Users of the iPhone 14 Pro Max had only three photo-taking options up until this point: standard 12-megapixel JPEG or HEIF, 12-megapixel ProRAW, and 48-megapixel ProRAW. With iOS 17, both iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15 users will have a new image capture option, HEIF Max.
While the ability to capture photographs at 48 megapixels isn’t technically new, users could only do it using the ProRAW format, which is an unprocessed image. Although the technique produces substantially superior photos, a single photo in ProRAW can cause a 75MB file. This is where HEIF Max comes in.
Users can snap photographs in 48-megapixel resolution and save them in a compressed file using HEIF Max. A HEIF Max photo is roughly 5MB, meaning it has more detail than a typical 12-megapixel shot, but takes up considerably less storage space than a ProRAW image.
Last year, I wrote about how the iPhone 14 Pro should support 48MP non-RAW shots since the increased resolution adds more depth to the image, and Smart HDR is far less aggressive with very high-quality images. In the Camera app, HEIF Max accomplishes exactly that.
Apple has also added a great new shortcut in the Camera app to swap between formats. The iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 15, and iPhone 15 Pro are all compatible with this feature.