If you want to reduce the size of an image file to enable you to share it over email or save space on your device, there are a number of options open to you. Here we'll explain how you can reduce the size of image files on your iPhone, Android smartphone, Windows PC and Mac.

Before you head off to create compressed or other smaller versions of your pictures, bear in mind that if you want to preserve the original quality and format of the image you can use a large file sharing service instead. These allow you to upload the file then send a link to your intended recipient who can download it directly from the service. For more details on how this all works, take a look at how to send large files for free.

How to reduce image file size on an iPhone or iPad

Emailing an image from your iPhone is the easiest way to reduce the files size, as the Apple Mail app asks you if you want to send a smaller version of the file image, offering either Small, Medium, Large or Actual Size. So, you can take your pick, but know that choosing anything other than actual size will affect the quality of your image(s).

How to reduce image file size: iOS

This isn’t the best choice though if the recipient wants to print out the picture or enlarge it for a presentation.

In that case, you’ll want to either share the image via Apple Photos or create a zip file. You can read about the former in how to share your iPhone or iPad photos with anyone, while the latter will require downloading a compression app such as Compress Photos & Video which will take you through the easy process of creating a smaller version of your image.

How to reduce image file size on Android

There isn’t a way to create compressed files directly within Android itself, but there are plenty of apps that can do the job. Some of the most popular are WinZip and RAR but you’ll find many others on the Google Play Store.

With these apps, you simply find the file you want to reduce, then use the tools to create a .zip file which you can then share. As .zip files are very common, your recipient should have no trouble unzipping it at the other end. A zip file won't affect the quality of your image, but it also won't be able to make the file much smaller if it's already in a lossy format such as JPG.

As with Apple Photos, you can also avoid creating compressed files and instead share links to a specific folder on your Google Photos app, Google Drive or any other Cloud Storage Services. Basically, all you need to do is move the image into a new folder then tap the Share option. This will create a link that you can send to the recipient, which then then use to download the file.

How to reduce image file size on a Windows PC

Windows users can choose from a range of options when it comes to reducing file sizes. If you want to manually control the reduction, open the Paint app and load up the image you want to shrink. On the Home tab click Resize then, in the window that appears, ensure that the Pixels option is selected as well as Maintain aspect ratio. Next, enter the dimensions to which you want the image to be converted. For example, 1600 x 900 for widescreen image. You only need to add the large number as Paint will automatically calculate the smaller one.

How to reduce image file size: Windows Paint

Finally, click OK > Save As then select the JPEG Picture format. This should create a smaller file that is easier to share online.

A less involved route is to use one of the many .zip file creator programs available, which will automatically make compressed versions of the image. You can read how to zip a file in Windows 10 for more details and also check out our guide to the best compression tools for a selection of excellent apps. If you’re just trying to slim down a PDF, you can read how to compress a PDF and reduce its file size.

If you don’t want to download software, then there is the option of using a dedicated file compression site which allows you to upload the image and then have it converted for you, usually for free. One such site is IMG2GO, but a quick Google will bring up plenty of choices.

How to reduce image file size on a Mac

There are a few different methods from shrinking down files sizes on the Mac, with the built-in Preview app being one of the easiest. For a full step-by-step guide to the process, as well as other ideas, take a look at how to resize an image on a Mac or how to create zip files on a Mac.

How to reduce image file size on a Chromebook

If you’re one of the many who have switched to Chromebooks in recent years, then you read our guide on how to zip and unzip files on Chromebook.

So, there you have it. A range of routes for cutting down the size of your images, no matter which device you’re using. If you need help with moving images that are too large to share, be sure to also take a look at our tutorial on how to reduce video size.