A HEIC file is a raster image saved in the High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF), a lossy compressed media container format commonly used to store images. It may contain a single image, a collection of images, image bursts, or image sequences, along with metadata that describes each image. HEIC files may also appear as .HEIF files.
HEIF is based on the High Efficiency Video Compression (HEVC), which is also known as H.265. The format was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and became popular in 2017 when iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra was released. In iOS 11 you can save images as HEIC files instead of JPEG files, which require considerably less storage than JPEG files without sacrificing image quality.
If an iPhone user shares a HEIC image with a non-iPhone user or to a social site, the HEIC image is automatically converted to a JPEG image. HEIC files are supported by Apple Photos (macOS High Sierra and later) and iOS Photos (iOS 11 and later).
If you do not want iOS to save images in the HEIF format, open your "Settings" app, and select
. Selecting means that iOS will now save images in the JPEG format.
NOTE: Besides smartphones, the HEIF format has also been adopted by select digital cameras and web browsers.