Is JPEG Better Than HEIC? Exploring File Formats

is jpeg better than heic

When it comes to handling multimedia, understanding the different file formats is crucial. Among the popular choices are JPEG and HEIC, which have stirred a debate among users regarding which format is superior. In this article, we will explore the differences between JPEG and HEIC, their pros and cons, and other aspects that users should consider when handling multimedia.

Key Takeaways:

  • JPEG and HEIC are two popular file formats used for handling multimedia
  • Both formats have their advantages and limitations in terms of image quality, compatibility, and accessibility
  • Factors like intended use, storage capacity, and editing capabilities should be considered when choosing between JPEG and HEIC
  • Understanding the differences between these two file formats can help users make an informed decision that suits their specific needs and preferences

Understanding JPEG

JPEG is a widely used file format for storing and sharing digital images. It stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the committee that developed the format in the late 1980s. The main advantage of JPEG is its ability to compress images, reducing their file size for easier storage and sharing.

However, JPEG uses lossy compression, which means that image quality is lost during the compression process. This loss of information can result in artifacts and reduced image quality, especially when the compression level is high.

Despite its drawbacks, JPEG remains popular due to its widespread compatibility across different devices and platforms. It can be opened and edited using a variety of software, making it a versatile format for digital images.

In summary, JPEG is a file format that uses lossy compression to reduce file size, making it a popular choice for digital image storage and sharing. Its widespread compatibility and versatility make it a reliable option for multimedia purposes.

Introducing HEIC

High-Efficiency Image Format (HEIC) is a file format that was introduced in 2015 by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) as a more efficient alternative to the JPEG format. It was created to address the growing need for higher quality images while maintaining a smaller file size, especially on mobile devices.

HEIC offers significant advantages over JPEG in terms of its compression methods and file size. This format uses advanced compression algorithms, such as HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) and HEIF (High-Efficiency Image Format), which result in files that are up to 50% smaller than JPEG images of the same quality.

In addition to its smaller file size, HEIC supports features such as transparency, multiple images in a single file, and 16-bit color depth. This means that images in the HEIC format can support a wider range of colors, enhancing their overall quality and detail.

However, one of the biggest challenges with HEIC is its compatibility with different software and devices. While Apple devices support the format, other platforms may struggle to read HEIC files without additional software or conversion.

Overall, HEIC is a promising alternative to JPEG, providing users with higher quality images in a smaller file size. However, its compatibility issues may be a hindrance to its widespread adoption.

Comparing Image Quality

When it comes to image quality, both JPEG and HEIC have their pros and cons. JPEG uses lossy compression, which means that it reduces image quality to some extent to achieve smaller file sizes. HEIC, on the other hand, uses more advanced compression algorithms to preserve image quality while still achieving smaller file sizes.

Moreover, JPEGs have a color depth of 8 bits per channel, while HEICs can support up to 16 bits per channel. This means that HEIC images can display a broader and more accurate range of colors, making them ideal for photography and other professional applications. However, since HEIC is a relatively new format, not all software and devices support it yet, so compatibility may be an issue for some users.

Additionally, since JPEG is a lossy format, it can result in visual artifacts or distortions in images with complex details, such as fine lines or textures. HEIC, being a more advanced format, can avoid most of these issues and preserve image quality better. However, HEIC files can take longer to process and may not be compatible with older software or devices.

Overall, when it comes to image quality, HEIC tends to outperform JPEG in most scenarios. However, JPEG still has a wide range of applications and is more universally compatible across devices and software, making it a more practical choice for some users.

Compatibility and Accessibility

When it comes to compatibility and accessibility, JPEG has a clear advantage over HEIC, at least for now. JPEG has been around for decades, and it’s supported by virtually all devices and platforms that handle multimedia. From desktop computers to smartphones and tablets, JPEG files can be easily viewed and shared across different devices and software.

On the other hand, HEIC is a relatively new file format that was introduced in 2017. While it has several advantages over JPEG in terms of image quality and file size, it’s not yet widely supported by all devices and platforms. For example, some older smartphones and cameras may not be able to capture or view HEIC files. Additionally, some social media platforms and websites may not support uploading or displaying HEIC images, which can limit its accessibility.

However, HEIC is gaining traction, and more and more devices and software are starting to support it. Apple has been a major proponent of HEIC, and all its latest devices, including iPhones and iPads, use HEIC as the default image format. Furthermore, some software, such as Adobe Photoshop, have added HEIC support, which can make it easier to edit HEIC images.

Compatibility and Accessibility: What to Consider

When choosing between JPEG and HEIC for your multimedia needs, it’s important to consider compatibility and accessibility. If you plan to share your images across different devices and platforms, JPEG may be the safer choice, as it’s universally supported. However, if you have newer devices that support HEIC, or you’re willing to convert HEIC files to JPEG for compatibility, then HEIC may offer superior image quality and file size.

It’s also worth noting that as technology evolves, HEIC may become more widely supported in the future. As such, it’s a good idea to stay informed about new developments and updates to ensure that you’re using the best format for your needs.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Format

When choosing between JPEG and HEIC, there are several factors to consider to ensure that your multimedia files are compatible with your devices and software. Here are some elements to keep in mind:

  • Intended use: What is the purpose of your multimedia files? Will you be using them on social media, a website, or sharing them with friends and family? Depending on the intended use, you may want to choose a format that emphasizes image quality or file size.
  • Storage capacity: How much storage space do you have available on your device? While JPEG files are smaller and take up less space, HEIC files offer higher quality with a smaller file size. Consider your storage capacity when choosing a format.
  • Editing capabilities: Will you be editing your multimedia files frequently? JPEG files are more widely supported by editing software, while HEIC files may have limited editing capabilities on certain devices and software. Consider your editing needs when choosing a format.
  • Ease of sharing: How easily can you share your multimedia files with others? While JPEG files are widely supported and can be shared easily via email or messaging, HEIC files may require conversion or specific software for sharing. Consider the ease of sharing when choosing a format.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision on whether to use JPEG or HEIC for your multimedia needs. Your decision should be based on which format aligns with your priorities, requirements, and preferences.


After exploring the differences between JPEG and HEIC, it’s clear that both formats have their advantages and drawbacks.

While JPEG is a reliable, widely supported file format that offers good compatibility and image quality, it may not be the best choice for those looking to reduce file size or preserve image quality during edits.

On the other hand, HEIC offers high-efficiency compression and better image quality in smaller file sizes but may not be compatible with some older devices and software.

So, which format should you choose?

It ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize compatibility and ease of use over file size and editing capabilities, JPEG may be the way to go. However, if you’re working with high-quality images and need to minimize file size while maintaining image quality, HEIC may be the better choice.

Overall, both formats have their place in modern multimedia handling, and understanding their strengths and limitations can help you make an informed decision based on your specific situation.

Whether you choose JPEG or HEIC, it’s important to keep in mind that regularly backing up your files and converting them to different formats when necessary can help preserve your multimedia creations for years to come.

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