How to reduce photo file size on iPhone and iPad

Illustration of reducing iPhone photo file size

Over the years, we’ve seen how iPhone cameras have evolved and improved. With great and powerful cameras come great photos and, unfortunately, greater image size. One picture can take up 1.5 to 5MB of space or even more.

There is no straightforward method to resize your images on your Apple device. Thankfully, several workarounds help you reduce the file size of the photos on your iPhone or iPad. I’ll outline them all for you below.

Reasons to change photo file size

  • By resizing your photos, you can save a lot of storage space on your device. This is especially useful since iPhones and iPads do not have expandable memory. 
  • Making your images smaller also helps when you have to send them over email or share them with others via messaging apps.
  • Reducing your image’s file size may also be necessary when uploading to specific sites.

Crop image in Photos app to reduce file size

Open the Photos app → tap the image you want → Editcrop/rotate icon at the bottom of the screen.

Trimming your image a bit may help lower your photo’s image resolution. The Photos app allows you to crop your image to several aspect ratios, but you can also manually crop them.

Change file format in iPhone camera settings

The best way to avoid all the hassle of having to compress or reduce the file size of your iPhone and iPad photos is to take pictures with small file sizes. 

Devices running on iOS 11 and later automatically take heigh-efficiency image format (HEIF) instead of JPEG. The former file size is smaller than JPEG but offers the same quality. Your iPhone or iPad takes images in this file size, but if you unknowingly changed it, here’s how you can re-enable it:

  1. Open Settings → go to Camera.
  2. Tap Formats → choose High Efficiency.

    Change the file format of the image you capture on iPhone

The downside is that HEIF/HEIC isn’t as universally compatible as JPEG. So you may need to convert your photos to a different image format.

Use Shortcuts app to compress images on iPhone

The Shortcuts app is a goldmine for a ton of valuable automation. You have the option to create your own shortcut or download one instead. I’ll discuss both below.

Download a prebuilt shortcut

If you don’t want the hassle of creating your own shortcut (method mentioned below), downloading a premade shortcut is wiser and much easier. To begin:

  1. Download Change Image Quality and Share Shortcut
  2. Tap Add Shortcut and wait for it to be added to the shortcuts on your app.
  3. Open Shortcuts → tap Change Image Quality and Share shortcut.
    You may be asked to give the app access to your photos. Just tap Allow Access.

    Download a prebuilt shortcut
  4. Select a photo you want to resize → tap Add.
  5. Select your preferred image quality.
  6. A prompt asking you to allow the shortcut to share the image/s you resized. Select from Allow Once or Always Allow.
  7. A share tab will appear → tap Save Image.

    Change Image Quality and Share Shortcut

Make your own photo resize shortcut

Creating your own shortcut lets you reduce the image file size on your iPhone or iPad according to  your preference; plus promises to be a more secure and private method:

  1. Open Shortcuts → tap the Add (+) button.
  2. Assign a name for your shortcut → tap Add Action.
  3. Select Categories tab → tap Media.

    Steps to create Resize shortcut in iPhone Shotcuts app
  4. Scroll down and choose Get Images from Input under the Images section.
  5. Tap the blue button on top → toggle Show in Share Sheet → select Done.

    Enable Show in Share Sheet
  6. Drag the Media selection up and choose Resize Image under Image Editing.
  7. You may modify the following:
    • Tap Size and modify the parameters by which you want to resize. You can select Ask Each Time so you can manually specify it each time you run the shortcut.
    • 640 is the default width set by the shortcut. You may want to change it to your preferred width. An option is to change it to 1080, which is the standard value for Instagram posts.
    • Do not alter Auto Height to let your device find the proper height to maintain a balanced proportion. This ensures that the resized images you produce through the shortcut won’t look stretched or weirdly shrunk. 
  8. Tap Done from the options above the keypad.
  9. Drag the Media selection up again and choose Convert Image under Images. If you want to change your resized image’s file format, tap JPEG and select your preferred format.

