How to Eas­i­ly Con­vert JPG Images to HEIC on iPhone

Apple's HEIC format saves photos at just half the size of a traditional JPEG image — without any noticeable reductions in visual quality. Incredible, right? That's why Apple made it the default camera photo format on the iPhone. In short, HEIC helps a lot when it comes to managing storage.

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However, your iPhone may still end up with tons of space-consuming JPG images, especially those auto-downloaded via social media apps. If you want to free up some space, it's best to convert them to the HEIC format. But how?

Using a third-party file converter for the task can put sensitive images at risk. That is why I'm going to show you how to convert JPG images to HEIC using just your iPhone itself. For that, you must create a shortcut.

Don't worry. The shortcut is easy to create. Once you've set one up, you can convert batches of JPG photos to the HEIC format in a single go.

Creating the Shortcut to Convert JPG to HEIC

To create a shortcut that lets you convert JPG images to the HEIC format, you must have the Shortcuts app installed on your iPhone. If you can't find it, get it from the App Store — it's free.

But before you start, it's best to create a separate album to save your converted HEIC images. That should make it much easier to locate them after performing a conversion with the shortcut that we are about to create.

Go to Photos > Albums > New Album to create one — name it as 'HEIC' or something along those lines.

All ready? Then let's get started.

Step 1: Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone or iPad.

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Step 2: Switch to the My Shortcuts tab, and then click Create Shortcut. Tap 'Search for apps and actions' to the bottom of the screen.

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Step 3: Perform a search for 'select photos,' and then tap Select Photos under Actions. Afterward, expand the Select Photos action (tap Show More), and then turn on the switch next to Select Multiple.

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Step 4: Tap 'Search for apps and actions' again, search for 'convert image' this time, and then tap Convert Image under Actions.

Next, modify the Convert Image action from the default Convert Photos to JPEG to Convert Photos to HEIF — to do that, tap JPEG, and then pick HEIF.

Also, it's a good idea to expand the action (tap Show More) and confirm that the switch next to Preserve Metadata is turned on.

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Step 5: Tap 'Search for apps and actions' once more, perform a search for 'save to photo album,' and then tap Save to Photo Album under Actions.

If you created an album to save converted HEIC images, select it now — tap Recents, and then pick the relevant album on the pop-up list.

In my case, I've picked an album called HEIC, which I created earlier. If you don't want to save the photos to any particular album, simply leave the action as it is. Finally, tap Next.

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Step 6: Name the shortcut (JPG to HEIC, for example), and then tap Done.

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The shortcut is created and ready to go — time to put it through its paces.

Converting JPG to HEIC With the Shortcut

You can run the shortcut that you just created via the Shortcuts app. Alternatively, you can run it via the Shortcuts widget or Siri (say Hey Siri, 'shortcut name').

But before you start, you may want to add the JPG images that you are about to convert to a separate album in the Photos app. That way, you can easily delete them after the conversion process to avoid photo duplicates if freeing up storage space is what you are after.

Step 1: Run the JPG to HEIC shortcut. Use the Photos app image picker that shows up to select the JPEG images that you want to convert — you can select as many images as you want. Tap Done to initiate the conversion process.

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Step 2: The shortcut will denote the conversion progress. Once it's done, head into the relevant album within the Photos app to check the converted images.

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Step 3: Confirm (if you want) that the photos are in the HEIC format. The Photos app doesn't let you check the file format of an image, so I recommend using Google Photos for the job.

Just pick a converted photo in Google Photos, tap the three-dot icon to the upper-right corner of the screen, and you should see the file format listed underneath Details.

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If you created the shortcut properly, you should have the images converted to the HEIC format. If all looks good, you can delete the JPG originals.

High Efficiency

With the shortcut that you just created, it's incredibly easy to convert JPEG images to the HEIC format. Beats having to suffer through an ad-ridden file converter, right?

Just remember that aside from the reduced file sizes, converted HEIC images won't gain any of the other advantages — wider color gamut, depth maps, etc. — that you usually get when shooting photos directly in the HEIC format.

Next up: Want to convert HEIC images to the JPG format instead? Here's how to do that.


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Dilum Senevirathne joined Guiding Tech in 2018, where he writes about products and services by Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Particularly notable for his expertise in iOS, he enjoys breaking down complex tech topics into digestible explainers, action-packed how-tos, and comprehensive troubleshooting guides — without the jargon.

Besides contributing to GT, Dilum studies management accounting (AICPA/CIMA) with an emphasis on areas such as Big Data analytics. He plays around with Python code in his spare time.