Transferring photos to mac from


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 6, 2007
I have Automatic checked under Transfer to mac or pc under photos settings.

Photos are still being transferred as HEIC & not jpeg.

I do have High Efficiency checked under Format under Camera settings. But if I choose Most Compatible, this decreases slow mo & video recording quality.

So i think the issue is Transfer To Mac not working correctly.

I think apple wants to store HEIC on device bc they are smaller in size.
And transfer to my mac as jpegs.

But its not working like that now.

This only started a couple weeks ago, when started transferring photos as zip files instead of individual files.

Prior, all my photos transferred as jpegs, for years, always.

Anybody else dealing with this?


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 6, 2007
Contacted Apple support.
Looks to be a bug.
With I think
No solution yet.

Recommended using Mail Drop to transfer in the meantime.


macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
There is a couple different things going on here.

Transfer to Mac or PC in the Photo settings is for a direct USB import. Its actually difficult to MANUALLY get HEIC and HEVC onto a Mac that doesn't have the proper hardware directly from an iPhone. And the way to do it would be set Transfer to Mac to Keep Original, plug it in via USB and import (preferably using image capture to help retain HEIC when exporting/editing).

For it to AUTOMATICALLY happen its easy though. In the Photos apps preferences on the Mac set "Download Originals to this Mac". As you populate your iCloud Photos Library with HEIC and HEVC files the Mac will download them.

iCloud Photos has always been an extension of your phones storage retaining a bit for bit copy of the original file. You might be thinking of "My Photostream" that is otherwise dead because it manipulates the image and reduces quality.

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 10.06.20 AM.png

Its easy for you to check for yourself, on your Mac in the Photos app goto screenshots, pick an old one that was captured on an iOS device and click the "i" and look to see if it was converted from the PNG extension it was originally captured in. Here is one of mine from 2012.

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 10.12.20 AM.png

You are kind of at an impasse though. Your options are, get a Mac that has the hardware to decode modern video formats natively, take photos and videos in a format your Mac supports or edit them individually from the cloud to meet your Macs specs (transcode HEVC to h264 and export HEIC to JPG).

Aside from the higher FPS slo mo and 4k I wouldn't worry about image quality. Honestly since you don't have a Mac that can deal with higher end HEVC why even bother with it at all?

Apples HEIC is hit and miss when compared to there JPG imo. They maximized compression for minimal file size by setting the bar at the quality of their current JPG. Its not uncommon to see side by side images (TAKEN AND ENCODED WITH AN IPHONE) that the JPG looks better. I do think its better but mostly due to the file size. You can always use a 3rd party camera app so you can capture images RAW or a lossless compression format.


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 6, 2007
But i was able to transfer as jpg like two weeks ago.

Something changed within the past two weeks.

Apple support was having the sane issue, on new hardware.
They couldn’t transfer as jpg.

I now understand transfer to mac/pc setting is for hardwire transfers.
[doublepost=1554066552][/doublepost]And i think its best to always shoot video in highest quality format. For future use. And to get what you pay for.
And for uploading to internet.

I don’t think we should’ve be forced to reduce video quality in order to shoot in heic.

But when they solve the heic to jpg issue, this won’t be a problem.
[doublepost=1554066877][/doublepost]And an easy alternative would be to use maildrop to email a bunch of photos to myself.

But maildrop is not working for me.

Constantly fails. Thinks its sending regular email so im getting size limitation error.

Even though maildrop is 5gb max.

I just want to transfer photos as jpg to my laptop via And record in the highest quality video.

Which i was able to do forever, until 2 weeks ago.