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scouser75

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2008
2,737
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Hi guys,

I have a bit of a major issue! I'm trying to import pictures from my iPhone to the Photos app on my Mac but am getting the following error message: The following file could not be imported (they may be an unrecognised file type or the files may not hold valid data).

I have a Mac Pro running El Capitan but this has not been an issue in the past, in fact only 3 weeks ago I imported hundreds of pictures.

Is there a fix for this issue?
 

scouser75

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2008
2,737
553
Unfortunately I have it set to HEIC. But I've imported pictures with this setting previously.

I've tried switching the phone off and on again but that didn't work.

Something somewhere has gone wrong.
 

scouser75

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2008
2,737
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That's really odd because only a few weeks ago I imported heaps and heaps of pictures. Confused!

So, if I email these pictures to myself and then drag and drop them to the photos app, will I lose any picture quality?
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,468
330
That's really odd because only a few weeks ago I imported heaps and heaps of pictures. Confused!

So, if I email these pictures to myself and then drag and drop them to the photos app, will I lose any picture quality?
Perhaps you have an application that can convert them, and didn't realize it was doing that.

But you can copy them to the Files app on the iPhone and I think that will convert them. Then import into Photos on the Mac.
 
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scouser75

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2008
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Thanks Rob. Will give that a try. But will it affect the quality of the picture? Will the same quality be importer to photos app? Also can I just email the pics to myself? And then import?
 

scouser75

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2008
2,737
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Thanks Rob. Will give that a try. But will it affect the quality of the picture? Will the same quality be importer to photos app? Also can I just email the pics to myself? And then import?
Sorry to ask this question again - if I email the heif pictures to myself and then drag them.into photos, will they keep the same quality?
 

r.harris1

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2012
2,190
12,628
Denver, Colorado, USA
Sorry to ask this question again - if I email the heif pictures to myself and then drag them.into photos, will they keep the same quality?
I agree with @OldMacs4Me, try it and see. In theory, converting to JPEG gives you slightly less flexibility and somewhat less headroom in some cases. In reality, it's not likely you'll be able to tell a huge difference except perhaps file size. The challenge with HEIF/HEIC is that not everyone supports this format yet. For example, I can't get an HEIF image to post to this site, or couldn't last time I tried. This also includes (in your case) legacy OSs like El Capitan. If you're staying on El Capitan, you'll not have a real choice but to do the conversion, I think, so whether it loses quality is sort of a moot point :). Maybe there's a specialty app that focuses on the quality of the conversion from HEIF to JPEG, I don't know (or even how possible it is).

It may be worth (if staying on El Cap) to change your phone to saving in JPEG:

To set your Apple devices to take photos in JPEG/JPG instead of HEIC (gratuitously stolen from internet):
  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap Camera.
  • Tap Formats.
  • Tap Most Compatible.
 
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kenoh

macrumors demi-god
Jul 18, 2008
6,506
10,850
Glasgow, UK
Sorry to ask this question again - if I email the heif pictures to myself and then drag them.into photos, will they keep the same quality?
So converting them from HEIF to JPG changes the compression algorithm you are using to represent the image. HEIF in itself is a better quality format than JPEG in terms of retention of detail (most often detectable in the shadows) JPEG is weak in shadow detail retention. SO in absolute terms, yes quality will degrade as JPG theoretically will throwaway more detail from what has already been thrown away by the RAW to HEIF conversion at the time of capture.

BUT....

The question is whether you will even notice. That depends on the image, the reason it was taken and how much you want to retain the absolute best possible image quality. If I had to put it into a number to try and communicate it I would say that if the HEIF was 100% quality, the JPEG will be 95% as good.

If you email them to yourself in HEIF they will be in HEIF format when arriving on your computer and your computer will still not be able to read them. If you drag and drop them into Photos, is photos doing a conversion to JPEG as part of the import? in which case the above applies.

If you are not intending to move to a newer OS than El Cap, then I would set your iphone to capture either in raw (better for future proofing but you need to edit all images to get the best from them) or JPEG - unless you are printing A3 or bigger I doubt you will see any difference at all.

It is a bit subjective and personal preference so best to try it out yourself and see what works best for you. For the stuff I take on my phone, JPG is plenty good enough but you may feel different.

