What Are Some Disadvantages of JPEG?

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What Are Some Disadvantages of JPEG?
JPEG files are universal photo files that everyone can open. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) files are image files that are mostly used on the Internet. If you try to download a photo off a photo-sharing website, it will probably be in a JPEG format. That is because you do not need a special program to open and view them, so they are very generic files. All JPEGs end with a .jpg file extension. Although they are universal files, there are some disadvantages to using JPEG files.

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Digital Cameras

Many digital cameras are automatically set to take photos in JPEG format. You can change the automatic settings on your camera, but if you attempt to make the JPEG photos a higher resolution after the photo is taken, it will severely distort the image. Prints of your photographs will come out fine in small sizes, but if you attempt to print anything above a four-inch by six-inch photograph, it may become blurry.


Resolution important for displaying photographs. It is the amount of pixels in the photograph. The more pixels there are, the higher quality of the image. Since JPEG files were created to be stored quickly and not to take up very much space, that is also a disadvantage. The JPEG files are normally smaller and lack the resolution needed for higher quality.


If you are interested in modifying your photos in photo-editing software with layers, saving your files as JPEGs will flatten the image so the layers cannot be accessed after saving. Additionally, JPEG files (as opposed to PDF, PSD or other file types) will not allow you to make certain edits. When the JPEG photo is taken and saved to the file, it is compressed and that compression will remove some of the quality features of the photo. The compression also restricts any potential editing.

Some Advantages

JPEGs are not all bad. They are ideal for less advanced photo-editing. Most importantly, they can be viewed by almost anyone and they load very quickly. That makes them ideal candidates for e-mailing photographs and uploading them to the Internet.

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