When your friend asks, “Hey, will you send me that pic?” there are two types of people in this world:
- Those who send a photo over SMS/MMS
- Those who send a photo over email/iMessage/Hangouts/web/etc.
Let’s measure the image quality lost when sending a photo over MMS (that’s what happens when a photo is “texted” between any two phones that are not both iPhones set up on iMessage, the “blue bubble” service).
Methodology: I sent two photos from my iPhone on T-Mobile to a friend with an Android on Verizon and asked her to send the photos back to me. Both phones were on LTE. The first was a photo I had snapped on my iPhone, the second was a photo I pulled from Instagram on my computer (testing a post-compressed photo).
The original photo was 2.7MB with a resolution of 4032x3024. The resulting file after MMS compression was 326KB with a resolution of 1600x1200. Let’s examine quality loss:
What if we consider an image that has already been through some compression? I repeated the same test with a photo downloaded from Instagram through the desktop site.
The original image was 105KB with a resolution of 750x937. The resulting file after MMS compression was the same resolution at 88KB. Let’s examine the quality loss:
If you want to share photos between mobile devices and preserve the full quality of your photos when doing so, do not MMS them between phones. Multimedia messages are heavily compressed by your cell carrier and you lose the detail that your fancy smartphone camera captures in these beautiful moments. Some alternatives to MMS:
- iMessage if sharing photos between iPhone users
- Dropbox / Box / Google Drive
- Email attachments