It took ten years for Safari to support WebP, and there were concerns that Apple might again take several years to support AVIF. Fortunately, Apple isn’t waiting that long. On June 22, 2022, an Apple software engineer confirmed in a bug ticket entitled, Support AVIF images for macOS Ventura and iOS 16, that AVIF images will be supported in Safari.
Since April 2021, WebKit has supported the AVIF next-generation picture format, while Safari has not. This is due to the fact that only image types supported by macOS and iOS may be processed by Apple’s web browser. With the release of the third developer beta for iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, Safari 16 now supports AVIF. The next-generation image format, AVIF, is expected to take the role of WebP. Firefox started supporting AVIF in January 2021, while Chrome added support for it in late 2020. In April 2021, WebKit implemented support for AVIF, but Safari did not. Despite having a WebKit foundation, Safari uses the operating system to process images. In other words, if iOS and macOS don’t support AVIF, neither does Safari.
The system frameworks will be used to render the AVIF images on macOS Ventura and iOS 16. Said Abou-Hallawa, Apple Software Engineer, WebKit Bugzilla Bug “241904”On June 25, 2022, another Apple software engineer confirmed the change in a review for this WebKit commit on GitHub. Add the mime type and the UTI of the AVIF to the list of the allowed image formats. The system frameworks will be used to render the AVIF images on macOS Ventura and iOS 16. Because of sand-boxing limitations, software decoding has to be used for AVIF images.
Jen Simmons, Apple Evangelist, Web Developer Experiences, Safari and WebKit, AVIF coming to Safari & Safari on iOS 16? #6348. Safari 16 in the beta 2 builds of macOS and iOS 16 didn’t support AVIF, but the operating systems had limited support. For example, the Finder app could display a preview of AVIF images. AVIF image preview in Finder app on macOS Ventura Preview app in macOS Ventura supports viewing AVIF files The third developer beta of macOS and iOS 16 continue to have limited AVIF capabilities, but Safari 16 can now render AVIF images.
Myles C. Maxfield, Apple Software Engineer, GitHub commit for “Support AVIF images for macOS Ventura and iOS 16”
And on June 28, 2022, the Apple evangelist for web developer experiences for Safari and WebKit further confirmed AVIF support in Safari in a comment left on a GitHub for Can I Use. AVIF support is in macOS Ventura and iOS 16, and we did just land support for AVIF in WebKit — so support in Safari is on its way!