Change these 3 camera settings in iOS 11

With a new file format and photo filters, there are some new camera settings iPhone photographers need to check or change.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
2 min read

Changes to Live Photos may have grabbed headlines, but iOS 11 introduces some under-the-hood changes to the way your iPhone snaps photos. The biggest of which is the new HEIF file format that replaces JPEG. Let's have a look at the best way to set up your iPhone's camera with these new features.

1. Embrace HEIF

The HEIF format for photos offers better compression than JPEG to save you space on your iPhone's storage. The downside? It's not as compatible with hardware and software that has for years been geared toward the ubiquitous JPEG. Thankfully, there's a way to set up your iPhone so that you get the space-saving benefits of HEIF and the compatibility of JPEG.

To set your iPhone to capture photos in the new HEIF format, go to Settings > Camera > Formats and choose High Efficiency.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

2. Automatically export HEIF photos as JPEGs

Even if you shoot in HEIF, you can set it to automatically convert HEIF files to JPEGs when you export them. It's a win-win. To set your iPhone to export photos as JPEGs, go to Settings > Photos and set Transfer to Mac or PC to Automatic.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

3. Don't preserve settings

I'm throwing this setting in here even though it's not new because with the new Live Photos features and additional photo filters, you might be using both features more than in the past. I hate it when I take a Live Photo or a square photo or a video and then the next time I go to snap a photo, the Camera app opens to the last mode I used. The vast majority of the time I just want to use the standard Photo mode, so I want the Camera app to open to that mode each time instead of whatever mode I used last.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

If you go to Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings, you can set which settings the camera carries over from one photo session to the next. There are toggles for Camera Mode, Filter and Live Photo. I keep the first two toggled off so that the last Camera Mode and Filter I used are not preserved. I keep the Live Photo setting toggled on so that it's not automatically reset to be on all the time because I hate trying to snap a photo and capture a Live Photo by mistake. I like to have a plain ol' still photo as my default and then tap to manually switch to Live Photo mode as the need arises.

Read more: 5 ways your iPhone 7 Plus' camera is getting upgraded