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This handy iPhone camera tip makes sharing photos so much easier

iPhone 13 Pro Max, in front of a background of water
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There's a problem with iPhone photos you may have come across if you've tried to get the photos off your phone to share or edit them. Without telling you, Apple saves the photos in a high-efficiency format which can make things tricky.

The high-efficiency photo and video formats that iPhones use by default (HEIF and HEVC) are great if you're just keeping your photos on your phone or are sharing them with other smartphones. However, you may find it difficult to edit or even open them on other devices like PCs without downloading specific apps to make them work.

Luckily, with a single tweak in the iPhone's menus, you can get the camera to produce photos and video in a much easier-to-use format that's readily shareable among all modern devices. If that appeals to you, then here's how to take JPEG photos on iPhone.

How to switch from HEIF to JPEG photos on iPhone

When you're ready to set up JPEGs on your iPhone, open your Settings app and follow these instructions

1. In the Settings app, select the Camera sub-heading part-way down the page.

A screenshot of the iOS settings app, with the Camera heading highlighted

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Select the top heading from this menu, titled Formats.

A screenshot of the iOS Camera settings, with the Formats heading highlighted

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. Here, change the Camera Capture option to Most Compatible.

A screenshot of the iOS Camera Formats menu, with the High Efficiency/Most Compatible options at the top of the screen

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

And that's all there is to it! Now, when you take a photo with the Camera app, images will be saved as JPEG files and videos will be saved as H.264 MPEG files.

While these are much more widely supported file types, they are also larger and will take up more space in your iPhone's storage. If you have limited space already, it may be worth investing in some of the best cloud storage so you can offload your pics automatically, or swapping back to High Efficiency capture mode unless you really need it.


If you're in need of more iPhone how-tos and tips, then you're in the right place. Check out our guide on how to save camera settings on iPhone if you're fed up of losing your set-up every time, or  how to organize your iPhone apps if you want to rework your home screens in the most efficient way possible. We also reckon knowing how to copy-paste on iPhone and iPad with Universal Clipboard is one of the most useful things you can know if you have both an Apple phone and tablet.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.