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Ability to View HEIC files in SpeedGrader Preview

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.


New Member

This issue is probably the one I have spent the most time on since we were forced to go to on-line learning.  I have sent countless emails to students, posted video tutorials and made step-by-step instructions, to urge students to pay attention to the format they are submitting so that I can grade and review their work in Speedgrader.  PLEASE CANVAS DO SOMETHING TO HELP US or we are going to urge our technology department to look for other options.

Community Participant

This needs to be addressed quickly.  I have more and more students submitting in this format.  Why hasn't it been addressed?  I don't have an iOS device to grade on (nor would I want to - I have 3 big screens on my desktop, and bad eyes).  I need to grade on my desktop without having to download everything.  If they don't implement HEIC file compatibility in speedgrader soon, then they might as well just declare it a depreciated feature.  If it doesn't support modern files, then speedgrader isn't really supported anyway.

New Member


New Member

This has just become a big problem for us as well with the Covid start to the school year. Canvas needs to make this a feature in the desktop version.

Community Participant

This idea has been in the "Open for Conversation" section since January of 2019.

Let's get a move on, or at least give us an idea about when it might be addressed.

Community Champion

This one just got us yesterday as well. I trained a bunch of teachers to show them how awesome Canvas is and their young elementary students can just take a picture of their work and submit it. Now I'm eating crow because of the HEIC issue. I put in a support ticket though. Perhaps if enough of us do the same, the urgency to come up with a solution will grow?

New Member

As an art teacher, it is IMPERATIVE that I be able to access HEIC photos through speedgrader.  I have hundreds of submissions a day and having the students have to upload them to their computer and convert to a jpg has proved to be cumbersome and inefficient.  This has been a nightmare. 

Community Champion

I wasn't able to open with the Canvas Teacher app with my Android phone at all.

With my work iPhone, I was able to open with another app.

This is a major issue for our iPad users.

New Member

This should TRULY be addressed! We advised our students using iPads to first convert their HEIC files to JPGs but both of them had issues uploading those as well, and we have yet to figure out what that's about. Grading in the app is not ideal because the annotation feature is rough, so allowing HEIC files is imperative. Please add this Canvas!!!

New Member

I would love if HEIC image formats displayed automatically in speed grader, like JPEG and PDF submissions do. Right now I download them and convert them, which means I lose access to Canvas's marking tools to provide feedback. 

Community Participant

We have an instructor dealing with this same issue.  In addition, Windows 10 needs an extension to view the files; and this solution didn't work.  One more task in order for the instructor to be able to view this file type.  Additionally, requiring an instructor to download to view the file eliminates the ability to grade with the SpeedGrader tools.  I agree, this should be a compatible file type in SpeedGrader.

New Member


If students download the Canvas app to their mobile device, go to "files" in the app, then they can upload a new photo using the camera. Since this image is taken within the app, it will upload a .jpg image directly to the student's Canvas files even if using an Apple device. The other benefit is that no manual uploading process is needed since the file is immediately in their Canvas accounts.

One issue that I have seen is that some students will have most of their space taken up and get an error message. They then have to remove some files first.



I agree that Canvas should fix this issue so that teachers and students are not wasting hours of their time to try to find and explain how to use these workarounds.

Community Member

CANVAS really needs to make it so that you can read HEIC files in the speed grader. I have checked, I cannot see them in my Teacher app on my iPAD or iPhone.  This is a fix that really needs to happen.

Community Champion

More and more students are submitting HEIC files.  We do need Speedgrader to add this type to the image files that can be previewed and rotated.  Docviewer update needed!   Thanks Canvas!


New Member

I would also love for this to be addressed! I need to be able to annotate student submissions! And I don't plan on grading math tests on my tiny phone screen. And I don't have access to an ipad. Help us!

New Member

I am with everyone else here. It is crippling to have to load these images outside of Canvas every time I have a student use this file type. Requiring students to change their file format just isn't an option when your students are in the lower grades. 

Community Member

For assignments with image submissions, a workaround I've seen is restricting the file upload type to jpeg, pdf, png etc. and then provide a link to  free tools like this (which is super simple to use) in the assignment instructions as shown here for students to use and submit the converted file that way. 

New Member

Come on Instructure, this should have been done a long time ago.

Community Member

It is insane that this has not been resolved yet. HEIC files are becoming more common, and this is wasting time and energy for so many forced to avoid collecting paper during a pandemic.

Like all other things I wish Canvas would resolve (weighted grades, diacritic mark availability as a mini-toolbar in quizzes, etc.), it seems this is at the bottom of the priority pile.

New Member

Instructor - trying to view many student submissions that are in HEIC format, but speedgrader doesn't recognize. Having to download files makes it very NOT speedy.