When you transfer photos from your iPhone to your Mac, you may notice that some photos have an HEIC file extension format instead of the usual JPEG. An HEIC file contains one or more images saved in the High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF). This saves an image or a sequence of images in a higher quality than a typical JPEG file along with its respective metadata. These HEIF / HEIC file formats do work in Preview on newer versions on macOS but will not open natively on a Mac running an older version of macOS. Similarly, these may not open or work in other apps such as Adobe Lightroom.
HEIC files are usually automatically converted to JPEG files when uploaded to social media networks such as Facebook, etc., but you may want to easily convert them on your Mac to use with different apps. Preview is the easiest tool for you to convert any HEIC / HEIF to a JPEG file, and it comes pre-installed in all Macs.
1. Open the HEIC file in Preview on your Mac.
2. From the top menu, navigate to “File -> Export.”
3. In the sub-menu, choose “JPEG” from Format, select the file quality (we always recommend Best) and click on Save. You’ll also get an estimated file size.
4. That’s it. Your exported JPEG file will be available in the location you selected.
You can batch-select photos in Preview and export them to your desired JPEG quality. You can also use this method to export HEIC files to any other desired format (such as PNG, TIFF, etc.).
It’s important to know that converting to JPEG does not always result in a smaller file size. A 2MB HEIC file might end up to be as much as 3.2MB when exported to JPEG. If you’re looking to save some space on your Mac, keeping your files in HEIC format is beneficial.
If you find yourself converting your HEIC files to JPEG files repeatedly, you can follow this short guide to change your iPhone’s camera settings to shoot in JPEG instead of HEIC:
1. Open up the Settings app in your phone.
2. Scroll down and select “Camera.”
3. Choose “Most Compatible” instead of “High Efficiency.”
Or, if you want to shoot and store HEIC images on your iPhone camera but want them to automatically convert to JPEG when transferring them to your Mac:
1. In the Settings app, go to “Photos.”
2. Under “Transfer to Mac or PC” choose “Automatic” to automatically convert the HEIF images to JPEG upon file transfer.
By doing this, your iPhone will automatically save photos in JPEG format instead of HEIC. This will result in more space being taken up on your iPhone, but it will be easier for you to use these photos when you transfer them to your Mac.
Using the guide above, you’ll be able to easily convert existing HEIC files to JPEG as well as turn on automatic conversion when transferring these files.
Let us know in the comments section below if you have any question or confusion.
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