JPG vs HEIC: Which File Format Is the Future?

words Al Woods

jpg File Format

Apple recently made waves in the graphic design and digital photography industries by switching primary image file formats from JPG to HEIC. Let’s break down both of these file formats and discuss whether one of them will dominate the digital photography industry in the future.

JPGs: The Default Image File Format

The JPG or JPEG format is the default type of image file used throughout the graphics design and digital photography industries. It compresses image data so that computers can efficiently store digital photos on their hard drives without those photos taking up too much space. They utilize a JPEG compression algorithm to minimize image file size and reduce the load times of any pages.

HEIC: The Challenger

Meanwhile, HEIC files have recently replaced the JPG format for Apple or iPhone applications and programs. This is because HEIC files can hold more than one picture in a high-efficiency image format or HEIF. This is the same kind of file format that saves photos on mobile phones, cleverly utilizing metadata to describe individual images without taking up excess space. The HEIC format was first introduced with iOS 11, and it quickly became the default format for both iOS devices and Mac computers.

Both types of files accomplish the same job, but they both provide a number of advantages and disadvantages that might make one of them affect the future of digital photography.

JPGs vs HEIC: Advantages and Disadvantages

 JPG files are ubiquitous across operating systems, including Mac operating systems and Windows operating systems. This makes JPG image files a lot easier to transfer between computers and systems, facilitating easier collaboration and cooperation.

In contrast, many computers or types of photo software, such as Photoshop and free alternatives, won’t recognize HEIC image files whatsoever. Instead, the images just fail to load, leading viewers to wonder whether something went wrong. This is partially because many people still don’t know how to convert HEIC to JPG on Mac computers.

With that being said, HEIC files do have some benefits. For instance, these files’ sizes are much smaller than comparative JPG image files. In fact, they’re usually around half the size, so you can theoretically store many more digital photos on a hard drive using the HEIC format as opposed to the JPG format.

Furthermore, HEIC files provide much better image quality compared to JPG image files. Thus, original image details are preserved, making HEIC files the better choice for professional photographers who want to keep the best aspects of their work intact when they transmit them to digital devices. Even better, HEIC files can hold multiple images in a single file, meaning that this format is a little more flexible than its JPG counterpart.


Ultimately, it’s clear that HEIC image files are the future, especially once more people learn how to properly convert those files to JPG formats and back. However, it’ll likely be some time before the industry at large adopts HEIC files due to their complexity.


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