Molly - Portrait by Paolo Ciccone for DreamLight Images -- Charleston, SCWhen using the mobile apps of Facebook you risk to damage the quality of any image and video that you share. You might have a great image, perfectly crisp and clear and, once you share it on Facebook, it becomes fuzzy and pixelated. This is particularly annoying for portraits. I call this the “Facebook’s Image Shredder” or FIS for short.

In this article, I’ll give you the solution to this problem.

Jpeg quality and compression

Jpeg images are saved compressed. This means that there is a clever algorithm that finds repetitive areas of the image and avoids storing the information for every pixel. Instead, the JPG format is designed to store data in an optimized, averaged, way. Look at the photo to the left. All that white background is a prime target for image compression. Compression is adjusted with a quality value that you specify when you save the image as jpeg. Lower values mean lower quality because the compression becomes more aggressive. Many times the human eye does not see the difference between a Jpeg file saved at 80% or 100% quality so there is no need to save every image at 100% quality.

If you save a JPG file at 80% it will be generally good enough. Anything lower than that and you will start to see quality degradation. If you save a JPG file at, for example, 80% and then load the saved file in a photo editor and then resave it at 80% you will have visible image degradation. Every time that you save a JPG image at less than 100% quality you get some quality reduction. If you want to avoid this issue, you can save a JPG at 80%-85% quality and then be sure to save it at 100% quality for all new edits.

Taming the Facebook Image Shredder

When you post an image on Facebook, by default the social network will use very aggressive compression settings. In other words, Facebook doesn’t copy the file that you upload as it is. That’s what we expect but that’s not what happens. Instead, Facebook converts your image using a very low-quality value. It’s like it would save the image again, this time using quality at 65%. Ugh!

So here is how to avoid the F.I.S.

iPhone and iPad

If you use an iPhone or iPad tap on the three horizontal bar in the bottom-right portion of the screen, to call the menu. Scroll down until you see the menu option titled Settings, and tap it. In the following menu select Account Settings. In the following screen select Videos and Photos. In the following page enable Upload HD for Video Settings and do the same for the Photo settings below it.

Android

For Android tap on the horizontal bar in the top-right portion of the screen, to call the menu. Scroll down until you see the option titled App Settings, and tap it. Look in the following page and enable Upload Photos in HD and Upload Videos in HD.

That’s all there is to it. As far as I know, there are no equivalent settings in the browser interface of Facebook, which is what we use with desktop computers.

Hope this helps.