How To Quickly Convert Images To JPEG, PNG, Or HEIF On macOS

You don’t need an expensive image editor to convert images to popular formats on macOS.

macOS is the name of the operating system that runs on modern Macs. The current macOS is macOS Ventura and it runs on most Macs made in the past 4-5 years, including the new MacBook Airs, the new M2 MacBook Pros, and the new iMacs.

macOS is an astoundingly powerful operating system º yet it’s also one that is beautifully simple. Tasks that would take dedicated apps to carry out on other operating systems can be done thanks to tools built directly into macOS itself, specifically its Finder, which is the Mac version of Windows’ file system.

The macOS finder has wonderfully simple but powerful tools built into it called Quick Actions, which lets you carry out a task by right-clicking on a file and selecting from a menu item. A Quick Action we’ve explored before is the ability to remove backgrounds from images in macOS.

But aether great Quick Action lets you convert images to another format in just a few clicks of the mouse. Here’s what you need to know…

How To Quickly Convert Images To JPEG, PNG, Or HEIF On macOSPin

Do I Need An App To Convert Images To Another Format On Mac?

Thanks to Quick Actions in the macOS Finder, you don’t need a dedicated graphics or image editing app to convert images to the most popular file formats.

That’s because macOS’s Finder has this functionality built directly into the macOS operating system. Called the “Convert Image” Quick Action, the tool lets you easily create a copy of the image you select but in another format than its original.

What Formats Do The “Convert Image” Quick Action Allow Images To Be Converted To?

The “Convert Image” Quick Action allows you to make a copy of an image on your Mac, but saved as one of three image formats. Those formats are:

  • JPEG
  • PNG
  • HEIF

JPEG images are among the most common type of images found on computers and the web. They take up relatively little space (comparably to other formats anyway) and are a good format to use if you want stellar compatibility with other platforms and apps.

PNG images are also widely used in all kinds of apps. Many graphic designers prefer to Wirth with PNG images.

HEIF stands for a High Efficiency Image File. It’s a newer format than JPEG, but benefits from nearly matching JPEG image quality while generally having smaller file sizes.

Besides the “Convert Image” Quick Action giving you three formats to choose from, it also lets you choose the image size of the outputted file: small, medium, large, or actual size. Additionally, you can choose to preserve the original file’s metadata.

What Happens To The Original File When The “Convert Image” Quick Action Is Used?

Before you edit or convert any file on your computer – images files especially – it’s always best to make a backup copy of the original file. You’re responsible for your data, so use best practices like always making backups of the original.

When you use the “Convert Image” Quick Action on an image file, macOS should create a new version of the image file, but in the format and size you specified. The original image file should remain in tack. But again, back up your original files first – just in case.

How To Convert An Image Using The “Convert Image” Quick Action

Converting an image using the “Convert Image” Quick Action is simple:

  1. Find the image you want to convert on your Mac (make sure you have a backup copy of it for safekeeping). Right-click on the image.
  2. From the contextual menu, select Quick Actions > Convert Image.
  3. In the “Convert Image” Quick Action toolbox that appears, select the format you want the original image converted into.
  4. Next, select the converted image’s desired size.
  5. Finally, check the box if you want to preserve the image’s metadata.
  6. Now click the blue Convert To [type of file] button.

The converted image will appear in the same location as the original image. And you can now use the converted image however you want.

Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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