A HEIC and JPEG Comparative Study

When storing digital images across devices, most people are confused between JPEG (JPG) and HEIC. However, both image formats are raster files and can handle highly detailed images. Here’s all that you need to know about these image formats to make an informed choice. 

HEIC and JPEG – What are They?

HEIC, or high efficiency image format, is widely associated with Apple as the company has chosen it as the default format for iPads and iPhones since 2017. Whenever iOS or iPadOS users click a photo, it is saved with the .HEIC extension. 

The HEIC format saves pictures better and makes the images smaller in data but retains the quality. However, the drawback is that the format is not yet commonly accepted as the tried-and-true standard of JPG. That’s why users may need to learn how to convert HEIC to JPG to upload them on various online platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram. 

On the other hand, JPEG or JPG stores digital photos with the help of color pixels. It is a popular image format among web designers and photographers due to its ability to compress pictures into smaller sizes. For example, a JPG picture can store up to sixteen million colors. 

JPG is the most common image format used in digital cameras, on the Internet, and on different operating systems. 

The Differences Between JPG and HEIC

  • Supported operating system 

JPG format supports all operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, Unix, and iOS. 

The HEIC format can only be opened on iDevices running iOS 11 and Mac computers running macOS High Sierra and later. In the Android and Windows environments, the format doesn’t have any native support. Therefore, the HEIC images must be converted to JPEG to view on Android or Windows. 

  • Quality 

HEIC files have better image quality than JPEG files because the former format can preserve the details of the photo. 

  • Nature of the image format 

JPG format holds only one image in a single file. On the other hand, the HEIC format contains multiple images in a single file, such as animation sequences, live photos, burst-photo shots, etc. 

  • File size 

Compared to JPG files, HEIC files are smaller in size. This is because the pictures captured and saved with the .HEIC extension takes less storage space compared to the JPG format. 

The HEIC files are half the size of the JPG files without compromising picture quality. 

  • Functions 

The JPG file uses 8-bit deep color, but the HEIC file uses a 16-bit deep color. As a result, the devices that support the HEIC image format can capture a wide array of vibrant colors. Additionally, the HEIC images can be modified easily, such as changes that can be applied on numerous layers like the background, middle ground, and foreground. 

Besides this, the HEIC images can be rotated and cropped without altering or saving them for a second time. 

Limitations of the HEIC Format Compared to the JPG Format

The HEIC is a new image format adopted by Apple, which has brought a lot of positivity. However, there are some things that users may have to worry about with the new image format, which is one reason why JPG continues to be the standard image format across platforms and operating systems. 

  • The inability to work with Windows and other operating systems is one of the significant drawbacks of this image format. So, Windows users cannot access pictures taken with an Apple device. On the other hand, users need to simply transfer the JPG pictures from their phone to their Windows computer, and they can access them straight away. But you might have to go through a few steps before accessing HEIC pictures. 
  • The availability of photo editing software for HEIC image files is another drawback. While all image editors support JPG files, they don’t show the same support for HEIC files. You have to install specific editors for these files. 

JPG or HEIC – Which One is Better?

There’s no correct answer to this question because they’re both great image formats. JPG has been around for a long time, but HEIC is an up-and-coming image format quickly rising in popularity. 

If your devices support the HEIC format, you can choose this format to save your images, and you’ll be able to save storage space. Also, you’ll enjoy more flexibility if you need to edit your photos. Since cameras continue to ramp up their megapixels, storing pictures is becoming difficult, and HEIC can be the solution to this problem. 

However, it is not good if you cannot open and access an image. Since JPG is the universally accepted and used image format, most people are inclined to choose this format as of now. But do not worry if your images are in the HEIC format, as you can quickly convert them to make them accessible to everyone. 

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