A HEIC (High-Efficiency Image Codec) file is a new image format introduced by Apple with its iOS 11 update for iPhones and iPads. It's an advanced image compression standard that allows for reduced file sizes without significantly compromising image quality. This format helps in storing high-resolution photos in smaller sizes compared to the traditional JPEG format, hence optimizing storage on devices.
HEIC files also support storing multiple images in one file (like Live Photos) and 16-bit color, which is an improvement over JPEG's 8-bit color. However, not all platforms and devices support HEIC natively yet, leading users to sometimes convert HEIC images to more universally accepted formats like JPEG.