AVIF: What Is It, How to Use It, and When Is It Available on imgix

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The newest update to the imgix rendering API puts AVIF, the new next-gen image file format, front and center. Through the use of the ‘auto=format’ parameter, imgix will automatically serve images in AVIF for all browsers that support it. For browsers that don’t yet support it, the imgix rendering API will fall back to the next-best available format. If you are a current customer, you can email us at support@imgix.com to enable this feature today.

With AVIF, users have seen file sizes drop by nearly 50% compared to JPEG and 30% compared to WebP, with no loss in quality. Thank you to Unsplash, one of our first customers to enable AVIF, for sharing the findings of a 30% decrease in file size.

Why Use AVIF—A Significant Size Reduction Without Hurting Quality

If you are reading on an AVIF-capable browser such as recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, or Android, you should see three images below:

Coffee photo in AVIF format
An AVIF image 9.0KB in size (44% reduction from JPEG; 24% reduction from WebP)
Coffee photo in WebP format
A WebP image 11.8KB in size (26% reduction from JPEG)
Coffee photo in JPG format
A JPEG image 16.0KB in size

The images are comparable in quality, yet the AVIF image achieves significant reductions in file size.

By using AVIF for image compression, you can reduce the image file size even further and gain additional benefits:

  • Faster page loading times
  • Better SEO rankings (Search engines like Google reward page loading speed, especially on mobile)
  • Lower bounce rate
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Lower bandwidth costs

OneFootball, a German-based football media company, saw page load time accelerated by 26% and first time to interactive time accelerated by 24% after enabling automatic AVIF conversion.

OneFootball site performance comparison graphic

What Is AVIF & Who Developed It

It’s an exciting time for image compression. WebP has been gaining momentum as a JPEG replacement—but now, AVIF has arrived, out-compressing WebP in nearly all cases.

AVIF was developed by the Alliance for Open Media, with Google (Chrome), Mozilla (Firefox), Apple (Safari), and Microsoft (Edge) as members. All the major browser makers are closely involved, directly or indirectly, in the development and promulgation of AVIF.

Which Browsers Support AVIF

AVIF is available today in web browser versions used by a large number of web users:

  • Google Chrome 85-93 (about 13 months’ worth of versions);
  • Mozilla Firefox 86-92 (about seven months);
  • Android

Where AVIF is not yet fully available:

  • Microsoft Edge
  • Firefox doesn’t yet support animated AVIFs
  • Safari is the key holdout, in terms of gaining widespread adoption early. When Safari adds AVIF support, it will soon be the case that a substantial majority of content on all types of devices will be delivered by AVIF-capable browsers.

Matrix of AVIF browser capability

Source: caniuse.com

Future-Proofing Images for Our Customers

If you already use ‘auto=format’ to deliver the most optimal image format for each request, you don't have to do anything. The general release of AVIF in auto format in December this year will make AVIF the default format whenever the requesting browser supports it. If you are not ready for AVIF later this year, please contact us at support@imgix.com by December 1 so we can either help you with the transition or opt you out from the general release.

You don’t have to create, store, and serve different versions of images, create cumbersome logic to decide where to send which image version, or debug the complex interaction between data and images--imgix does it all for you. This is just our latest step to future-proof images for our customers. As new standards enter the market, we will constantly evaluate and innovate so you can stay ahead of the curve.

If you have any questions on AVIF, please feel free to email us at support@imgix.com.

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