Change Default Image Format – iPhone/iPad

Do you have an iPhone or iPad and find you are having issues uploading a picture? That could be because of the HEIC format iOS uses by default. Today’s post will go over the steps to change the image file format on iOS. Change Default Image Format – iPhone/iPad

With the release of iOS11, Apple introduced the HEIC or High-Efficiency File Format. Of course, if you are looking at images you took on your iPhone, iPad, or your MacBook, they open because Apple has all 3 devices configured to read that image format. The problem comes when you try to upload your image to a service that is not configured to recognize the HEIC format.

That is exactly what happened earlier this year to many students who were taking the Advanced Placement (AP) exams. At the end of the exam, the College Board who manages the exam gave instructions that the test taker needed to take a picture and upload it to a specific site. The exam and the photo had to be uploaded within a specific time limit, or the test would not count. Unfortunately for many of the test-takers, the system the College Board uses does not recognize the HEIC format and many users with iPhones and iPad’s did not know that. That caused the test takers to fail and required them to retake the test.

How To Change The Image Settings in iOS

The default setting in iOS is HEIC, if you change the setting it will change the default setting for images to the JPG format. However, changing the image setting also changes the video recording setting. If you want to record in 4K/UHD video, you will need to put the setting back to High Efficiency. 

  • Changing the Image Default
  1. Go to iOS Settings and swipe down to the Camera section (you will scroll down a bit to find it)
  2. Once you find the Camera section, click on it
  3. Next click where it says Formats
  4. Lastly, in the window that comes up, select Most Compatible to set the default photo format to JPG

iOS image format setting

A Few Things To Keep In Mind 

  • As noted earlier, the setting to change from HEIC to JPG is for both the iPhone and iPad.
  • Also as noted earlier, if you change to the Most Compatible setting, your video will record 1080p @ 60fps. If you want to record video in 4K/UHD you will need to change the setting back to High Efficiency.
  • If you have preexisting images in HEIC and need to convert them you have a couple of easy options.
    • Email the picture to yourself using the mail app, and iOS will convert the file for you.
    • If you have a Mac, open the picture in the Preview app, and then you can convert it to the format you want.
    • Since the HEIC format is considered the default setting for iOS, check your settings again after any iOS software update as the setting may revert to High Efficiency.

Final Thought

Changing the setting in iOS is simple, however, if someone doesn’t tell you that you need to make a change, you may be out of luck. The issue that caused many AP test-takers to fail was the fault of the College Board. Hopefully, test-takers in the future will not run into the same issues. 



Change Default Image Format – iPhone/iPad

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