AVIF is a next-gen image format for the web that’s poised to replace JPG, PNG, and eventually WebP.
Google Chrome, since version 85, is the only browser that supports AVIF out of the box. Firefox doesn’t support it by default, but it can be enabled in version 77 and above. And Safari doesn’t support it at all, but could soon because of recent progress made to this WebKit bug report.
The options for creating and editing AVIF images are even more limited. There are a handful of sites like avif.io and avif.app that can convert legacy image formats to AVIF, but the only full-featured image editing app that supports AVIF is GIMP. Adobe Photoshop still doesn’t support WebP, so it’s unlikely they’ll support AVIF anytime soon. While Pixelmator Pro, which recently added full support for WebP, stated that AVIF is on their roadmap.
Even with the lack of browser and image editor support, a Reddit user noticed that it was now possible to upload AVIF images to Facebook. I tested it in the latest stable release versions of Chrome and Firefox and successfully uploaded AVIF images to Facebook. To maximize compatibility, Facebook automatically converts AVIF images to JPEG format.
Facebook added experimental support for AVIF a year ago to its Spectrum image transcoding library. Spectrum is a multi-platform library designed to work with iOS and Android that can also be added to other platforms. The AVIF upload was tested on macOS, so it’s unclear if they’re using Spectrum to convert the AVIF files or a different library. It’s also unknown if uploading AVIF files will work on their native mobile apps. What is clear is that Facebook is readying itself for the next-gen image format well before it goes mainstream.