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The ‘weird’ image format of the iPhone caused students to fail the exam

Nick Bryner, a student in Los Angeles, just finished his English test last week. Because US schools were closed due to the influence of COVID-19, Nick was forced to take the test at home. The process of doing the test will be: write it down on paper, take a photo with your phone, and submit the paper by uploading the image file before the time is up.

However, to the last step, Nick had difficulty uploading image files to the school’s website. You cannot upload any image files, as the school website only displays the “Loading” message. The test time is up and Nick cannot submit the test.

As a result, Nick will have to study and retake the exam in a few weeks.

So hasn’t Nick done anything wrong? Or is this the school website error? In fact, both are not the reason. The real reason lies in Nick’s iPhone, when the image file it takes is not an accepted standard.

Like most photo upload websites today, the website that Nick took the exam to is College Board accepts three types of image files: JPG, JPEG and PNG. But by default, recent iPhones have used the HEIC image format.

Many students cannot submit exams because of the HEIC image file format of iPhone.

HEIC has been used by Apple since 2017 to replace JPG. It has the advantage of higher compression, thereby helping to smaller file sizes. However, this is not yet a common and widely accepted standard. Currently, only Apple (and more recently Samsung) uses HEIC.

The weird image format of the iPhone caused students to fail the exam | Mobile & Social

Apple first introduced HEIC in 2017.


Nick is not the only one having problems with Apple’s “weird” image standards. Another student, Dave Spencer, was more careful when taking the College Board mock exam. When he met the HEIC file, he decided to convert it to JPG, and the submission process was normal.

However, Dave does not know that changing the file extension is not the same as changing the format. During the actual exam, he applied a similar “tactic” to change the file extension – only one day later, he received an email saying that the test file had an error, causing him to retake it just like Nick.

Even technologically savvy people are hardened by HEIC. Sean S., a student in Chicago, uses the Windows Photo app on his PC to convert HEIC to JPG. However, the conversion process took more than 5 minutes, causing him to miss submission time.

Reply The Verge, College Board said the majority of students can submit successfully, and the rate of failure to submit papers is less than 1%. However, College Board recommends students and school administrators to set up iPhone to use JPG image format, instead of HEIC.

The weird image format of the iPhone caused students to fail the exam | Mobile & Social

College Board teaches students how to set up iPhone camera to take JPEG photos instead of HEIC


To avoid the hassle of converting file formats, users are recommended to set up iPhone using the traditional JPG file format. To do this, users can go to Settings> Camera> Format> Most compatible.

[ Æsir Tales ]
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