I just took five pictures on an iPhone 11 and then AirDropped them to my Mac Mini. I noticed that every other image has the file extension .HEIC in uppercase.

I am pretty sure that I have noticed this before, only just today thought to ask about it. Does anyone have any idea why this might be?

some images that I Airdropped

  • 1
    Interesting observation. Are the files from different camera modes? This never occurred to me with Camera (iPhone 8) + AirDrop. As a side note: I set all file extensions in my download folder to lowercase using a Hazel rule.
    – lejonet
    Mar 15, 2021 at 9:18
  • not that I'm aware of. I just the pictures one after another, all in portrait mode.
    – chaimp
    Mar 16, 2021 at 2:16
  • It could be that as portrait mode automatically adjusts for different focal points, maybe there is some automatic toggle of modes where one mode is hard-coded to save in all caps and the other lowercase. Just a wild guess. no clue...
    – chaimp
    Mar 16, 2021 at 2:17
  • Is your filesystem case sensitive?
    – iTunes
    Apr 6, 2021 at 21:24
  • @iTunes apparently no. I just tried to create two files - test and tEsT and the second could not as the name was taken.
    – chaimp
    Apr 7, 2021 at 1:04

2 Answers 2


I found this question when I was looking for confirmation for my findings - it appears the upper case extension is used when images have not been edited on the iPhone, whereas lowercase extension is used when the images have been edited and the changes have been applied to the imported .heic images. At this point, it is not clear if this has been done on purpose or it is just plain old dev laziness/understaffed QA team. Knowing Apple I would say it is the second.

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  • oh wow! That makes perfect sense. Great observation!
    – chaimp
    Feb 6, 2022 at 15:37

There is no functional difference, it's solely down to the programming decisions of the originating program. Some choose to do it fully uppercase, some do not.

  • 7
    I understand that. I am curious why the exact same program - Camera for iOS - sometimes capitalizes the extension and other time does not.
    – chaimp
    Mar 7, 2021 at 23:05
  • 1
    or for that matter, if the naming convention is being mangled at the time of airdrop for some reason
    – chaimp
    Mar 7, 2021 at 23:06

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