Lightroom Classic: Support for HEIC file format

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Support for HEIC file format was included in Lightroom CC but still is needed in Lightroom Classic.  When will it be added?
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Robert MacWilliam

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  • Frustrated. Why create file format support in LR CC on launch but not update LR Classic at the same time.

Posted 6 months ago

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David Kent

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It's implemented in Photoshop.
It's implemented in Lightroom CC.

So the code is there, and so is the $ to implement it. From subscribers such as myself who are promised 'extra features and upgrades for subscribing'.

That it's still 'under consideration' for Lightroom Classic' tells you how much Adobe want to invest in Lightroom Classic - as little as possible. It's clearly a dying product, and Adobe hope people switch to Lightroom CC before they get to wise and jump ship to another company.

It's appalling.
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David Sanger (SU2)

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Actually it is not implemented in Lightroom CC. You can't import HEIC photos into Lightroom CC on the desktop, and any images imported on mobile devices just get converted to JPEG.
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David Kent

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My understanding is:
 - Photoshop - Yes
 - Lightroom CC - Yes
 - Lightroom CC Classic - No
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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David Sanger's understanding is correct. This isn't a sign of a dying product. It's a sign of a brand new file format that has all sorts of technical and legal ramifications.
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TheBatman

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In that case I wonder why on earth they can't just do a quick blog post, tweet or something to let us know. "Hey everyone, we know you want to have all your iphone photos as part of your main catalog. We're working as hard as we can but there are some legal issues that will still take X weeks to clear up". 

On another forum I saw Tom Hogarty say they were trying to get more engaged & transparent with the community but so far I have not seen evidence of that.

In addition, Luminar 2018 already supports it. I'd be hard pressed to believe they have better engineers and resources than Adobe.
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Dmitry

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It's clearly obvious that they have better engineers.
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Dmitry

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If a new format is so hard for your developers - use freelancers :) Or better hire more qualified developers and management.
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David Kent

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I stand corrected.
Which really doesn't change the situation (our complaint). That there is no support for it in Lightroom CC classic is a cause of angst, for those wishing to incorporate it in their workflow.
As to my other comments (it's a dying product) and those of others (that the delay for implementing this is difficult to believe) - I'll keep this thread open and revisit it in the coming months.
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TheBatman

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270 / 53 until Luminar. Happy Friday everyone!

I wonder why motivation for change might be low ;)



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Jason Timmes

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The stock graph says it all, there's not enough users pushing for innovation in Lightroom Classic to move the needle.  For the record, I'm another big Lightroom Classic user who doesn't want my giant catalog in the cloud, and I also need HEIC support.

Since there's no clear expectation of when this feature may show up, does anyone out there know of a credible alternative?  Something that can genuinely compete with Lightroom Classic in terms of features and scalability, nondestructive workflows, and is showing more active investment by the company?  I'd consider an alternative, but I don't know of anything that really stacks up at this point...
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Steve Quinlan

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Lack of HEIC support in LR Classic is increasingly is looking like a pure marketing decision, albeit a poor one. Technically, it's not a difficult feature to add, and I don't believe it's a greed or spite issue as some here have suggested. 

Since HEIC is supported on LR CC (sort of), it appears they using this feature hole in LR Classic to aggressively push Classic users to the move to the cloud. Oddly, the LR powers-that-be have ignored the fact that LR CC is not at all ready for professionals & power users with many, many terabytes of media. Surely, they must have industry advisors that would have known this. 

Adobe products are generally very good and I respect the overarching decision to move LR to a multi-platform, cloud-based system. The product roadmap here is just too aggressive and LR CC is simply not yet ready or it and the upgraded cloud storage costs are too expensive. 

I began to suspect shenanigans within LR marketing the moment they announced LR was being renamed "Classic." <insert eye roll here> 
(Edited)
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David Kent

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I (given my background) should have known better than to imbed myself with any one companies product. I should never have started using the catalog features of lightroom, from whence it's so hard to extract myself (but ultimately, if I don't, it will be worse in the future.) Lesson learnt, again.

