JPEG XL could let you pack twice as many photos into your phone

But there’s a war brewing, and JPEG XL isn’t alone. Apple and Google have their own ideas.

JPEG turns 25 this year, a remarkable achievement when you think about how the latest smartphone becomes ho-hum in a matter of months. But to celebrate JPEG’s birthday, we might finally be seeing something better.

That’s because the Joint Photographic Experts Group has begun work on a successor, called JPEG XL that at a minimum should cut photo file sizes by 60 percent.

The more efficient format yields a big advantage: By more than halving photo sizes, it’ll let you fit more than twice as many shots on your phone, cut spending on cloud storage services and ease your data usage when browsing the web or sharing snapshots with your friends.

But don’t rejoice just yet, because other next-gen photo format contenders are also under development — and they have big-name backers. That could mean the long reign of JPEG might end with heirs squabbling to claim the throne, rather than a smooth succession.

One format, now called AVIF (AV1 Image Format), is under development by Mozilla, Google, Netflix and others. Another, MIAF (Multi-Image Application Format), is a simplified version of a format called HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) that Appleand Microsoft are already enthusiastic about. Apple employees have been involved in MIAF at the standards group that produced HEVC, a video compression standard.

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