Why do my videos that I transfer to PC have no picture and only sound?

If you transfer your photos and videos to your PC and the videos cannot be played back on the PC and have no picture and only sound, or if the transferred files have a different file size than the files your iOS device offers you via the USB cable, this is most likely due to the settings your iOS device uses to record the photos and videos.

iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra introduced support for these new, industry-standard media formats:

  • HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) for photos
  • HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), also known as H.265, for videos

HEIF and HEVC offer better compression than JPEG and H.264, so they use less storage space on your devices and iCloud Photos, while preserving the same visual quality.

When using iOS 11 or later, the following devices can capture media in HEIF or HEVC format. Other devices can view, edit, or duplicate this media with limitations, if using iOS 11 or later or macOS High Sierra or later.

  • iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus or later
  • iPad (6th generation) or later
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro (10,5 inch)
  • iPad Pro (11 inch)
  • iPad Pro (12,9 inch, 2nd generation) or later

Since iOS 12, all new iPhones and iPads record photos and videos in HEIF and HEVC formats as standard. Older devices and Windows PC's often do not have the capabilities to display or play these formats. With videos, for example, this means that the sound track may work but no picture can be displayed. Because the HEIF and HEVC files are usually much smaller than the JPEG or H.264 versions it is a common misconception that PhotoSync transfers the files in low quality.

In which format you receive the photos and videos from your iOS device has a lot to do with the settings on the device, in which format photos and videos are saved, but also in which format they are exported. The available options are:

The iOS device continues to capture photos and videos in JPEG and H.264 format and creates more broadly compatible files

To continue capturing media in older formats that are more compatible with other devices and operating systems, perform the following operations on your iOS device:

  • Go to Settings > Camera.
  • Tap Formats.
  • Tap Most Compatible. This setting is available only on devices that can capture media in HEIF or HEVC format, and only when using iOS 11 or later.

All new photos and videos will now use JPEG or H.264 format. To return to using the space-saving HEIF and HEVC formats, choose High Efficiency.

PhotoSync converts the photos and videos to the old, compatible format during transfer

If you have your iOS device record in High Efficiency Format but cannot play the files on your PC, you can instruct PhotoSync to convert photos and videos to the compatible JPEG or H.264 format before transferring them to your computer, which your computer can usually play. The photos and videos do not lose any quality through conversion, the files will only get larger.

Enable the conversion in PhotoSync in the settings for the respective transfer destination. For the computer, this would be in the PhotoSync settings under Configure, Computer, Transfer. To convert photos to the more compatible JPEG format, set HEIF/HEIC -> JPEG to On. To convert videos to the more compatible H.264 format, set HEVC -> H264 to On.

If you connect your iOS device to your computer with the USB cable, the computer will also provide you with access to your photos and videos. Don't get the idea of comparing these offered files with the files transferred by PhotoSync unless you know that both PhotoSync and your iOS device deliver the identical formats. In iOS, this export behavior can be changed in iOS 11 or later. Go to Settings > Photos. In the TRANSFER TO MAC OR PC section, tap Keep Originals, to prevent media recorded as HEIF/HEVC from being converted to JPEG or H.264 format when exported via USB. If you selected Automatic in the TRANSFER TO MAC OR PC, iOS will decide in which format it offers the files depending on the connected device. For a connected PC and a Mac that does not yet use High Sierra, the files are automatically converted to JPEG/H.264 format; for other devices, the files are delivered as HEIF/HEVC.

You install extensions for the High Efficiency Format on your computer

If you have a Windows 10 computer that is reasonably powerful, you can also install the extensions offered by Microsoft to display HEIF photos and HEVC videos on the Windows computer using the integrated viewers. In the Microsoft Store you can download the extension for HEIF image files under https://www.microsoft.com/de-de/p/heif-image-extensions/9pmmsr1cgpwg, the extensions for HEVC video files under https://www.microsoft.com/de-de/p/hevc-video-extensions-from-device-manufacturer/9n4wgh0z6vhq. Alternatively, you can use free video players such as the VLC Media Player to play HEVC videos.

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