HEVC Explained

What is HEVC?

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) – also known as H.265 – is a video compression standard that allows GoPro to capture large video content, such as 4K60 and 1080p240, at roughly half the file size with equivalent image quality. Adoption for this new standard is increasing, and is natively supported on Android™ 5.0+ and iOS™ 11 on newer phones and tablets with more powerful processors. Moreover, HEVC is natively supported on Windows® 10 and MacOS® High Sierra on newer desktop computers with more powerful processors.

Your HERO6 Black's HEVC modes can be found below. If you do not have an HEVC-compatible computer or smart device, all resolution/frame rate combinations not listed below use the familiar H.264 codec (as found on HERO5 and earlier cameras).

What Video Settings Utilize HEVC?

GoPro uses HEVC for the following video modes:
Video ResolutionFrame Rate (NTSC)Frame Rate (PAL)
4K60 fps50 fps
4K (4:3)30, 24 fps25, 24 fps
2.7K120 fps100 fps
2.7K (4:3)60 fps50 fps
1080p240 fps200 fps

When utilizing an HEVC video setting, a warning message will appear on the camera giving you a heads up that your phone or computer need to be HEVC compatible for playback and editing. We display warnings on the GoPro app and the Quik for desktop app as well.
 

Is My Mobile Device Compatible with HEVC?

Android

HEVC is supported on Android 5.0+ devices using the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 series (or equivalent) processors and newer. Here are some of the leading Android phones supporting HEVC:
 
ManufacturerModel
SamsungGalaxy® S7 / S7 Plus and newer
Galaxy Note 8 and newer
GooglePixel / Pixel XL and newer
HuaweiHuawei P9 and newer
XiaomiXiaomi Mi 5 and newer
LGLG G5 and newer
HTCHTC U10 and newer
SonySony Xperia® X and newer
MotoMoto Z® and newer
OnePlusOnePlus® 3 and newer
 

iOS

HEVC is supported on iOS 11 devices using the Apple® A10 processor and newer:
 
DeviceModel
iPhoneiPhone® 7 and 7 Plus
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
iPhone X
iPad10.5-inch iPad Pro®
12.9-inch iPad Pro
 

What are the limitations with HEVC on mobile?

 
LimitationiOS Android
Preview While Recording via the GoPro App 
Even if your mobile device supports HEVC, you will not be able to preview your footage while recording in the GoPro app. You can preview the scene beforehand, but as soon as you start recording, the live view becomes unavailable.
All Devices
Media Playback on Camera via the GoPro App
Even if your mobile device supports HEVC, you will not be able to play back HEVC footage on your SD card via the GoPro app. You will need to copy that media to your mobile device to view it.
All Devices
4K (4:3) Video Play Back
No version of Android or iOS supports 4K 4:3 playback. In Android, the GoPro app will copy 4K 4:3 to your mobile device, but you won’t be able to playback those files. In iOS, QuikStories will convert 4K 4:3 to a lower resolution for playback. Otherwise, the GoPro app will prevent you from manually copying 4K 4:3 to your mobile device.
All Devices
Media Playback on Unsupported Operating Systems 
If your device isn’t running Android 5.0 / iOS 11 or newer, you will not be able to play back HEVC files. For manual offloads through the GoPro app or Quik Key, we block the transfer and display an error message.
Applicable to devices running iOS 10.3.3 and earlierApplicable to devices running Android 4.4 (KitKat) and earlier
Media Playback with Supported Operating Systems, on Older Devices
While Android 5.0 and iOS 11 natively support HEVC, your phone must be using a newer processor to playback those files smoothly. The GoPro app will still copy HEVC files to these mobile devices, but beware that those files may struggle to play back. In general, mobile devices manufactured before 2016 will not handle HEVC files very well. Please see a partial list of supported devices above.
Applicable to devices manufactured before 2016
QuikStories converts HEVC to lower bitrate
On iOS 11, the QuikStories feature will copy HEVC files from your camera and convert them to a lower bitrate before sending footage to the Quik app.
Applicable to devices running iOS 11 onlyN/A


Is my Computer Compatible with HEVC?


Windows

HEVC is supported on Windows 10 computers using the Intel Kaby Lake (or equivalent) processor and newer. 
 

MacOS

HEVC is supported on macOS High Sierra computers using the A10 processor and newer

macOS High Sierra computers supporting HEVC
  • Macbook® – 2016 or newer
  • Macbook Pro – 2016 or newer
  • iMac – 2017 and newer
  • iMac Pro – 2017 or newer
  • 27-inch 5K iMac (2015-2017)  
 

What are the limitations with HEVC on a computer?

Playing Media on Unsupported Operating Systems
If your computer isn’t running Windows 10 / macOS High Sierra or newer, you will not be able to play HEVC files. Quik for desktop will still copy HEVC files to your computer, but they won’t appear in the Quik for desktop Media gallery. Also, third-party apps won’t be able to play HEVC files.

Playing Media on Supported Operating Systems, but Older Computers
While Windows 10 / macOS High Sierra supports HEVC, your computer must use a newer processor to play those files smoothly. Quik for desktop will still copy HEVC files to your computer, but those files may struggle to play back. In general, computers manufactured before 2016 may not handle HEVC files well. See the partial list of supported computers/processors above.


What if I Recorded in an HEVC Setting and Don't Have a Compatible Device?

In the event that you've recorded HEVC video footage and do not have a compatible device to play your recordings, there are a couple of options: 

  1. Convert Your HEVC Videos to the H.264 Codec - Using Handbrake, a free, open source application, you can covert your HEVC videos to H.264 (compatible across all devices) with minimal loss in image quality. Please reference How to Convert GoPro HEVC Videos to H.264 Using HandBrake, for step-by-step instructions. 
  2. Video/File Hosting via Web - Upload your video to YouTube or another video/file hosting service. Once uploaded, you should be able to play your footage on any device compatible with the website, as you'll be able to utilize their compression. *NOTE: Being as you will be using a webservice to play back your videos, there may be a decrease in image quality simply due to web compression or your connection speed. 

 

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