HEIF Imaging

Devices running Android 10 support the HEIC compressed image format, a high efficiency video encoding (HEVC) specific brand of the high efficiency image file format (HEIF) as specified in ISO/IEC 23008-12. HEIC-encoded images offer better image quality with smaller file sizes as compared to JPEG files.

HEIC images are generated by the camera framework requesting an uncompressed image from the camera HAL and sending it to the media subsystem to be encoded by an HEIC or HEVC encoder.


To support the HEIC image format, your device must have a hardware encoder supporting MIMETYPE_IMAGE_ANDROID_HEIC or MIMETYPE_VIDEO_HEVC with the constant quality mode.


To support the HEIC image format on your device, implement an HEIC/HEVC codec and provide support for the required stream configurations, which are the IMPLEMENTATION_DEFINED/YUV streams and JPEG app segment streams.


Implement the HEIC/HEVC codec in constant quality (CQ) mode for the corresponding hardware as follows:

  • The HEVC type codec consumes either the IMPLEMENTATION_DEFINED format with the GRALLOC_USAGE_HW_VIDEO_ENCODER usage or the HAL_PIXEL_FORMAT_YCBCR_420_888 format depending on the image size.
  • The HEIC type codec consumes the IMPLEMENTATION_DEFINED format with the GRALLOC_USAGE_HW_IMAGE_ENCODER usage.


In the static metadata, set ANDROID_HEIC_INFO_SUPPORTED to true, and ANDROID_HEIC_INFO_MAX_JPEG_APP_SEGMENTS_COUNT to a value between [1, 16], indicating the number of JPEG app segments.

For each mandatory stream combination, your camera device must support swapping a JPEG stream with a HEIC stream of the same size.

For an HEIC output stream at the public API, the camera service creates two HAL internal streams:

  • A BLOB stream with the JPEG_APPS_SEGMENT usage flag to store app segments including EXIF and thumbnail segments
  • An IMPLEMENTATION_DEFINED or YCBCR_420_888 stream the size of the HEIC stream depending on the target codec and HEIC stream size

Based on ANDROID_HEIC_INFO_MAX_JPEG_APP_SEGMENTS_COUNT, the camera framework allocates buffers large enough for the camera HAL to populate the JPEG app segments. The APP1 segment is required but segments following the APP1 segment (APP2 and above) are optional. The camera framework overrides the EXIF tags in the APP1 segment that can be derived from the capture result metadata or are related to the main image bitstream and sends them to MediaMuxer.

Because the media encoder embeds the orientation in the metadata of output images, to ensure a consistent orientation between the main image and thumbnail, the camera HAL must not rotate the thumbnail image based on android.jpeg.orientation. The framework writes the orientation into the EXIF metadata and HEIC container.

The static, control, and dynamic metadata tags related to the JPEG format also apply to the HEIC format. For example, the android.jpeg.orientation and android.jpeg.quality metadata tags in the capture request are used to control the orientation and quality of HEIC images.

To use the HEIC format in an application, use the HEIC public API.

For more information, see the following sources.

Camera HAL

Graphic buffer data space

Graphic buffer usage space


To validate that your implementation supports HEIC images, use the TestingCamera2 test application and run the following camera CTS and VTS tests.

Camera CTS tests

Camera VTS tests