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Picture Uploads from iPhone to Dropbox (file size varies)

Explorer | Level 4

I just took a picture on my iPhone X. I have Camera Uploads enabled so it uploads to my Dropbox and is titled "2020-02-12 13.07.52.jpg". The file size shows as 8,905KB on my Win 10 PC. Back to the phone. In iPhone Photos I select the picture and email it. It asks which size I desire to send, I select Actual Size showing 4.1MB. When the email is received and the photo saved, it is titled "IMG_4683.jpg" and has a file size of 4,214KB. Back to the iPhone, select the picture and instead of emailing it, select "Save to Dropbox". It is also titled "IMG_4683.jpg" and its size is also 4,214KB. Finally, connecting the IPhone directly to my PC and copying it from the DCIM subfolder. It is also default titled "IMG_4683.JPG" and its size is 6,155KB. Other than the file size, the Properties (Details) for each of these picture files contain identical numbers (resolution, etc.)

So I have the same picture moved to the PC using various methods resulting in three different file sizes. Yet they all appear to be identical. Why does the automatic Upload to Camera create files that are 2+ times larger than the other methods? If they are all actually identical, it would appear that automatically uploading the photos is not an efficient use of hard drive space and creates files that are larger than they need to be. Can anyone explain this? I just want to get the original size pictures off my iPhone to my PC -- nothing more, nothing less. The Upload to Camera would be great unless it's ballooning up file size.

8 Replies 8
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Re: Picture Uploads from iPhone to Dropbox (file size varies)

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hi @ph33, thanks for posting today!

Dropbox doesn’t modify your files in any way, especially with camera uploads. It only automatically renames them when using camera uploads to keep a uniform naming profile. Resizing images in any way is beyond what the app can do.

What I believe could be key here is you’re on an iOS device. Are you using iCloud to backup your photos as well, and is Optimize Phone storage enabled in the iCloud settings?

Keep me posted!


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Picture Uploads from iPhone to Dropbox (file size varies)

Explorer | Level 4

I don't use iCloud on my iPhone.  It's easy to replicate what I described.  Take a picture and move it to your computer the various ways I described.  You'll see you end up with three vastly different file sizes.  Can someone explain this?  Thanks for the quick response.  

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Re: Picture Uploads from iPhone to Dropbox (file size varies)

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Is the image saved as a heic file on your iPhone?

Have you enabled conversion of the heic file to JPG format on the Dropbox mobile app in the camer auploads section?

Did you choose the automatic or 'keep originals' option when importing to your PC from the iOS settings page?

This page has more info on the HEIC format and the various settings I mentioned above.


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Picture Uploads from iPhone to Dropbox (file size varies)

Explorer | Level 4

They appear to be saved as JPG on the phone.  That's the extension showing when looking at them on the computer when the phone is connected via USB (DCIM, etc).  

Yes regarding enabling the conversion to JPG on the Dropbox Mobile App (Save HEIC Photos As - (JPG is recommended and checked)

"Automatic" is selected in the IOS settings (Photos/Transfer to Mac or PC)

With those settings I'm still perplexed as to why the method I choose to move the pictures to my PC yield files of varying sizes.  Am I missing something?  

Thanks for working on this.

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Re: Picture Uploads from iPhone to Dropbox (file size varies)

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

One last thing to check, let me know what image option is saved originally here?

  • Go to the iOS Settings app
  • Tap Camera
  • Tap Formats

Keep me posted!


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Picture Uploads from iPhone to Dropbox (file size varies)

Explorer | Level 4

High Efficiency is currently checked.

Thx.

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Re: Picture Uploads from iPhone to Dropbox (file size varies)

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Thanks for the info. This means you’re storing photos on your phone in the high efficiency HEIC format.

Just so you know, while the way an iPhone saves and exports its pictures isn’t obvious in terms of its internal process, I can imagine it goes like the following:

  • The picture is taken via the camera app.
  • The iOS device keeps the original quality on the phone in HEIC format, which uses the least amount of disk space.
  • Dropbox makes the conversion to JPG when using the ‘Save HEIC photos as’ when using the automatic camera upload.
  • iOS will convert the image itself to JPG when using the ‘Transfer to Mac or PC’ option.
  • Emailing the image directly from the phone, or uploading it manually, should also convert the image somehow through iOS, though this isn’t listed in their options.

Essentially, in all three cases, the HEIC file is compressed to a JPG image, which makes the filesize larger than a normal HEIC file. I can’t vouch for the quality of the compression differences between when the Dropbox mobile app does it, and the iOS ‘Transfer to Mac or PC’ option, hence the filesize differences as two different apps are making the changes.

As to how the image is added to Dropbox manually, or when emailed to you, and the image is the smallest size, I don’t think it’s HEIC, since it ends in a .JPG image. I honestly don’t know how it's done, so it might be worth checking with Apple, since this is directly through their own system.

While I don’t have all the answers for you (the adding of the image directly to Dropbox and emailing it to you is unknown to me), hopefully this should shed some light on the matter.


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Picture Uploads from iPhone to Dropbox (file size varies)

Explorer | Level 4

This does definitely shed light on the situation and I appreciate your efforts here.  Your observations make sense and would account for the varying file sizes.  And agree the IOS conversions from HEIC to JPG are in Apple's realm for additional questions.  So now that we have narrowed this down, is it fair for me to ask why the conversion from HEIC to JPG that is done by the Dropbox Mobile App, yields file sizes that are always 2+ times larger than the JPGs that are created by same conversion done by IOS?  Isn't this a DropBox question?

I'd love to enable the Dropbox Camera Upload option, but going that route turns out creating files twice as large as, for example using "Transfer to Mac or PC", with no differences in image dimensions, resolution, etc.  

Thanks again for you perserverance.

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