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  • AVIF is an image file format that uses AV1 compression, offering better image quality and smaller file sizes compared to JPEG.
  • AVIF supports both still and animated images, high dynamic range (HDR) and standard dynamic range (SDR) content, and various color spaces and depths.
  • AVIF support has been integrated into popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox, as well as software applications and operating systems, but it is still not widely supported by all platforms and messaging apps.

Move over JPEG, there’s a new image file format in town that wants to be king. Powered by the latest media compression techniques, AVIF is finding its way into browsers, software, and operating systems. So what is it, and do you need to do anything?

What is AVIF?

AVIF is an image file format developed by theĀ Alliance for Open MediaĀ that can be used by anyone. It can store both still and animated images with the “.avif” file extension, usingĀ lossless or lossy compression.

AVIF stands for AV1 Image File Format on account of its use of AV1 compression. It is widely seen as a replacement forĀ HEIC (High-Efficiency Image Container), which uses HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) instead of the newer AV1.

In case you’re confused:Ā AV1 compression will eventually replace the older HEVC standard. Since the old HEIC container relies on HEVC, AVIF has been introduced as a new image format that makes use of newer AV1 compression.

What Is AVIF Used For?

AVIF supports bothĀ high dynamic range (HDR)Ā and standard dynamic range (SDR) content, including the commonly-used sRGB and BT.2020 color spaces. It supports color depths of 8, 10, and 12-bits, film grain preservation, transparency likeĀ PNGĀ images, and animations just likeĀ the GIF format.

The new image format boasts better image quality thanĀ JPEGĀ and smaller file sizes, with fewer compressionĀ artifactsĀ and less image blocking. What does all that mean? It is hoped that AVIF can help save data both for content consumers and the web hosts serving up content.

AVIF support has already made it into Google Chrome (version 85), Mozilla Firefox (version 93), and updated versions of the WebKit engine that powers Safari.

A lot of other software already supports AVIF, including image viewers like XnView, media player VLC, Paint.NET, and Adobe Illustrator, and operating systems including Windows 10 and higher, Android 12 and higher, and many Linux distributions.