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How Do I Backup Photos In iCloud That Retain the HEIC Format?

I am trying to make a copy of my Photos on my MacBook to an external device (i.e. hard drive, Microsoft OneDrive or flash drive). I have tried copying the photo and also exporting it within the Photos app but either way the photo it is converted from the HEIC to JPEG format. For example, ‘IMG_1517.HEIC’ gets converted to ‘IMG_1517.jpeg’. I do not see a way to preserve the HEIC format. Is there anyway to export the HEIC photo exactly as it is in the Mac Photos app?

I want to have a secondary backup of my pictures that are stored in iCloud Drive.

Comments: 2 Responses to “How Do I Backup Photos In iCloud That Retain the HEIC Format?”

    2 years ago

    Here are three methods. But both rely on having the "Optimize" feature turned off. With it off, every photo is there in the library. If it is turned on, the second method may still work, but it would need to download everything first anyway, so you might as well have it turned off.

    The first method is to just copy the entire Photos Library. Just drag and drop the .photoslibrary to an external drive or online storage. This is quick and simple.

    The second is to export, which I think is what you are trying. But my guess is that you are either dragging and dropping or using the standard export function. You need to use File, Export, Export Unmodified Originals. This will get you the images in their original format, such as HEIC for newer photos. The problem with this method is you are backing up your photos but missing the edits and organization, like albums. You just get the photo files.

    The third method is to just use Time Machine as normal. If Optimize is off then everything is there in your library and Time Machine backs that up along with everything else.

    The third option is best because you are backing up hourly, not just when you remember to do it. And you get all of your other files too. And you don't need to DO anything, just let Time Machine continue to work. This is the method I use and recommend.

    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for the detailed explanations! I really appreciate your help and your daily MacMost podcast. Your podcast is something that I look forward to each day!

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