HEIC vs. JPEG: What’s the Difference and Which One Is Better?


HEIC vs. JPEG: What’s the Difference and Which One Is Better?

Key Points

  • HEIC supports 16-bit deep colors and transparency, while JPEG only supports 8-bit colors and lacks transparency
  • HEIC files have smaller file sizes and better image quality than JPEG files
  • JPEG is more widely supported across devices and platforms, making it ideal for easy sharing and viewing

Opting for the appropriate file format when taking digital images can dramatically affect its quality and efficiency. Also, understanding the distinctions between High-Efficiency Image Container (HEIC) and Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) files is critical when working with these formats.

Additionally, both file formats possess distinct benefits and disadvantages; thus, choosing one over the other could affect quality and image compression. Our analysis examines the technical specifications of each format, such as features supported and compatibility with various devices and more. Let’s dive deeper into the differences between HEIC vs. JPEG file formats and determine which will best meet your needs.

HEIC vs. JPEG: Side-By-Side Comparison

Image TransparencySupport image transparencyDoesn’t support transparency
FlexibilityIt is more flexible than JPEG. Hold either a single image or image sequences and othersIt is less flexible than HEIC. It holds a single image only
Image Color16-bit deep colors8-bit colors
CompressionA more efficient compression algorithmA less efficient compression algorithm
Image QualityBetter image quality than JPEGSlightly lower image quality than HEIC
CompatibilityLimited support on older devices and platformsWidely supported across devices and platforms
File SizeSmaller file sizeLarger file size
Storage SpaceFiles take less storage space than JPEGFiles take more storage space than HEIC
Metadata/Support for EditingSupports advanced metadata and editing optionsLimited metadata and editing options

HEIC vs. JPEG: What’s the Difference?

Debates over which format, JPEG or HEIC, to use in photos and images have long been an area of contention. Some users stick to an unfavorable file format simply because they lack information to help them make the right decisions. Here are distinct differences between HEIC and JPEG.

convert HEIC to JPG
HEIC has better image quality and more vibrant colors than JPEG.

Image Transparency

The two file formats do vary significantly in terms of supporting image transparency. On the one hand, HEIC supports image transparency by permitting alpha channels that define different opacity levels. Therefore, certain parts of an image may become transparent for added layered effects or seamless integration with other elements.

Contrarily, JPEG does not support transparency and can only represent opaque pixels. In addition, the JPEG format’s restrictive nature limits options for blending backgrounds, overlaying images, or creating intricate compositions with transparent areas.


When it comes to flexibility, the HEIC format outshines JPEG. HEIC provides greater versatility by supporting single images, image sequences, and additional data such as texts, audio tracks, and more. In addition, with its expanded functionality, HEIC can now serve various uses — creating animated images or taking live photos while recording live events.

On the contrary, JPEG offers limited flexibility as it can only support single images without supporting additional data and sequences. Ultimately, this restriction limits the possibilities for multimedia content creation and usage of static images.

Image Quality and Image Color

HEIC outshines JPEG significantly in several aspects regarding image quality and color representation. On the one hand, HEIC supports 16-bit deep colors for more vibrant images compared to JPEG’s 8-bit colors. Accordingly, it leads to more accurate and lifelike color representation in HEIC images. HEIC also employs advanced compression algorithms that maintain image quality at reduced file sizes, yielding improved clarity, detail, and greater visual fidelity.

On the other hand, JPEG compression techniques use lossy compression techniques that sacrifice some image quality in exchange for smaller file sizes. As such, JPEG images often present artifacts, loss of detail, and decreased color accuracy compared to their HEIC counterpart.


HEIC is a relatively new image format; thus, it may only support limited devices and platforms. Furthermore, older operating systems and devices are not likely to natively support HEIC files; hence users may require third-party tools or applications to convert or open the files.

Contrarily, JPEG files enjoy wide support across devices and platforms. Additionally, it has become one of the most widespread image formats, recognized and accessible on almost all devices and operating systems without additional software to view and open. Thanks to its broad compatibility, JPEG has its images easily shared, viewed, and accessed by many users.

File Size

HEIC files typically feature smaller file sizes compared to JPEG. HEIC excels at compressing files efficiently while maintaining high image quality, thanks to its advanced compression algorithms that enable prompt file size reduction. Consequently, smaller file sizes offer multiple benefits, including saving space on devices and speedier transfers of files. Furthermore, HEIC files’ smaller sizes make them an invaluable option when dealing with large image collections or sharing images over limited bandwidth connections.

