If i airdrop a photo from my iPhone (iOS 12.4.1) to my MacBook (OSX 10.3.6)the photo arrives as a .HEIC which some other programmes dont reconise.

Is it possible to get airdrop to send .JPG / .JPEG files instead ?

Im aware i could convert the files, or better yet make an automator script to auto convert the files when they appear, but this seems like a work around rather than a solution.

  • As per my knowledge, your iPhones take the phone on HEIC format which you can change to the most compatible one. After that when you airdrop, you will get JPEG file.
    – Udhy
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 13:58

4 Answers 4


There's only one way to do this without first converting the photo or using a Shortcut. Your question assumes you're trying to Airdrop from an iOS device to a PC or Mac and not from a Mac to another device.

First, you need to change how the Camera app stores pictures. Go to Settings -> Camera -> Formats. Under "Camera Capture" make sure "Most Compatible" is selected.

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Next, go to Settings -> Photos and scroll down to "Transfer to Mac or PC". Change the setting to "Keep Originals".

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After you do both of these, take another picture and then try to Airdrop it to your Mac. The Mac should receive the jpg version of the picture. I'm not sure if this will work with pictures taken prior to changing the Camera settings.

  • 7
    This doesn't really achieve what the question asks, as it not only changes the format of the Air Dropped image but also changes the format used to store images on the iOS device. Following this answer will result in all new photos created on that iOS device being JPEG.
    – bernk
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 23:04
  • 1
    @bernk The OP thought it addressed their issue, that's why it was accepted. If you have a better solution, please add it as it might help others with a similar issue.
    – fsb
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 9:44

I like using HEIC for file storage, so I just set up a simple iOS shortcut that allows me to airdrop JPG’s. You can add the shortcut to the share sheet, so it’s only a small scroll from the standard Airdrop icon.

iOS shortcut example

  • 3
    This is a great answer as opens up other possibilities with shortcuts, also you can click show more for the photos action and use "Select Multiple".
    – WickedW
    Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 8:25
  • I am having trouble figuring out how to create this shortcut. Are there instructions I can see? Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 21:05
  • 3
    @JoePhillips here's my version icloud.com/shortcuts/e455df464625443baca41366b9a2d9e5 You only need to add it to the share sheet.
    – Sebastian
    Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 11:35
  • @Sebastian Tysm for your short cut! It automatically added to my share sheet but as the last of a long list of choices I never use. So I pared down the list and tested an airdrop works like a charm! Really appreciate a solution, even if not what the OP seeks, a solution from Apple.
    – Bill Gale
    Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 18:32

I have had this issue for a while, and this week I decided I was going to find a solution. I work in a firm that is an all Mac environment and we are constantly snapping a pic on our iphone and then airdropping to my Mac desktop or ipad to send/upload to something.

I found a tutorial online using the Automator application that came out in the last OS update. (I kind of forgot about this feature, and was initially excited about it when they made the announcement.)

Here is a link to the tutorial.


I did not use to function to "copy finder item" as I did not want to keep a copy, but this is awesome. Now when I Airdrop a photo in the finder I have a widget shortcut that will convert this image in the finder and replace the HEIC version with a JPG. Hope this helps some of you, as it has been awesome for me!

Here is a screenshot of the end result for the shortcut:

screen shot of Convert to JPG shortcut

There is a lot of really cool things you can do with the Automator tool so check it out!

  • It's better to put the key points of the linked post here because links often go stale resulting in a useless answer. The screenshot of the end result is good, but a text description of how you solved the problem would be super beneficial.
    – Allan
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 23:13

If you’d like to shoot and store HEIF images with iPhone camera and have them automatically convert to JPEG only upon copying to a computer, here are the settings to enable:

  1. Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone and go to “Camera
  2. Choose “Formats” and select “High Efficiency” to capture iPhone photos in HEIF / HEVC format
  3. Recommended, next to go “Photos” and under the ‘Transfer to Mac or PC’ section choose “Automatic” to automatically convert the HEIF images to JPEG upon file transfer

If you’re going to leave HEIF format enabled on iPhone camera, then being sure the automatic image conversion setting is enabled is a good idea, because it will automatically convert the HEIF format images into JPEG format if the pictures are being copied from the iPhone to a Mac or transferred from an iPhone to a Windows PC.

  • 10
    With these settings, when I AirDrop a photo to a Mac, the photos appear on the Mac in HEIC format.
    – arlomedia
    Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 1:44
  • 1
    Yep, same for me. "Automatic" just makes sure the file is compatible with the receiving device, and HEIF is readable by a Mac so it just stays in that format.
    – Brian R
    Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 21:05
  • This does not work. Photos which are taken and stored in HEIC on my iPhone remain in HEIC after airdrop to my MacBook Pro.
    – Bill Gale
    Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 18:11

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