Learning About Digital Forensics

With iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra (10.13), Apple has introduced a file container format called High Efficiency Image File Format (aka HEIF – evidently it’s pronounced “heef”). Apple is using HEIF to store camera/video/Apple “Live Photos”. ISO/IEC 23008-12-MPEG-H Part 2 / ITU H.265 for compressing the actual still video and picture data.

Also referred to as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). Theoretically, HEIF could use other compression algorithms but Apple is using it specifically with HEVC / H.265. It around halves the file size for confirmed image/video quality. It permits an individual file to contain multiple media (eg multiple animated still pictures AND sound e.g. an Apple “Live Photo”). Apple HEIF images will have a .heic file extension. Apple HEVC encoded movies will have the familiar Quicktime .mov extension but internally they will use HEVC / H.265 compression.

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The ISO Base Media File Format ISO (14496-12) is based upon the Quicktime file structure therefore it will apply to both .heic HEVC and images .mov files. Since it uses a more technical compression algorithm than prior specifications (eg H.264 and JPEG), only recent model Apple devices have the required hardware to make HEVC content.

Software decoding support is evidently available for all Apple devices (presumably running iOS 11 / High Sierra) but playback performance will most likely suffer on old hardware. We … Read the rest