HEIC format support (and workaround for iOS users)


I’ve been trialing Seafile for a while and it is very good, I much prefer it to Nextcloud in nearly every way. One major sticking point is the implementation of Apples image format.

The Seafile iPhone app takes it upon itself to recompress the image as JPG, this is a loss of quality due to JPG being a lossy format. Not to mention JPG does’t support HDR and other photo features (like live photos). In addition you are not storing a bit perfect copy of my data!

It’s also worth noting that the converted JPG is 30-40% larger thant the original HEIC image.

I read a previous conversaion about this and it was stated the image format was not supported by other operating systems (like Android). I don’t think it’s really something you should be worrying about. If a user (like me) chooses to live in the iOS domain I don’t care (or will ever care) that my pictures can’t be rendered on an Android device. Likewise if Android devised a new image format I wouldn’t care that I couldn’t view it on my iPhone. There are plenty of files that I upload that the underlying phone app can not interpret.

I can force the Seafile client to upload the original HEIC image from my phone if I upload via the Files app in iOS. This is ‘ok’ and at least I can upload a bit perfect version of my image. What I find very odd is the Seafile iOS client can’t render HEIC images correctly. I’m not quite sure how you’ve made the native iOS client unable to render it’s own images. Yes you’ve guessed it, the Files app can correctly render the image.

Action points

  • option to turn off JPG converstion in the iOS client.
  • correctly render HEIC within the native iOS client app.



HEIC is not an Apple exclusive format, many relatively modern (updated in the last four years or so) support saving image and video as HEIC and HEVC, I use it on Android and there’s no real reason this should be android exclusive, these formats are open standards. Also I just checked and my phone uploads the .heic files without any transcoding. It might be true that this transcoding step could be a Apple exclusive issue, but it’d also be cool to have HEIC thumbnail support on the server too.

I was not aware that Android was able to handle the format. In which case that adds even more confusion to the whole affair.

If it works on, OSx devices, Windows and Android then why transcode the image when uploading via the Seafile iOS app?

Licensing perhaps?

I found a solution (german iPhone wording, sorry),
Goto Fotos → select Phot(s) → share icon → “Unbearbeitetes Original exportieren” (should be “export unaltered original”) -_> then you are in the file browser and can select the folder to store the image(s) and they are stored as .HEIC format :slight_smile: