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Apple did it - HEIF using HEVC instead of JPEG
  • Just announced at WWDC.

    The technical development of the specification took about 1.5 years and was finalized in summer 2015.

    In order to save storage space, HEIF-encapsulated HEVC-coded images can be used for compressing the full-resolution images while keeping a lower-resolution JPEG copy (e.g. at 4K resolution or below) for on-screen displaying purposes.

    iOS apps will be using it as default photo format in iOS 11.

  • 17 Replies sorted by
  • So is HEIF part of the HEVC standard for still images? I'm all for a next-gen format being promoted by a big player, JPEG has been long in the tooth for quite some time.

  • @Tron

    It uses same compression as HEVC intra frames. But I think that container will be ala JPEG.

    It also means very big thing, as it'll require next gen GPU to finally add 422 and 444 hardware decoders, as well as 422 encoders.

    As for now situation is strange, NVidea 1000x can encode 420 and 444, but not 422. And can decode only 420.

  • Oh that's great, thanks for the info. I would think 4:2:2 could be doable in new drivers if 4:4:4 is already part of their 1000 series encoding spec. It's just simple dithering right?

  • @Tron

    Well, for encoding.decoding no. :-) As it is actually different things (as actual number of compressed samples differ). You can encode in 422 source in 444, yes, but it is pointless.

  • Good to see Apple leading industry in right direction again. JPEG is painfully old these days, I much prefer PNG, but sometimes that is too large. HEIF should be fantastic!

  • @alcomposer

    HEIF includes lossless compression also, based on HEVC. Much better compared to PNG.

  • Goodbye PNG, it was nice while it lasted! :-)

  • HEIF files can store:

    • Still Images, their thumbnails and related metadata such as EXIF or XMP information
    • Image Collections, their thumbnails and related metadata such as EXIF or XMP information
    • Image sequences such as cinemagraphs or image bursts and related metadata
    • Unprocessed image and processed images in the same file with proper labelling and referencing
    • Image derivation information such as rotation, overlay and grid view along with the images, so that different image derivations can make use of the same image data set
    • Auxiliary image data such as depth map and alpha channel along with the images
    • Audio tracks and cover images along with still images and image sequences
    • HEIF files also inherit many properties of ISOBMFF such as edit lists, media alternatives, media data groupings. *
    • Moreover, an MP4 file can be “branded” so that it can also contain images and image sequences as well as video and audio (i.e. dual branding)

  • Zoner Photo Studio X added support for HEIF files

    The popular photo editor and manager Zoner Photo Studio X has gained several unique new features just in time for Christmas. With its winter update, it has become the first Windows editor in the world to support the opening and saving of HEIF files. The new Smoothing Brush and Structure Cloning features in its Develop module make it easy to retouch portraits quickly while keeping them natural-looking. The Polarization feature helps users get more detailed clouds, and meanwhile the increased freedom for photo books lets them unlock their imagination.

    One long-awaited new feature, especially among technology fans, is support for the HEIF format. Zoner Photo Studio X is the first software in the world to offer a solution for reading and writing this format on Windows. This support is currently experimental and thus must be turned on in the program under Options > Advanced.

    “Our being first to support HEIF makes us one of the few options for users to work with their photos from the latest iPhones on Windows. But for us it means much more. We’ve been waiting a long time for this successor to the antiquated JPG, not only because, as noted above, this format saves space while retaining quality, but also thanks to other modern abilities such as saving multiple pictures via the difference method, combining photos and video, utilizing depth maps, and making editing less demanding. The new HEIF format will enable truly great things in the future,” said Kupcik.

  • Despite the huge storage savings, image quality left a bit to be desired. Taking a close look at each set of images, we saw that the new high efficiency format loses detail, especially in low-light shots. Compared to JPEG files, detail and color looked smudged and smeared.

  • @joethepro

    You don't need to be professor to figure out that you can't compress such files 2x more compared to JPEG.

    We have lot of data at

    In reality you can do it only for videos and good gain is available only if it is cinematic content and extreme presets.

    But it is still 20-40% more efficient. Just not 2 times. And testing on high detailed nature scenes make it even worse, as algorithms can't save much here.

  • HEIF support is rolling out in Windows Insider Preview Build 17123

    Same happened with latest Android version.

  • Yep, it is fully official - Android Pie supports HEIF natively.

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