HEIF (High-Efficiency Image Format); The Future Of Images With Half The Storage

HEIF (High-Efficiency Image Format) is the still-image version of HVEC/H265 and is a visual media “container” format for storing and sharing images and image sequences. A “container,” or sometimes called a “wrapper” format, is a file format that allows multiple data streams to be embedded into a single file. It usually includes metadata used to identify and further detail the different data streams. This will ensure that you have a similar picture quality. The most significant advantage is that you will use about half of the storage space needed currently.

History of High-Efficiency Image Format (HEIF)

HEIF is based on the well-known ISO Base Media File Format (ISOBMFF) standard. HEIF Reader/Writer Engine is an implementation of HEIF standard to demonstrate its powerful features and capabilities. HEIF was first defined in 2001 as a shared part of MP4 and JPEG 2000. It was introduced in 2015 by MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group) and is defined as Part 12 within the MPEG-H media suite. It got adopted by Apple in 2017 with the introduction of iOS 11, and support on their platforms is growing.  

In general, the way people capture, store, and share images is evolving at an unprecedented rate. With HEIF, image storage and distribution are brought to the next level, and it will escalate in the future.

“Container” or more popular “Wrapper Formats.”

This file format allows multiple streams of data to be embedded into a single file. This is usually done in conjunction with metadata to identify and further detailing the data streams. Therefore, the metatags can manage the multiple data streams to display the perfect combination in one picture or a sequence of images. For this reason, HEIF is a lot better when used in a photo burst where you use a series of different images.

All programs can open the container, but they need a specific code to decode the codec. If the program doesn’t have a particular algorithm, it can’t decode the codec and emit an error message. This is presently the biggest drawback of using HEIF, the compatibility problem because most appliances and hardware used cannot decode the HEIF algorithm. HEIF files use a much more modern compression ratio than all other image formats we use nowadays, and therefore, storage will take up half of what it has taken up before.

Why Use A New Image Format?

Less Data Storage Space: As mentioned before, the container format of data storage in combination with the more modern compression ratio will reduce your storage to 50% of what is currently being used by available formats.

Color and Transparency: HEIF supports 16-bit color, whereas most other formats support only 8-bit color, which will give you much better picture quality.

Ease in Editing: HEIF file format supports numerous editing options, including rotating, cropping, titles and overlays. These images can be stored without changing the underlying image. This allows later editing, which makes it easier for developers to do changes later on.


HEIF will change the image of the formating world. Currently, companies like Apple can read HEIF images on most of their devices.

If your device doesn’t support HEIF then you can use our online HEIF to JPEG converter to convert files into JPEG.

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