Also, remember all of this is a bit of a case of relative vs absolute in that "A Ferrari F550 is faster than a Porsche Cayman" this may relatively be the case. However in absolute terms either of them would be quick enough for 99% of the population because of all the other factors like congestion on the roads and speed limits. In which case a test drive is your best bet to see what you like best.
 
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scouser75

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2008
2,737
553
I agree with @OldMacs4Me, try it and see. In theory, converting to JPEG gives you slightly less flexibility and somewhat less headroom in some cases. In reality, it's not likely you'll be able to tell a huge difference except perhaps file size. The challenge with HEIF/HEIC is that not everyone supports this format yet. For example, I can't get an HEIF image to post to this site, or couldn't last time I tried. This also includes (in your case) legacy OSs like El Capitan. If you're staying on El Capitan, you'll not have a real choice but to do the conversion, I think, so whether it loses quality is sort of a moot point :). Maybe there's a specialty app that focuses on the quality of the conversion from HEIF to JPEG, I don't know (or even how possible it is).

It may be worth (if staying on El Cap) to change your phone to saving in JPEG:

To set your Apple devices to take photos in JPEG/JPG instead of HEIC (gratuitously stolen from internet):
  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap Camera.
  • Tap Formats.
  • Tap Most Compatible.
Thank you for such a top reply r.harris1. I'm going to be upgrading soon as the new macbook pros are released. I'll then go and pick up an older mode as they'll have dropped in price. But till then, I've chosen to save as jpeg.
 
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scouser75

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2008
2,737
553
So converting them from HEIF to JPG changes the compression algorithm you are using to represent the image. HEIF in itself is a better quality format than JPEG in terms of retention of detail (most often detectable in the shadows) JPEG is weak in shadow detail retention. SO in absolute terms, yes quality will degrade as JPG theoretically will throwaway more detail from what has already been thrown away by the RAW to HEIF conversion at the time of capture.

BUT....

The question is whether you will even notice. That depends on the image, the reason it was taken and how much you want to retain the absolute best possible image quality. If I had to put it into a number to try and communicate it I would say that if the HEIF was 100% quality, the JPEG will be 95% as good.

If you email them to yourself in HEIF they will be in HEIF format when arriving on your computer and your computer will still not be able to read them. If you drag and drop them into Photos, is photos doing a conversion to JPEG as part of the import? in which case the above applies.

If you are not intending to move to a newer OS than El Cap, then I would set your iphone to capture either in raw (better for future proofing but you need to edit all images to get the best from them) or JPEG - unless you are printing A3 or bigger I doubt you will see any difference at all.

It is a bit subjective and personal preference so best to try it out yourself and see what works best for you. For the stuff I take on my phone, JPG is plenty good enough but you may feel different.

Also, remember all of this is a bit of a case of relative vs absolute in that "A Ferrari F550 is faster than a Porsche Cayman" this may relatively be the case. However in absolute terms either of them would be quick enough for 99% of the population because of all the other factors like congestion on the roads and speed limits. In which case a test drive is your best bet to see what you like best.
Thank you for another brilliant and helpful reply. Sorry I totally missed it first time round.

I think I'll use robgendreau's method of dropping them into Files and then into Photos.
 
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scouser75

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2008
2,737
553
I finally had a chance to move the heif pictures to iCloud and then tried to move them to photos… It didn’t work. I’m now going to find a converter to create JPEG’s for the pictures.

I have an old version of photoshop so tried that but no luck there either.
 

r.harris1

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2012
2,190
12,628
Denver, Colorado, USA
I finally had a chance to move the heif pictures to iCloud and then tried to move them to photos… It didn’t work. I’m now going to find a converter to create JPEG’s for the pictures.

I have an old version of photoshop so tried that but no luck there either.
Alas, it doesn't seem to want to work doing "save to files" at least for me and I thought it would for some reason. It does work if you "copy photos" and paste to a location in the files app. (So Photos app: select all the images you want to try and convert, choose a "share" action of "copy photos", open "Files" app and chose a location and long press to paste...). I don't know how many HEIF images you can copy in one go and don't know how tedious that would be for you. Probably quite tedious :).
 
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