Ability to View HEIC files in SpeedGrader Preview


Many of the new iPads and iPhones have HEIC files for their photos.  If a student is required to upload a file to Canvas this file isn't compatible with the speedgrader preview.  In order for a teacher to view this, he or she must download each individual document and then open them.  This is extremely cumbersome, time consuming, and takes up a lot of space.  Is there any way that the HEIC files can be added to the list of files that automatically preview in speedgrader?  The example I would use would be if a teacher gives her students a math problem to work out.  She wants to see their work, so they must take a picture of the page, then upload that picture to Canvas.  Using the new iPhones causes the picture to be in HEIC format which is not compatible for preview in speedgrader.


Official Response: March 15, 2021

Thanks to everyone for participating in this thread. Our support and engineering teams have determined that DocViewer is unable to render .heic files, as this file type is a part of the x265 library and our main rendering software does not currently support it due to it being patented and requiring licensing.

Since this is not functionality we will be able to implement, we have archived the idea. Our teams have compiled a list of solutions:
Mac users that have a .heic file can:
  • Open the .heic file in Preview
  • Click “File”
  • Click “Export”
  • Change the format to .jpeg
  • Save the file
  • Upload the .jpeg version of the file
 iPhone users that want to change their iPhones to save as .jpeg instead:
  • Go to the Settings app
  • Go to the Camera settings section
  • Click Formats
  • Select “Most Compatible”
  • New photos will be saved as .jpeg
iPhone users that want to keep using .heic but still upload the right file to Canvas:
  • Use the Canvas app
  • When submitting the file, select “File Upload”
  • In the page for choosing a file, use the “Camera” or the “Library” option. When using those options, the iPhone will take the picture as .heic but it will pass the Canvas app a .jpeg version automatically.
iPhone users that have .heic files but not in their Photos app, and instead in their Files app:
  • Go to the Files app
  • Hit the action button
  • Click “Save Image”
  • The .heic file is now available in the Photos app
  • Follow the instructions for the scenario above, where the user uploads to the Canvas mobile app.


Community Team
Community Team


Thank you for sharing this idea.  You may want to try the teacher app on one of your mobile devices and see if the images show in SpeedGrader there!  

Community Novice

Thank you for the suggestion. I will have to check it out.

Community Champion

Yeah, I agree that the HEIC should be converted into a JPEG before being available in SpeedGrader. Good suggestion. Renee's suggestion is a good workaround though. 

Community Participant

The Ohio State University has given iPads to incoming freshmen (Home | Digital Flagship) and the HEIC files have been a huge issue for the 1,500 students in my freshman survey course.  Our weekly participation activities often include submitting a screenshot to Canvas; my team of instructors has had to figure out all kinds of workarounds for seeing the HEIC files, wasting valuable time each time they grade a submission.  It'd be fantastic if Canvas would make the HEIC files viewable in speedgrader.

Community Novice

Thank you for recommending this fix, Canvas Community!  Like others, a fix would be very helpful!

Community Participant

Is this actually going to get done, or is Canvas going to focus on things that don't add value over things that need to be addressed immediately again?

Community Participant

No dice on the teacher app on my iPad. It does give the option to open the file in another app, which you can use to see the image.  You can do the same thing on the computer. I would like to be able to see and comment on the files in SpeedGrader.

Community Explorer

I have teachers asking for this feature as well.  As said before it is cumbersome to have to download each image.  It defeats the purpose of using Speedgrader.

Community Novice

All incoming freshmen at our university this year got iPads and we are integrating them into our classroom instruction. We do a lot of active learning where students have to upload the assignments. It is adding so much extra time to my day to have to download each HEIC image and open to view them in Google Drive in order to grade. It would be so helpful if I could just view them in Speedgrader. I teach 200+ students and about 50 of them consistently upload HEIC files, which may not seem that bad, but when you have to spend about 2-3 minutes on each student downloading all of their images for the assignment, it takes time out of my day I could be spending doing something else. 

Community Champion

Even though the release notes aren't available yet, Canvas Teacher 1.9 for iOS is now available and one of the updates includes: 

Added support for viewing .heic file submissions

Please give this a try and report back if this fixes this issue. Thanks! 

Community Member

Ten months later, can confirm the heic infection is spreading. Our current options: Require faculty to buy a Mac to grade, or require faculty to take everything out of Canvas to grade. While I'm generally averse to automatically bending to Apple's every whim of standard, heic is viable, prevalent, and current.

Community Novice

The Canvas Teacher app has helped a lot with my ability to grade HEIC now because I can actually preview all the files in the app. I hope whatever change was made gets integrated through the web interface as well. 

Community Explorer

I can't open it in the speed grader app on my iPad so app doesn't work with this file on all iOS devices.

Community Explorer

HEIC doesn't load in the iPad Teacher app.

Community Explorer

You can view HEICs in the iPad Teacher app, but not mark them up, at least not in the most current version .

Community Explorer

I can’t in mine. I have to download them and exit the app.

Sent from my iPad

Community Member

For those comments suggesting the iOS app, what gives?
Why would anyone coding for Canvas assume that is an option for teachers? Assume that we have a computer, sure, but an iOS device, that should not be the default.

As more students have newer and higher end devices the HEIC format will be more widely used. Yes, students can change the format on their end, but that is one more (cumbersome) step for teachers to deal with that doesn't have anything to do with content instruction.

It will honestly be way easier for Canvas to just code in the ability for HEIC viewing within speedgrader. This shouldn't be that difficult to understand (or do).

Community Explorer

Not just HEIC, but also jpegs ...  conversion does take up cpu time (but we're paying for that, right?).  There are plenty of utilities for converting a slew of [photo format of your choice] into a single PDF.  I don't see what the problem is on Instructure's end.  A year and half since the first question.  This should be a high priority item -- the cost across the world in lost hours is bound to be in the tens of thousands if not more.  Also, it might make people more inclined to adopt Canvas, which has some great features, but let's face it, after a couple of years of frustration faculty will get tired of being forced to do remedial tasks when they could be teaching or doing research.

Community Novice

It would help so much if The HEIC files were visible. So many of our students now are using iMacs and other Apple products and I have to deal with this for at least 10 students per semester. I have even resorted to making it part of my intro into the class to explain that they need to convert their files. 

Apple uses HEIC because it takes less space. So it would be wise for Canvas to make them recognizable.

Community Novice

Can't believe this hasn't been addressed yet. With the move to online, I am grading more online submissions than ever.
I require students to upload images of their work. I grade them and give written feedback by writing on the screen. This is critical to their success - seeing what they did wrong.
[I actually use Drawboard pdf for this because the write-on-screen function in Canvas works only for very minor annotating]. So I download pdf files, grade them and reupload them. Every  time I hit an HEIC I want to scream. I have to manually convert these files which adds many clicks and is a waste of my time. I am trying to train my students to submit as pdf but not all can and/or not all comply. Please ,please fix this.