Updated for October 2021
You just upgraded your iPhone. As the top of the box slowly separates from the bottom, you can’t stop thinking about all of the AMAZING pictures you’re going to take.
You set it up and open the camera app for the first time. “Omg, I can’t wait to test out the new lens.” You go to snap a picture and…
It’s grainy? 🤨
(2021 update: As Apple software and hardware continue to improve, it’s unlikely that you’ll see a difference between .HEIC and .JPEG format. I recommend that you keep your photo settings in High Efficiency unless you see a noticeable difference in photo quality.)
Well today, my friends, I’m going to tell you how to fix this! You can watch the quick 2-minute IGTV video here, but if you prefer to see the text + screenshots, just scroll on along.
iPhone Camera Settings Hack
Alright fam. This is gonna be a one-click change. Go ahead and open up your Settings app, and then scroll down to the Camera option. Tap on Camera.
In there, you’ll see a few options, but we want to look at the Formats. Tap Formats.
Now here, you’ll see two different options: High Efficiency and Most Compatible. If you’ve ever AirDropped or transferred your phone photos to your computer, you might notice that the file format is sometimes .HEIC. This means High Efficiency.
High Efficiency vs. Most Compatible
The iPhone will default to High Efficiency because this will optimize space on your phone. If you struggle with low storage, then keep it as High Efficiency unless you REALLY notice a difference in quality. Most Compatible will not compress your photo and will save it with a .JPG file format.
Additionally, if you have an iPhone, but you use a Windows computer, you’ll probably want to use Most Compatible. This will ensure that your files are easily transferable between your phone and your computer.
Most of the time, you aren’t going to be able to tell the difference between the two formats. But, if you’re photographing something with a lot of detail like hair, pets, and artwork, you might notice that if you zoom in really close, your photo will be grainy.
To avoid this, just tap on the Most Compatible option. Voila! No more grainy photos.
If this post was helpful, let me know in the comments! Also don’t forget to share this post with your friends so that we can ALL enjoy crisp, sharp images.
While you’re here, do you also want to up level your Instagram aesthetic? Get my free Lightroom Mobile preset here!
About the writer
Hi there! I’m Emily, and I’m a brand photographer for passionate small business owners who want to stand out online as local industry leaders.
I, my (dog) daughter, and my fiancé are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here at Emily Kim Photography, I provide creative, strategic marketing imagery that are in line with your business goals.