Some high school students taking their AP exams online have run into serious trouble with the HEIC image format on the iPhone and the iPad, which does not work with the website the AP College Board uses to accept tests.

ap exam information
As outlined by The Verge, AP exams taken by high school students in the United States have a written component, and the exam requires students to take and upload a photo of their written responses.

Some high schoolers who used an ‌iPhone‌ to upload the photo ran into problems with the HEIC format, which would not upload and caused the students to fail the exam. There are thousands of students who will now need to retake their AP exams, and they're unhappy that the College Board did not anticipate the error before some of the exams were conducted.

The College Board has now provided express instructions to students, letting them know to swap over to a JPEG format on their devices or to convert an HEIC image to JPEG before submitting it. Here are the College Board's instructions:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to Camera and tap it.
  3. Tap on the Formats option. heicformatiphone
  4. Select "Most Compatible."

With the Most Compatible option selected, photos will always be saved as JPEGs instead of in the HEIC file format.

Alternatively, students who have already saved exam photos as HEIC can convert them to JPEGs by mailing the photos to themselves using the Mail app on an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌, which the College Board says is the most reliable way to ensure a file conversion.

The College Board also plans to allow some students who run into issues submitting their tests to provide the images through email, and as mentioned above, the Mail app will do image conversions automatically. This is an option only for future exams, with students who already failed still required to retake the tests.

Apple has been using the HEIC image format since the 2017 release of iOS 11 because HEIC images are smaller than JPEGs, but the HEIC format has not been widely adopted by websites and internet services. Some newer Android smartphones also use the HEIC format.

Tag: HEIF

Top Rated Comments

zorinlynx Avatar
10 months ago
How in the blazes do these people think it's easier to get everyone to change a setting on their phones than to just update the software to accept HEIC?

Any even slightly competent web developer can add the code to convert the image if it's in HEIC, and the libraries to do so are open source and free.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kurosov Avatar
10 months ago

The instructions on the College Boards website look very clear to me - with images and step by step instructions on how to save as JPEG's. I am sorry, I am more worried about the quality of these students who couldn't even follow those instructions if they are sitting for "Advanced" placement tests to get into college.
You expect students to be able to follow step by step instructions before they were written?
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMerik Avatar
10 months ago

It's almost like the instructions went up on the website after the exams went live or something. Yet here you are criticizing the students.
Criticizing the students for not following nonexistent instructions while not reading and comprehending the article. :D Good times.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
teknikal90 Avatar
10 months ago
i cannot understand how this problem was not identified earlier before the software went live.
Any software devs here that could explain?

It seems like an obvious thing...get an iphone, what lots of people in the US use, and try it before it goes live.
There are only two platforms after all...
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yngrshr Avatar
10 months ago

Maybe I'm misreading it, but I took "The College Board has now provided express instructions to students..." to mean that those images and step-by-step instructions were not originally provided to the students that ran into issues.
This is correct, which makes me worried about the quality of the poster who couldn't even follow a simple timeline on how this occurred.


Apple barely does any usability testing with actual customers before shipping out their products and software.
This is not remotely an Apple problem.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMerik Avatar
10 months ago

The instructions on the College Boards website look very clear to me - with images and step by step instructions on how to save as JPEG's. I am sorry, I am more worried about the quality of these students who couldn't even follow those instructions if they are sitting for "Advanced" placement tests to get into college.
Maybe I'm misreading it, but I took "The College Board has now provided express instructions to students..." to mean that those images and step-by-step instructions were not originally provided to the students that ran into issues.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
Top Stories 47 Feature copy

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, and AirPods Rumors, macOS 11.2.2, MagSafe Wallet Revisited

Saturday February 27, 2021 6:00 am PST by
March is right around the corner, and that means our first good opportunity for Apple product launches in 2021 as the company frequently has significant launches in March or April each year. We're hearing rumors about MacBook Pro, iMac, AirPods, and more, although many of these will be coming out at different times over the course of the year. This week also saw a macOS update to address a ...
iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
maxresdefault

HomeKit Essentials Worth Checking Out

Saturday February 27, 2021 7:05 am PST by
HomeKit was slow to take off after its 2014 launch, but now that it's been around for seven years, there are hundreds of HomeKit products available, ranging from doorbells and speakers to TVs, lights, and cameras. In our latest YouTube video, we rounded up some of our favorite HomeKit products that we find most useful. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. HomePod...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
iphone 12 pro display video

iPhone 13 to Include 1TB Storage Option and LiDAR Across the Board, Says Wedbush Analyst

Monday March 1, 2021 4:00 am PST by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 13 could include a 1TB storage option for some models and LiDAR Scanners across the entire lineup, according to a report from Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said that initial Asian supply chain checks gave the firm "increased confidence" that Apple's 5G-driven product cycle would extend well into 2022,...
flat mbp 14 inch feature yellow

Redesigned 14-Inch MacBook Pro Expected to Feature Brighter Mini-LED Display With Slimmer Bezels and More

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:48 am PST by
Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the...
mac mini developer transition kit photo feature

Apple Requiring Developers to Return DTK Mac Minis by March 31

Friday February 26, 2021 3:57 pm PST by
Apple today sent out emails to developers who are in possession of a Developer Transition Kit, asking them to return the machines by March 31. The Developer Transition Kits are Mac minis with A12Z chips that Apple provided for development purposes ahead of the release of the M1 Macs. Apple in the emails provided developers with shipping instructions, and plans to begin collecting the DTKs...
iphone 12 120hz thumbnail feature

Kuo: iPhone 13 Lineup to Feature Smaller Notch and Larger Batteries, 120Hz Display for Pro Models, and More

Monday March 1, 2021 7:50 am PST by
iPhone 13 models will all feature a smaller notch, while the two Pro models will be equipped with low-power LTPO display technology for a 120Hz refresh rate, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Several other sources have previously claimed that some iPhone 13 models will support a 120Hz refresh rate, including display industry analyst Ross Young, leakers ...
unc0ver version 6 release

Jailbreak Tool 'unc0ver' 6.0.0 Released With iOS 14.3 Compatibility

Sunday February 28, 2021 9:26 am PST by
The team behind the "unc0ver" jailbreaking tool for iOS has released version 6.0.0 of its software, which can allegedly be used to jailbreak any device running iOS 11.0 through iOS 14.3 using a kernel vulnerability. The unc0ver website describes how the tool has been extensively tested across a range of iOS devices running various software versions, including an iPhone 12 Pro Max running iOS ...