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HEIF Max: what it is and what can we do with the new photo format on iPhone 15

A new way to store photos that offers a lot of versatility and possibilities.

HEIF Max: what it is and what can we do with the new photo format on iPhone 15
David Bernal Raspall

David Bernal Raspall

Photography has always been one of the main areas that improves year after year on iPhones. Every year, the company surprises us with innovative technologies aimed at enhancing the quality and versatility of our images. This year, with the release of the iPhone 15, Apple introduces us to the “HEIF Max” format. But what is it exactly, and how can it enhance our photographic experiences?

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What is HEIF Max?

To understand the significance of HEIF Max, we must first grasp its context. The iPhone 15 has introduced a new 48-megapixel lens, a feature that was previously exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro models. With this new lens, it becomes crucial to have a format that maximizes resolution without sacrificing storage space.

Until now, the iPhone 14 Pro offered three options for taking photos: 12-megapixel JPEG or HEIF, 12-megapixel ProRAW, and 48-megapixel ProRAW. The ProRAW format, while providing high-quality images, comes with a considerable file size; a single ProRAW photo can reach up to 75MB.

This is where HEIF Max comes into play. This new format allows you to capture photos at a 48-megapixel resolution and save them in a compressed file. Compared to ProRAW, an HEIF Max file is much lighter, weighing in at approximately 5MB. Thus, HEIF Max offers an ideal balance between quality and space efficiency.

Benefits of the HEIF Max format:

Given what we’ve seen, HEIF Max significantly changes what we can capture with our iPhones. Or, better said, how we store what we capture. In practical terms, this format offers several benefits:

  1. Maximum Resolution with Smaller Size: As mentioned, HEIF Max allows capturing images at a 48-megapixel resolution but with significantly reduced file size. This means you can enjoy images with greater detail and clarity without worrying about storage space on your device or in the cloud.
  2. Optimized with Smart HDR: The Smart HDR mode is less aggressive with high-resolution images. This means that with HEIF Max, images retain more detail and are processed in a way that better respects the original image.
  3. Ease of Use: Apple has incorporated a new shortcut to easily switch between formats in the Camera app. Simply by tapping and holding the HEIF Max/RAW button, you can toggle between available options.

This functionality has been included not only in the iPhone 15 but also in the iPhone 14 Pro models, which means a wide range of users can benefit from this feature.

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The inclusion of HEIF Max is a clear indication that Apple continues to strive to provide the best possible photographic experiences. It’s not just about enhancing the hardware with a 48-megapixel lens (even though the iPhone 15 Pro doesn’t have 7 cameras), but they have also innovated in software, offering options that cater to our needs and preferences, whether we are amateur photographers or professionals.

David Bernal Raspall

David Bernal Raspall

Architect | Creator of hoyenapple.com | Trainer in Apple technologies | Editor at Softonic and iDoo_tech and previously at Applesfera

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