPG.
I don't think that is how it works
They said in the keynote that the file will be automatically transcoded once you share it and that has to include iMessage as well.
Because how should your phone determine when sending the picture what version of iOS the recipient has?

And more importantly what if that recipient has an iPhone running iOS 11 but an iPad 4th gen. running iOS 10? Would there then be two files sent?
Same goes for adding the photo to photo streams that don't support HEIF.
Once you share it is converted. Otherwise it would be a real mess, in my opinion.
 
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j-a-x

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I don't think that is how it works
They said in the keynote that the file will be automatically transcoded once you share it and that has to include iMessage as well.
Because how should your phone determine when sending the picture what version of iOS the recipient has?

And more importantly what if that recipient has an iPhone running iOS 11 but an iPad 4th gen. running iOS 10? Would there then be two files sent?
Same goes for adding the photo to photo streams that don't support HEIF.
Once you share it is converted. Otherwise it would be a real mess, in my opinion.
Hm so you think every share is a jpeg regardless? Anyone with iOS 11 want to share their phone number with me so we can try?
 
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