Twitter quadruples photo sizes so those detailed shots look better – CNET

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Twitter knows its users respond to photos, so it’s ratcheting up its allowance on photo size.

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter has raised its limit on photo sizes, quadrupling the resolution with an increase from about 4 megapixels to 16 megapixels. That should let you zoom into photos better if your own screen is big enough to take advantage of the new detail that’s possible.

Twitter programmer Nolan O’Brien announced the change in a Tuesday tweet thread. The change only applies to images uploaded through the Twitter website, though, O’Brien and a Twitter representative said.

People are most likely to view and interact with tweets that have audio, video and photos, Twitter said in a statement. The resolution change means people can do all that “without having to sacrifice the quality of what they’re sharing.”

Tweaking photos may sound like a minor improvement, but it can be important. You might flick past many ho-hum photos, but every pixel can count when you want to dive into a lovely landscape, gawk at a close-up of an otherworldly insect or scrutinize a leaked product photo to try to figure out if it’s real or fake.

Next year, Twitter also will increase the size of profile photos that today are limited to 400×400 pixels, O’Brien said.

Twitter is sensitive to many people’s network limits. But when scrolling Twitter on a smartphone, you’ll still see Twitter’s much smaller shots.

O’Brien kicked off his tweet with a 1,200×800 pixel photo of bright red autumn leaves. Although that size would have been possible earlier, Twitter now preserves details that would have been altered before, he said. His example JPEG image had been encoded with Google’s Guetzli compression technology, which is slow to use but shrinks file sizes compared to typical JPEG photos.

There are still limits. “Images are not unbounded in file size or resolution, but those limits are very generous,”  O’Brien said. They’re high enough that Twitter won’t change most 8-megapixel images, and if your shot is square, you can reach 16 megapixels.

Previously, Twitter capped photos so the long edge was 2,048 pixels. The new limit is 4,096 pixels, a quick Twitter photo test indicates — a size that’s 16 megapixels for a square aspect ratio. I uploaded a 6720×4480 pixel shot, exported from Lightroom at a quality setting of 80 that was a 7.9MB file. Twitter compressed that down to 4,096×2,731 and a file size of 1.8MB.

It’s definitely not as crisp as the original, but it’s pretty good even on a high-resolution laptop screen.

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