So now I begin to unwind my catalog, and I'll implement something that will not be dependent on any company product. Probably just a file based and / or exif based system. It won't be as useful, but no more will I be at the whim of some company decision to change direction to somewhere I'm not happy to take the ride.
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Michael

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Need HEIC (HEIF) and HEVC (H.265) support in Lightroom.

Really two problems:
1. Lightroom (Classic or new CC) for Windows or Mac refuses to import these files
2. Lightroom for Mobile on iOS imports these files as JPG/H.264 (unsure if Adobe or iOS is doing the conversion, but if the latter Apple should be pushed for native import), though even if it did, see #1

Why this should be fixed:
-HEIF/HEVC is on by default on new iPhones, so the world's foremost creative company should support it
-HEIF supports many excellent features JPG doesn't, so disabling on the iPhone - although a valid option - is highly undesirable; as an example, I love the Portrait mode fake bokeh, but the iPhone's algorithm is a bit lacking and I'd like to touch up the depth maps regularly but conversion to JPEG doesn't retain them and creating them from scratch would be awful

Why I think this isn't a big ask:
-Photoshop for Mac will open HEIF files
-Premiere Pro for either platform will open either file type

One nice compromise in case HEIF file support can't be brought to all Lightroom platforms in a timely manner would be to convert to DNG or TIFF upon import.

Thank you for reading!
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Forking to HEVC topic to make sure your votes count there too: https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/hevc-support-for-lightroom-cc-mac
(Edited)
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TheBatman

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277 / 46. Happy Friday everyone!
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Dave Kenedy

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I'm in the middle of a major catalog re-build and am just now finding out about all this. I've been working for weeks trying to fix my archive because of an EXIF dating error caused during imports from my iPhone going directly into Lightroom. It caused all the videos to be dated seven hours behind their actual capture date, and many of the photos to have an entirely wrong capture date altogether, putting them into the wrong dated folder on my local drive. Total chaos. I tried talking to Adobe, reading everything I could find online, until finally realizing that I am just going to have to go back to every photo and video one at a time and re-enter everything manually. All because Adobe wouldn't invest their time and resources into fixing this issue with iPhone imports.

What I'm saying is that for some people its nothing new to see that Apple and Adobe are not playing along as well as they should be, and I see here that I am not alone with feeling like I am at a crossroads with Adobe entirely. 

What I would like to know are people's thoughts on continued iPhone imports into LR classic using the compressed JPEG's (lame I know) with the intention of switching out those images with HEIC's in the future. How would you do this? Like really, if you think you have a clever way of doing it I think that would be helpful here. I do what a lot of users do, which is import my images into a dated file structure with dated folders, and rename all my images upon import using a reverse date YYYYMMDD etc etc file naming system. So assuming that you stashed away all your HEIC's together in one place, which all have the native iPhone IMG_#### file names, how in the heck would you make the switch? 

In other words, it would be great if Adobe would not only listen to their loyal base LR archivists and roll out the red carpet for HEIC ASAP, but also come up with a way to bridge the imported iPhone JPEGs to their HEIC counterparts stored off catalog. Is this possible? Is there a better way? Am going crazy lol?
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TheBatman

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Hi Dave,

Not sure if this will help your time/date problem, but I had a similar issue with DNGs shot on the iphone using the Lightroom app ... they would appear with the wrong time/date stamp.

In that case, it can be fixed by selecting them all, going to "change capture time", *NOT* changing anything, and just hitting ok. It fixes it for me.

My hypothesis: there must be two "date/time created" metadata fields for some reason, but we can only see one. Lightroom seems to sort by the "hidden" one, which obviously can sometimes be not the actual time shot, but some other kind of time stamp (e.g. maybe it's file created date, which is the date LR on the desktop first saw it come into the catalog. Who knows. Annoying though.). Changing the time/date in LR (but not really changing it...) must write out the actual date again to both fields, I am guessing.

Ken
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Merging with relevant bug report.

Please reference the new conversation here: Lightroom Classic: Support for HEIC file format (merging)
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Dmitry

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I use exiftool as workaround for the issue with creation date in the Lightroom that Adobe doesn't fix for many years. They hate their customers and hate them a lot. They don't fix any popular issues at all.

macOS commands to fix the the problem with creation date:
exiftool -GPSDateStamp= -GPSTimeStamp= ./*.*
rm ./*_original
(Edited)
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Dave Kenedy

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Hey Ken, yeah that's funny actually I ran into the same fix through trial and error a couple months ago. No idea why it works but you are right, if you go to change the capture time under the Metadata tab and hit "change all" without actually entering in any changes, this somehow locks in the digitized time stamp and validates it. It does work but it's time consuming and I can't help but feel like I am babysitting LR every time I make an import from my iPhone. 

And to complicate this even more, I am now seeing that LR doesn't support the HEVC video codec for MOV files from iOS 11 either. At least with the still images I can have those converted to JPEG's (Syncios does this automatically on Windows 10) and import them with their correct time stamps and get them archived. Videos are a bit more problematic as I cannot find a program that will retain their correct capture time after converting them to the standard h.264 MPEG-4 container that LR can read. The capture date is either stamped to the day the converted file was created (Handbrake), or reels it back to January 1st, 1904!! (WinX HD Converter). I'm pretty sure they didn't have iPhones back then!

So maybe someone has some ideas on what to do about that...

As for the Exif Tool thing, I don't have any experience using commands like this, Dmitry would you be able to give steps on how to do this using  the command function on Windows 10?

I was just on the phone with Adobe customer support for over an hour. They didn't even know what I was talking about with any of this HEIC/HEVC business. I had to run through the gauntlet of their protocols step by step and in the end they just gave me a case number and said they would call me back. All I wanted was to hear them say "Sorry about the inconvenience, we know that a lot of our customers use an iPhone and want to archive their visual media using Apple's new formats. We are working on providing support for this and appreciate your patience." I would be like, OK. COOL. THANK YOU. And no big deal I'll just stash the files in a folder for now and wait until I can import them later. But they won't say a word about it. Unbelievable. I am seriously considering switching to Luminar and am eagerly awaiting their Digital Asset Management module with high hopes.
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TheBatman

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284 / 39. Happy Friday everyone!
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Daniele Carotenuto

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New update today... still no support - this is really bad news... My workflow includes files taken with the iPhone too, and heic format is the way to go as it's so much smaller....
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Dmitry

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ADOBE, SHAME SHAME SHAME
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John Patrick

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I'm up for this as well! I had to disable HEIC on my iPhone - very annoying :(
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TheBatman

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I can't believe they pushed another update without this support. It's a bl**dy insult. I now have many months of iphone photos that I can't import to LR. On top of being maddening, it literally makes no sense. Throw a couple of young engineers a few cans of Red Bull and let's get this done overnight.
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Sunil Bhaskaran, Official Rep

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We are working on the same.
We will update you soon.

Thanks,
Sunil
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David Sanger (SU2)

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soon == days, weeks months or years???
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TheBatman

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Thank you, it is nice to get an official comment. It is very disappointing that it took 5 months (and that the issue is still not addressed).
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Pascal Heymans

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Within a week is considered 'soon'. How about a date Adobe? ; -)
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Daniele Carotenuto

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In astronomical time a few millennia are soon too... 
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Nrk

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Yet another software update with no .HEIC support? 

Please add .HEIC-support, Adobe.
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TheBatman

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298 / 32. Happy Friday everyone!
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Daniele Carotenuto

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Another two weeks of silence? Can't be that hard to add support for a format out for ages, especially when the CC team already implemented in their Lightroom version, guys do you even talk to each other? Really people here pay money to use your software and I am going to suggest another software to my corporation and publish an article about what's the best software to use with iPhone photos... which today is not Lightroom classic anymore...

Really for most of us being forced to use 2 versions of Lightroom and split the archive, it's really not an option... you did such a mess splitting the software into two versions, at least the DB should be shared and accessible by both!
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Dmitry

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They even can't fix "Adobe/dynamiclinkmediaserver" auto-created junk subfolder on Documents folder for years. Don't expect any quality from Adobe after that.
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TheBatman

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Sadly I have given up for now and have flipped my iphone back to jpg mode until this gets fixed. However now I have ~6 months worth of iphone photos that I need for geo-tagging locations but which LR cannot load.
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Dmitry

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Use "Export Originals" to export with geotags. Apple's issue.
(Edited)
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TheBatman

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Thx. I will try that. For some reason I think exporting out of photos strips away some other metadata. But I will double check.
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TheBatman

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305 days. Happy Friday everyone!
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Robert MacWilliam

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IT WORKS!!!! I tried today (Apr 22nd) importing photos into Lightroom Classic and was surprised that the few HEIC photos that were in the folder came in with the JPG photos!!!  I then used Develop and made some changes and then went back to Library and EXPORTED (as JPG). The result is that I now have a JPG photo with the Lightroom Classic Develop changes.

THANK YOU ADOBE FOR ADDING HEIC SUPPORT TO LIGHTROOM CLASSIC (release 7.3 Camera Raw 10.3) 
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Nathan Johnson

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I have the same release on my Mac and it does not support my .HEIC files. Are you sure it's working for you?
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Daniele Carotenuto

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I find it weird the team didn't give such a requested feature release more buzz.. can anyone confirm this?
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Dmitry

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Of course, it doesn't work.
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David Sanger (SU2)

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I understand from email exchanges with a Lightroom Community Specialist that there are issues with licensing some of the HEIF/HEVC code from Apple that are complicating the situation.

Can anyone confirm this with more details?
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Nathan Johnson

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I’m skeptical of that excuse, from what I know of HEIF and HEVC is that they are open source and don’t need anything from Apple. Also, HEIF an HEVC are not owned by Apple and have existed before Apple decided to use it.
(Edited)
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David Sanger (SU2)

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That's not true. HEVC is a standard but not "open source". It is licensed by MPEG. details. Apple is one of the patent holders and also has a license. I don't know if there are further patents on Apple's implementation.
From a post  last year there's this:
The one thing that worries me, is that HEVC is a licensing nightmare. Compared to H.264, the per-unit fees are in some cases 10 times as high for HEVC. There is no annual fee cap anymore, as well as a 0.5% royalt on revenue generated from HEVC video services. All of those things combined meant that for Mozilla and many other companies, moving from H.264 to HEVC would increase their yearly licensing cost by about 10,000% (100 times as much). For companies like Netflix, Amazon and Google which relies even more on video services, the cost increase would have been even larger.
Some of this might change but right now there certainly are difficulties with patent encumbrances.
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Nathan Johnson

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Hmm, well that's all very disappointing then. I had high hopes for this format.
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David Sanger (SU2)

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me too and that's not to say they won't find a way to work it out.
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Daniele Carotenuto

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no licensing issue here as it's implemented just fine in Lightroom CC -non classic-


it seems just they are teasing us, or maybe they need some people off the subscription plans!
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"[HEVC is] implemented just fine in Lightroom CC -non classic"

LR CC doesn't implement HEVC; rather, when LR CC requests a copy of the photo from the camera roll, iOS automatically converts it to JPEG.  This is how iOS provides compatibility for older apps.

You can prove this to yourself with these steps:

1. In iOS 11, make sure Settings > Camera > Formats > High Efficiency is checked.

2. Take a pic with the Camera app.

3. Start LR CC Mobile and add the camera-roll photo from step 2.

4. Click on the photo and notice that it shows the file type as "JPG and the filename ending in ".JPG".

5. Start LR CC Desktop and wait until the photo syncs.

6. Select the photo, do View > Detail, then View > Info.  Note that the filename ends with ".JPG".

7. On iOS, use the free app Photo Investigator and open the pic from the camera roll.  Notice that it shows "Format: HEIC". 
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Tested with iOS 11.2.1 / LR CC Mobile 3.2.1 / Macos 10.13.4 / LR CC Desktop 1.3.
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David Sanger (SU2)

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indeed. and furthermore if you try to import a HEIC file in Lightroom CC on the desktop out will refuse to recognize it. Lightroom CC mobile can only import the JPEGS converted by IOS.
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Daniele Carotenuto

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I think we are just going in circles... heic loads just fine in camera raw - photoshop... or is Photoshop no more an Adobe product?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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It's important to get the facts right, especially in a public forum.   LR CC Mobile 3.2.1 can't load HEVC, Photoshop 19.1.3 / ACR 10.3 can load HEVC.
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Daniele Carotenuto

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Sure John, let's keep the facts right: this is no issue with licensing - Adobe implemented the format already in ACR!!!!
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David Sanger (SU2)

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Lightroom and Photoshop are different kinds of products.

Lightroom is a cataloging and editing program. You can only edit files imported into your catalog. You can't import HEIC files into your catalog so you can't edit them. The mobile version of Lightroom gets a JPEG copy of the HEIC file and adds that to the catalog, and that's what you can edit.

Photoshop is just an editing program. You can open a HEIC file into Photoshop's workspace but to save changes you have to save-as-a-copy in a supported format (PSD, JPEG, TIFF etc). HEIC is not supported as a file format.

I have no reason to disagree with my source at Adobe's statement on licensing problems.

And there's this:

"But to use HEIC, makers of software, processors and phones must  jump through a lot of hoops to license patents. That's not just complicated and expensive. It also means HEIC will have trouble succeeding on the web: patent barriers are antithetical to the web's open nature."
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Dmitry

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Nobody wants to save HEIC in the Lightroom. We want just import and edit them, then save to JPEG.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"Adobe implemented the format already in ACR!!!!"

To build on David Sanger's reply, just because Adobe has a license for Photoshop and ACR on the desktop doesn't necessarily mean the license applies to LR CC Mobile,  LR CC Desktop, or LR Classic.
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Greg Kuhnen

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The Photoshop and ACR support indicates Adobe has access to a suitable library for reading HEIC and has accepted the licensing terms and fees on their other products.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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The licensing terms for Photoshop may not be the same as for the other products. And the cost of the license may make sense for Photoshop's business model (high effective revenue per photo processed) but not LR's (low effective revenue per photo processed).   

But without access to inside information, we can only speculate, and licensing may or may not be the bottleneck.
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Jason Timmes

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Licensing may be a part of the problem here (and if so, shame on Apple), but this speculation is exactly why Adobe should be open and actively communicating with their customers. Their customers are clearly frustrated and upset with the lack of HEIC support. If Adobe makes a good case for why this isn’t easy for them, a percentage will be unreasonable, but the majority of the community will engage in the dialogue and be reasonable. Silence and not engaging with your customers is a guaranteed way to lose their support.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"why Adobe should be open and actively communicating with their customers"

Agreed, they're not very good at it.
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Greg Kuhnen

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For the record again, HEIC is not Apple's format, it's owned by the MPEG consortium. Google already added HEIC support to the new version of Android that's just hitting the street.

On licensing, Skylum (a challenger to Lightroom) added HEIC support earlier this year. It's true that we don't know what's going on behind the scenes, but I'm skeptical that the less expensive Skylum could afford to license HEIC but Adobe can't for Lightroom.
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TheBatman

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I second what Jason said. If it was purely a licensing issue, why wouldn't they tell us that?

At this point it's beyond farce. Sensei can edits your pictures for you, but LR can't read the file format used by the most popular camera on the planet. I never used Aperture but the effects of its demise (complacency) are still being felt.
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TheBatman

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I second what Jason said. If it was purely a licensing issue, why wouldn't they tell us that?

At this point it's beyond farce. Sensei can edits your pictures for you, but LR can't read the file format used by the most popular camera on the planet. I never used Aperture but the effects of its demise (complacency) are still being felt.