Does taking live photos store a redundant MOV file?

On my iPhone, when I backup my photos with photosync, I notice that I get two files for every live photo. One HEIC and one MOV. Eg:


What’s not clear to me is if this is redundant or just a quirk of photosync.

Is this something the IPhone itself is doing (storing two files on the iphone) or is it likely that photo sync is extracting the MOV file itself?

Are the two files redundant (can I delete the MOV and get back to it from just the HEIC file?)


It is not redundant. Live Photos consist of an high-res image and a video (lower quality than the image).

  • The HEIC (High Efficiency Image Codec) format is only for images, and it’s the one when you actually hit the exposure button.
  • The .MOV files are displayed when you long press the photo.

Therefore you can extract the single HEIC image from the MOV file (with lower quality though), while you can’t turn the single image into a video. This also means, this is something the iPhone is doing and not photo sync. You would also get those files when using AirDrop for example.

Note: Since the video is lower quality than a single image, changing the key frame must change the quality. However, I could imagine (this is speculation though) that Apple might use some ML/smart algorithm to make the new key frame look better (similar to something like night mode, where a lot of processing happens).


Source : Link , Question Author : Philip Couling , Answer Author : X_841

Leave a Comment