On the other hand, due to JPEG files’ compression methods, their file sizes tend to be greater. JPEG still delivers excellent image quality. However, its large file sizes consume additional storage space and take longer to upload or download.

Metadata and Support for Editing

Regarding metadata and support for editing, HEIC and JPEG differ significantly in both features. Exceptionally, HEIC provides advanced metadata editing options and is widely favored among professional photographers and enthusiasts alike.

In addition, HEIC files contain an abundance of metadata that includes camera settings,  exposure details, GPS coordinates, and much more. Accordingly, the extensive metadata allows for comprehensive organization, searching, and editing capabilities. Plus, HEIC supports advanced editing features, including nondestructive edits and adjustments of individual image elements such as exposure, color balance, and contrast.

On the contrary, JPEG lacks as many editing and metadata options. Although JPEG files provide basic metadata like date, time, resolution information, and camera model, HEIC provides more extensive options. Ultimately, JPEG editing options are limited, typically restricted to basic adjustments like cropping, resizing, and applying filters.

jpeg vs tiff
JPEG (or JPG) files are widely supported across devices and platforms, but HEIC support is more limited.

HEIC vs. JPEG: 8 Must-Know Facts

  • HEIC, created by the MPEG group, is an innovative newer image format, while JPEG has long been around as one of the main image file formats.
  • HEIC offers superior image quality compared to JPEG thanks to its support for 16-bit deep colors and advanced compression algorithms.
  • HEIC files feature smaller file sizes than JPEG formats, resulting in greater storage efficiency without compromising image quality.
  • HEIC supports transparency, which permits alpha channels and image overlays, while JPEG does not support transparency.
  • HEIC supports advanced metadata capabilities such as camera settings and GPS coordinates to give complete image information than JPEG, which only has limited metadata capabilities.
  • HEIC files provide more advanced editing features, including non-destructive adjustment and editing of image elements for post-processing purposes flexibility.
  • HEIC files may not be widely supported across devices and platforms, particularly older systems with limited or no support.
  • JPEG has long been considered an industry-standard image format and can be read across various devices, software applications, and online platforms.

HEIC vs. JPEG: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Choices between HEIC and JPEG formats for image files can dramatically impact your digital photography experience. Therefore, understanding the differences between these formats is paramount for making informed decisions regarding image storage, sharing, compatibility, and more.

Remarkably, HEIC provides several advantages over JPEG. First, HEIC enhancement delivers superior image quality by supporting 16-bit deep colors for more vivid and accurate depictions of your photos. Additionally, HEIC files feature smaller file sizes for improved storage efficiency without compromising image quality. Also, HEIC supports transparency for overlays and alpha channels, while JPEG does not possess this feature.

On the other hand, JPEG stands out as an attractive image format due to its better compatibility across devices and platforms — making it the go-to format for sharing and viewing photos online. JPEG format has long been the de facto standard and is supported by various software applications and online platforms. At the core, selecting HEIC or JPEG depends on your unique requirements and preferences.

If image quality, smaller file sizes, and advanced features like transparency and metadata are of prime concern, HEIC could be your solution. However, for maximum compatibility and easy sharing purposes, JPEG remains an established option that will work reliably across many devices and software applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I view HEIC images on Windows computers?

Yes, HEIC images can be viewed on Windows computers using software compatible with them or by converting to more widely supported file types like JPEG.

Does HEIC or JPEG offer better color representation?

HEIC provides better color reproduction than JPEG due to its 16-bit deep colors support, providing more accurate and vibrant reproduction of colors.

Can all devices and platforms support HEIC images?

Not all devices and platforms support HEIC images; while modern operating systems typically support them natively, older devices and specific platforms may offer limited support.

Are there any editing limitations with HEIC or JPEG files?

There are differences in editing capabilities between HEIC and JPEG files. HEIC files provide more sophisticated metadata and editing options providing greater post-processing possibilities. JPEG files typically offer more limited metadata and editing features, which limits what changes can be made.

Is there any loss of image quality when converting from HEIC to JPEG?

Converting from HEIC to JPEG may result in some loss in image quality. JPEG is a lossy compression format that sacrifices image details to reduce file sizes.

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