HEIC image files very slow on older Mac

Hello all.

First time poster here. I am struggling with just how slow HEIC image files preview and open on an older Mac (MBP late 2015; 16GB; Catalina 10.15.7). I shoot images with an iPhone SE 2020, which saves to the new image file format. I largely store images in a dedicated Devonthink database. My problem is that reviewing and opening these HEIC files on the Mac is painfully slow (Finder, Preview, and DT). If I click an image in DT, it takes a few second to render, and the preview shows blocks becoming visible one at the time rather than the entire image at once. With just one or two images, that’s fine, but I deal with hundreds and finding my way through a batch is a frustrating experience. I’ve seen some reports online of people complaining how Preview also struggles with this, but I don’t know of any good solutions.

I know that my MBP is ancient, but JPGs of a similar size render without delay. I’m saving for a replacement MBP and I’ll assume that on the M1 processors generation this problem has gone away. I’ll still need a solution for the moment. Do you have any recommendations?

  • is there is way to speed up loading of HEIC on older Macs?
  • if not, am I better off moving back to taking photos in JPG; and/or batch converting the 100s of files I already have to speed up my workflow?
  • if conversion is the answer, what batch tool would you recommend?

Thanks so much.

I still use a DSLR and all of its photos that I want to share become JPEGs. And my iPhone is set to take my quick snaps in “Most Compatible” format, aka JPEG.

There are an enormous number of photographers with an enormous number of images stored as JPEGs. This is one time I hope Apple’s format does not win out.

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It is not an Apple proprietary format, it is an open standard that Apple adopted:

As computers become more powerful, it makes sense to develop better algorithms to store photos, videos and music. As it says on this page, “A HEIF image using HEVCrequires less storage space than the equivalent quality JPEG

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Does anyone else besides Apple support it and have the market share and push behind it to have a chance of becoming the new standard?

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I just tested opening an HEIC image in Preview from DT on an M1 Max and it rendered in blocks noticeably slowly. I think DT is not the right tool to store and manage these and it’s not your computer being old. I’m not really a photo management guy (I just lazily keep everything in Photos) so I don’t know what else to suggest.

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Thanks for all your comments.

@cornchip I am sure you are right DT isn’t optimal for photo libraries. I use it because of being able to easily ‘get item links’ to files and folders, and so compile my own lists of contents to various databases on a project basis (in markdown notes across DT and Obsidian). I’m not much up on photo managers that support that sort of ‘contextual computing’ and linking. I chose to move all my research documents into DT for a unified experience, but I’m sure there’s ways to handle image libraries more effectively. I may need to have another look at https://tropy.org which I never gave a real spin.

But I’m glad it isn’t perhaps my 2015 MBP (which is still a great machine!), and that HEIC might have some time to go before it beds in for all sorts of use. I get it is the more efficient format, perhaps behaves better in editing, but in my use cases, that’s unlikely to matter (my photos are all for research reference: of old books and manuscripts, and not photographs that would ever need to be manipulated or made ready for print). So I’ve taken @karlnyhus’s advice and have switched the iPhone back to ‘Most Compatible’.

Thanks folks :smile: