What Is an AVIF File?

It might one day replace JPEG

An AVIF file is an AV1 Image file that you can open with Chrome or nomacs. To convert one to PNG, JPG, or SVG, we recommend Convertio.

What Is an AVIF File?

An AVIF file is an image in the AV1 Image file format. Similar to JPEG, it uses compression in an attempt to retain quality at a smaller file size. Unlike JPEG, AVIF files have a larger quality to compression ratio, so they can stand to be much smaller without the same quality loss.

The format was developed by the Alliance for Open Media, an association governed by companies like Amazon, Netflix, Google, and Mozilla. Files are compressed with AV1 (AOMedia Video 1) algorithms and stored in the HEIF container format.

The AV1 compression technology that this image format uses is royalty-free. So there are zero licensing fees, meaning that compressing and decoding files can be done without paying royalties.

AVIF vs JPEG

JPEG and AVIF image quality comparison
Netflix TechBlog

The most obvious advantage AVIF has over other formats like JPEG is its smaller file size. Reduced size means less bandwidth is required, which in turn means lower data usage and storage. A web page that has replaced all their JPEGs with AVIFs could see half as much data consumption taken up by images.

Color depth is another way AVIF outperforms JPEG. The latter is limited to 8-bit color depth while AVIF supports HDR. This translates to richer colors and more detail.

Netflix has some good visual examples comparing identical images when compressed as JPEGs vs AVIFs. Other comparisons of the WebP and PNG formats are also worth checking out.

How to Open an AVIF File

The Chrome browser is the easiest way for most people to view AVIF files because there are no add-ons or extra downloads necessary. Just be sure that your version of Chrome is fully updated because versions before v85 don’t support it.

If you’d rather use Firefox, enter about:config in the address bar and then search for and toggle to true the image.avif.enabled flag. You can test whether it’s working by visiting this AVIF test page.

The free nomacs image viewer is another option. It’s a downloadable program that runs on Windows and Linux.

How to Convert an AVIF File

Convertio is the easiest way to convert an AVIF file. It's done entirely online, so you don't have to download the converter, and several output formats are supported, including PNG, JPG, SVG, and GIF.

Still Can’t Open It?

Some files share some of the same characters in their file extensions, making it really easy to confuse one for the other even if the formats aren’t related at all. When this happens, you might get an error message saying that the program doesn’t support your file. If this is happening, there’s a good chance you don’t actually have an AVIF file.

For example, AVI is a video format that shares the first three file extension letters. But videos and images don’t always open with the same program.

The same is true for other similar-looking ones like AIFF and AVL.