    Resize and Convert Images in Shortcuts App
  10. Drag the media selection up one last time, then tap Save to Photo Album under Photos. By default, your resized image will be saved to Recents.
    You can change the folder destination by tapping Recents and choosing a different album. 
  11. Tap the Exit (x) button.

    Save to Photo Album Resize Images

To run the shortcut, select an image from your Photo Library. Tap the Share icon on the bottom of your screen. Scroll all the way down and choose Resize Images. A prompt will notify you that your image was successfully resized. 

Use Apple Mail to reduce images size

Another option is to make the photos smaller without the need to crop them. You can quickly reduce the file size of your images by sending them using Apple Mail. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Photos and select the image or images you want to resize.
  2. Tap the Share icon → select Mail from the share options.
  3. Put your email address → hit Send.
  4. A popup window will appear informing you the size of the image and an option to reduce its size to SmallMedium, Large, or retain its Actual Size.
    Mail will send your photo as soon as you select from one of the options.
  5. Open Mail and download your resized image.

    Send to Mail to lower images file size

Use instant messaging apps to compress the image

You may have already noticed, or at least got frustrated at how most messaging apps drastically reduce the resolution and quality of the photo you upload? You can do the same to your photos that need some resizing. 

Just send photos to yourself on any instant messaging app you use, like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger. You can also do the same method to shrink the size of your videos

Third-party iOS apps to reduce image file size

There are also plenty of third-party apps that you can try. Below, I’ll discuss the most trusted options.

1. Image Size

  • Price: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
  • Ratings: 4.7/5 (24.6K Ratings)
  • Compatible devices: iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod Touch

An app like Image Size allows you to easily resize your iPad or iPhone’s photo into whatever size you want. 

  1. Download the Image Size app.
  2. Tap the Photo icon to import the image you want to resize. Tap Allow Access to give the app permission to access your photo library.
  3. Select your photo/s → tap Choose.
  4. Choose from pixelsmillimeterscentimeters, or inches for your image’s resize options. Enter values in the Width and Height sections.

    Choose options to reduce image size on iPhone
  5. Move, reposition, or zoom the image to your preference. You’ll also see the size difference in the original and compressed image size under the photo.
  6. Tap the Download/Save icon at the bottom-left of the screen.

2. Compress Photos & Pictures

  • Price: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
  • Ratings: 4.7/5 (15.6K Ratings)
  • Compatible devices: iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod Touch

Compress Photos & Pictures is another app that helps you quickly resize your images. What’s good about this app is that it compresses your iPhone and iPad photos without needing an internet connection.

  1. Download Compress Photos & Pictures.
  2. Give the app access to your photo library. Select the photo/s you want to resize → tap Next.
  3. Move the slider for Photo quality and Photo dimensions. Once satisfied, tap Compress.
  4. Once done, the app will flash the original file size and the compressed image’s file size.
  5. Tap Delete Original if you do not wish to keep the original photo. Otherwise, select Keep Original.

    Compress Photos & Pictures to reduce photo size on iPhone


Q. How do I make a file smaller on my iPhone?

There are several ways to make files smaller on your iPhone. You can compress files and folders in Files. For images, you can use the Shortcuts app to resize your images. You can crop the photos, send them to Mail, or use a third-party app.

Q. How do I see photo size on iPhone?

To check your photo’s file size, just view the photo from your Photos app and tap the Info (i) button. You can also swipe the image to reveal the camera information, which includes the photo’s file size.

Q. How do I reduce the resolution of a photo on my iPhone?

You can crop the image or send it to your Mail or a messaging app like Whatsapp and Telegram. You may also use a shortcut to resize the picture automatically.

I hope I was able to help you out with this tutorial—let me know if you’ve found any other way of compressing photos on your iPhone or iPad. Save space on your device or increase the file size and get your memories printed—it’s up to you now.

Video: Resize or reduce photo file size on iPhone

YouTube video

Wrapping up…

You may need to reduce the size of photos on your iPhone or iPad to salvage some more storage space on your device. It may also help you transfer your images from one device to another or share them with people and friends.

Whatever your reason is, you may try one or more of the tips above so that you no longer have to worry about big file sizes and enjoy capturing more memories on your device.

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