Why iPhones Suddenly Caused Students to Fail AP Tests

Using iPhone 11 Credit: New Africa / Shutterstock
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Apple switched over to the HEIC image container format with iOS 11 as a way to save space on image storage. Even though it has been almost three years since this switchover, this image format is still causing issues for iPhone and iPad owners, especially when they need to share their photos with others. Currently, HEIC is messing with high school seniors who are having problems submitting their Advanced Placement test results.

According to a report from The Verge, high school students around the country are failing their AP tests because the online portal to submit test results cannot process HEIC.

Students are instructed to take a photo of their written test and upload it to the testing portal. Instead of successfully handling the images, the portal stops responding, and the submission is not accepted. Incredulously, students then are told they must schedule a make-up exam.

After receiving a ton of complaints, the College Board updated its website, instructing students to change their iPhone or iPad settings, so their iOS devices save the photos as a JPG instead of a HEIC. This change, of course, means all photos going forward will be saved as JPGs. iOS owners will then lose the most significant advantage of HEIC – storage space.

HEIC files are much smaller than JPGs, about half the size, allowing users to store around two times more photos on their iPhone and iPad.

Convert to JPG

Instead of changing how the iPhone and iPad takes photos, students can easily convert their HEIC images before uploading them to the College Board’s website. It’s a win-win situation, students won’t waste valuable storage space and they can still pass their placement exam.

  1. The quickest and easiest way to save a photo to JPG is to open it in the Photos app on the iOS device and modify it by cropping, adding a filter, or similar edit. After editing, the file is converted to JPG and is no longer stored as HEIC.
  2. Students also can transfer the image files to their Mac by sending them using Messages, which will automatically convert the photos to JPG during this process.
  3. They also can AirDrop them to their Mac, open them in Preview, and save them as JPG.
  4. Anyone who is converting a lot of images can automate it using a macOS QuickAction that’ll convert several files at once with a single click.

These conversion techniques also work with any other online services, like Slack, that cannot handle HEIC files.

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