If you’ve used a computer, digital camera, or smartphone long enough, you’ve likely seen files with either JPG or JPEG extensions in them. But are they the same thing? What’s the difference? We’ll explain.

They’re Two Abbreviations For the Same Image Format

“JPG” and “JPEG” are two equivalent file extensions that both refer to the exact same digital image format. JPEG is an abbreviation for “Joint Photographic Experts Group,” which is a tech industry group that created the JPEG image format widely in use in digital cameras, social media, and on the web.

The JPEG format originated in 1992. At that time, most of the world’s personal computers ran the Microsoft MS-DOS operating system, which only supported three-letter file extensions (borrowed from CP/M). As a result, JPEG files gained the extension “JPG” on MS-DOS and early Windows platforms. Meanwhile, the Apple Macintosh platform (used by a small minority of computer owners) had no such limitation, so JPEG files often carried the .JPEG file extension there.

Today, both Windows and macOS can handle the full .JPEG file extension, and most apps understand and open both .JPG and .JPEG files equally. So if you have files with either extension that open properly in an image viewer or editor, there’s no need to make any changes on your part.

Can I Convert JPEG to JPG?

Good news: Since JPEG and JPG files are the exact same image format, no conversion is necessary to turn a JPG file into a JPEG, or vice-versa.

Instead, all you need to do is rename the image file and change the file extension. For example, if you have a file named “IMAGE.JPEG”, and you’d rather have “IMAGE.JPG”, use the rename feature in your operating system to edit the “IMAGE.JPEG” file name and remove the “E” from the “JPEG” extension. You can also do the same in reverse, changing “JPG” to “JPEG”.

If you have a large number of JPEG or JPG files you want to rename, you can automate the process fairly easily both on Windows (by selecting multiple files and selecting “Rename” in the context menu) and Macs (using the “Rename Items” option in the menu bar). On Windows, make sure you show file extensions first. Good luck!

Tip: You can also use Microsoft’s free PowerRename tool for this on Windows.

RELATED: How to Quickly Batch Rename Files on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux

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Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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