Convert JPEG to Space-Saving HEIF/HEIC: 9 Things You Don't Know

By Rico Rodriguez to HEIF, Photo Transfer | Last Updated on Dec 6, 2023

Hi, does anyone have an idea of how I convert my existing jpeg photo library to the new HEIF format please? - Apple Discussion Forum

Apple is adopting the JPEG-killing HEIF format in the latest iOS 17 and macOS High Sierra. Newer iPhones, iPads and Macs begin to switch photos from JPEG to HEIF format to save space. And demand for converting JPEGs to HEIF files for the purpose of better quality and dramatically smaller file size keeps rising. Before we share the apps or online tools to free convert JPEG to HEIF/HEIC format, we are going to show you the approvals and disapprovals about JPEG to HEIF conversion - something you never know before.

convert JPEG to HEIC

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The Approvals of Converting JPEG to HEIF/HEIC

1. Save space: HEIF and HEVC are industry standards that have better compression ratio than JPEG and H.264 (see H.265 vs H.264). This means the photos, after converting from JPEG to HEIF, are half the size of the originals, thus storing twice as many pictures on your devices or iCloud photo library. That is a gospel for users of space constrained devices.

2. High quality: Because the image compression of HEIC is much better than that of JPEG born in 1992, you will got better quality at the fixed file size or bandwidth after the conversion from JPEG to HEIF.

3. Store more data: HEIF can be not only the same single image as JPEG also be a sequence of images, handing images in 16-bit and storing individual images, properties, thumbnails, image subsequences, EXIF, XMP and similar metadata. Converting JPEG to HEIF will be perfect for Apple's Live Photos, without ugly banding across a blue sky. Digital cameras and phones can use HEIF to achieve single-file packaging of burst photos and cinemagraph animation, which can be shared easily.

4. Good for editing: HEIF features the abilities to crop and change orientation without re-encoding the images. Its framework for non-destructive editing operations can be used by image editors so that the editing instructions are kept in the same file as the original.

5. Rosy future: Apple attempts to end JPEG's 25-year reign with HEIF because it uses HEIF for compressed photo capture by default for the first time. It probably will usurp JPEG because of the massive iOS user base. At the same time, web pages and connected applications start using HEIF to reduce the web page and image content download times. So we are confident in the trendy switching from JPEG to HEIF.

HEIC and HEVC related guides: HEIC converter, HEVC player, HEVC converter, convert HEVC to MP4, Handbrake HEVC encoding

The Disapprovals of Converting JPEG to HEIF

1. Bad compatibility: It's a little hazardous when it comes to open and view HEIF photos on older Macs or iPhones, if you are users of iOS 17 or lower, macOS Sierra or lower, let alone Windows and Android. Below are HEIF supported devices:
iPhone:iPhoneS/6 (Plus), iPhone SE, iPhone 5S.
iPad: All iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad Air/2, iPad Mini 4/3/2.
iPod: iPod touch (6th generation).
Mac: Macbook late 2009 or newer, Macbook Pro mid 2010 or newer, Macbook Air late 2010 or newer, iMac late 2009 or newer, iMac Pro mid 2010 or newer, Mac mini mid 2010 or newer.
Worse still, photo editing apps like Photoshop still have no plan for HEIC support. Realizing JPEG is still the mainstream image format, Apple builds in a mechanism to auto convert HEIC to JPG for easier sharing and playing (e.g. send HEIC through email, share to Android devices).

2. HEIF converters are immature: There are some free tools available to deal with HEIF and HEVC easily and convert one format to another, such as JPG to HEIC. But the results are unsatisfactory.
For example, Handbrake claims to support converting H264 to H265, it works but it won't open in QuickTime or Photos app cannot take the EXIF data.
While converting JPEG to HEIF wouldn't make any better result. On the one hand, original EXIF data cannot be transferred to the new HEIC file. You will lose the camera tags for lends, camera model, exposure time, etc. On the other hand, the file size of the converted HEIF file was not reduced by a significant amount, but on the contrary, larger than the original JPEG photo. Last but not least, the HEIF files don't support editing in Preview.

3. Time-consuming: Converting JPEG to HEIF is a time-consuming process. Time and effort are needed to accomplish the conversion. This why you won't see any significant file size reduction in the resulting HEIF file. Meanwhile, most hardware doesn't keep up with the new image format. So it's not worth the tradeoff.

4. Legal issue: The use of HEIF is subject to the licensing of patents. The lawful implementation of HEIF support is implicated in paid software or hardware product.

Apps and Online Tools for JPEG to HEIF Conversion

Despite of this, there are still a lot of apps and online HEIC converter tools offering the ability to convert JPEGs to HEIF photos. Below are the JPEG to HEIF converter tools we've sought after from the internet.

1. Cloud Convert: Cloudconvert is an online converter tool that supports the conversion between 218 formats, ranging from photo formats archive formats heic, jpeg, png, to video audio formats s in 3gp, mp4, mov, mkv, mp3, aac, ac3, etc. There is no need to install any software on your computer. Just upload your JPEG files to the tool and choose HEIF format, CloudConvert will do the rest for you.

2. A Convert: A Convert is also an online free JPEG to HEIF converter tool that can convert files with ease, categorized by PDF, document, ebook, video, audio, archieve and webpage. It claims to support the newest HEIF/HEIC image format and convert HEIC to JPG online.

3. Image2HEIF: Image2HEIF is an HEIC converter app that can convert your images to HEIC format, thus saving disc/iCloud space with a very high quality using H.265/HEIF codec. Image2HEIF is priced at $2.99 on Apple Store. But users reported it is slow, taking about 15 minutes to convert JPEGs.

Convert and View HEIC Photos on Mac/Windows/Android Easily

MacX MediaTrans can convert HEIC images to JPG and transfer any photos in heic, jpg, bmp, tiff, etc from iPhone iPad to Mac/Windows. Also support to delete photos, backup and transfer music, movies, videos, ringtones, books, and more.

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