3

I’ve seen lots of tutorials online explaining how to convert iOS HEIC files to JPEGs but I can’t seem to find any easy way to bulk convert existing JPEG photos to HEIC?

The reason being is I really like HEIC as a storage format: It easily makes image file sizes 5x to 10x smaller than JPEG equivalents which not only saves space but makes syncing the library to other devices quicker as well.

So I would like to convert all past images in my macOS Photo library to HEIC two take advantage of these benefits. Do any such tools exist?

While I understand how to bulk convert images outside of macOS Photos using ImageMagick and simple Bash scripting, I would like to avoid doing a bulk export, conversion via non-Photos tools and then reimport because that seems messy at best.

I mean Apple is really promoting the use of HEIC within their apps nowadays; why not have some way to easily do that within the macOS Photos application itself?

  • 1
    I'd dupe your entire library file[folder] before attempting anything. There are many apps that can do the conversion, that's the easy bit. Getting Photos to recognise the new files is going to be the hard part. – Tetsujin Jul 6 at 16:57
  • 1
    I think until, or unless, Apple includes this function within Photos, I'd just buy a bigger storage drive, really. Messing with Photos' 'master' structure is a f****g nightmare. Even persuading it what date a picture was taken is fraught ;) Your Q gets an upvote, btw - I'd love to see someone figure this out… I just won't be holding my breath ;) – Tetsujin Jul 6 at 17:00
  • 1
    @Tetsujin Well, my macOS Photos library is less than 10GB so it is not a local storage issue. I would like to shrink it all down so it’s all easier/quicker to sync to new devices. 10GB is small, but 3GB to 5GB for the same data at a similar quality is even smaller. – Giacomo1968 Jul 6 at 17:02
  • 2
    Unless somebody writes a plugin to manipulate photos in place (if this is even possible), converting all the JPGs outside of Photos, deleting them from the library and then reimporting seems to be the only way. Which of course means that you loose all the albums etc. – nohillside Jul 6 at 17:04
  • 2
    @nohillside I would accept that — and other details you provide in your comments — as an answer. An educated answer that is basically shrugging “Beats me!” is acceptable. Part of the reason I asked this is Apple is pushing HEIC so — at least to me — some kind of built-in bulk convert function would be useful. – Giacomo1968 Jul 6 at 17:15
2

Unless somebody writes a plugin to manipulate photos in place, converting all the JPGs outside of Photos, deleting them from the library and then reimporting seems to be the only way. Which of course means that you loose all the albums etc.

As for a plugin, I wouln't be surprised if this is nearly impossible to do as plugins usually manipulate just the content of a photo, they change neither file type nor file name. And with the in-place editing Photos provides (and the versioning/edit history this requires) even a hack accessing photos.db directly will be challenging to do.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks! Sadly accurate answer. Hopeful in the coming months and years someone new macOS update will happen and someone posts, “Wait! Do this…” or something like that. Thanks again for posting this as an answer. – Giacomo1968 Jul 6 at 17:27
  • 1
    @JakeGould You're welcome! I kind of hate such answers actually, but a quick look at the DB tables Photos uses to manage the library made it rather obvious that they are not supposed to be played with by mere humans :-) – nohillside Jul 6 at 17:45
  • I'm surprised none of the comments point this out... you don't go from a lossy format (JPEG) to another lossy format (HEIC). There's almost always no reason to. – Marc Wilson Jul 7 at 23:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .