Change Image File Format

How to Change Image File Format on iPhone and iPad

Most people don’t bother changing the default settings of their mobile devices and letting them decide the image file format, among other things. However, when they want to create an online portfolio, submit to a photo competition, or share photos on social media, they hit a wall: their upload is rejected. The image size complies with the website’s requirements, but the image file format does not.

That’s because iPhone and iPad devices that run on iOS 11 or later versions use the high-efficiency image format (HEIF) by default, which is less space-consuming but not one of the usually required image formats, such as JPEG and PNG. At this moment, you can convert the photograph from HEIF to JPEG using a third-party app. But changing the default settings and choosing the image file format from the beginning is much easier. And here is how to do that.

Change the Default Image File Format on iPhone and iPad.

Open the Settings app and select the Camera app. From the list of Camera app settings, choose Format. You’ll see two options (High Efficiency and Most Compatible) and a short explanation below. Apple informs you that High Efficiency means capturing photos in HEIF format, and Most Compatible means capturing photos in JPEG format. Select the Most Compatible option.

Change the Image File Format for an Existing File

If you didn’t change the default image file format from the beginning and end up with HEIF files, you can convert them to JPEG or PNG using just your device.

Open the Photos app and select the photograph you want to convert. Then, press on the Export button and select Save to Files. The action will create a copy of your photograph in the Files app.

Go to the Files app and open your image file. Press the small arrow at the end of your file’s name to reveal a menu. Select Export from the drop-down menu.

The device will provide three options: JPEG, PNG, and HEIF. Choose JPEG and select the compression level: small, medium, large, or original. The device will create a new JPEG image file with the selected specifications.


Photography has been a technical art since the beginning. It’s not enough to learn photography composition and storytelling. You also need basic technical skills that allow you to make the most out of your photography. Furthermore, you have to keep up with the innovations in technology. Digital devices change so quickly, and each comes with its challenges. But if you know what you want and where to look, everything will be just fine.

Cover photo by Miguel Tomás on Unsplash

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