The HEIC format (short for High-Efficiency Image Container) has been the default format on iPhones since iOS 11. As the name suggests, the HEIC file is incredibly efficient at storing photos, often taking up half the size of a JPG file without compromising image quality. However, the format has yet to be widely adopted outside of the Apple ecosystem.
Due to compatibility issues, iOS will automatically convert HEIC images to JPG whenever you share them with other apps. But if you are using iPhone and PC, you will surely bump heads with the HEIC file sooner rather than later. iCloud for Windows, for example, does not sync HEIC images in a PC-compatible format.
If you want to open HEIC files on Windows, you must either download the appropriate codecs or manually convert them to a compatible format.
How to open HEIC files in Windows 10 with codecs
If you have Windows 10 version 1809 or later, you can open HEIC files by installing two codecs from Microsoft – HEIF Image Extensions and HEVC Video Extensions HEVC (short for High-Efficiency Video Coding) is another efficient format the iPhone uses to store video.
But there is a catch; Although HEIF Image Extensions is completely free, HEVC Video Extensions costs $ 0.99. Even if you have no intention of opening HEVC videos, you must have both codecs installed in order to open HEIC files on Windows.
1. Open the Microsoft Store app.
2. Find and open the HEIF Image Extensions page.
3. Select “Get” to install the HEIF Image Extensions codec.
4. Find and open the HEVC Video Extensions page.
5. Select Buy to purchase and install the HEVC Video Extensions codec.
6. After installing both codecs, restart your computer.
7. Try to open the HEIC file. It should open in the Photos app. If instead you see a pop-up asking you to choose a program to open the file, select Photos, select the Always use this application to open .HEIC files check box, and then select Open.
If you want to open the HEIC image in another program (such as Paint or Windows Photo Viewer) later, just right-click the file, choose Open With, and then choose Choose Another Application.
How to convert HEIC photos to JPG in Windows 10
Aside from codecs, there are several cases where you might want to convert HEIC files to the widely compatible image format on Windows.
- You are dealing with a rare batch of HEIC files.
- You don’t want to pay for the HEVC Video Extensions codec.
- You are using an older version of Windows that does not support the HEIF Image Extensions and HEVC Video Extensions codecs.
- You want to share HEIC files with someone using a non-HEIC device.
- Your computer is experiencing performance issues when opening HEIC images.
In these cases, we recommend using the iMazing HEIC Converter It is a free utility that can be used to easily convert batches of HEIC files to JPG or PNG formats.
2. Launch iMazing HEIC Converter Then open the File menu and choose Open Files to select the files you want to convert.
Alternatively, you can drag and drop HEIC files directly into the iMazing HEIC Converter window.
3. Select an output format (JPEG or PNG), use the Quality slider to adjust the output quality, and then select Convert.
4. Specify the output location and click the Create New Folder button to create a new folder if you want. Click OK to start the conversion process.
5. Click Show Files to open the converted files in Explorer. Or click OK to go back and convert other HEIC files.
If you have HEIF Image Extensions and HEVC Video Extensions codecs installed, you can also use Photos app to convert HEIC files to JPG. While viewing an image, open the Edit & Create menu, choose Edit, and then use the Save A Copy option. You cannot convert images in batches.
Other ways to view or convert HEIC files
There are several additional HEIC imaging techniques you can use if you are using an iPhone and PC.
Use the iCloud Photos web app
1. Visit iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID.
2. Select Photos to open the iCloud Photos web app.
3. Double-click any HEIC image to open it in the web application. Use the sidebar to navigate your iCloud Photo Library.
4. Select the Download icon in the upper right corner of the iCloud Photos web app to download any open HEIC JPG image.
You can also upload multiple HEIC images in JPG format at the same time. Hold down the Ctrl key while selecting images.
USB Image Transfer
Your iPhone can transfer HEIC images in a compatible format to your computer whenever you copy them over USB.
1. Connect iPhone to computer via USB.
2. Click “Allow” on iPhone to give the computer permission to access your photos and videos.
3. Open File Explorer and select Apple iPhone in the sidebar. Then select Internal Storage. Then select the DCIM folder.
4. Copy any HEIC image from the film. It should be automatically transferred to your computer in JPG format.
If it doesn’t, open the iPhone Settings app, select Photos, scroll down and select Automatic. Try again.
Shoot JPG photos on iPhone
You can also force iPhone to take photos directly in JPG format. This may fix future compatibility issues with Windows, especially if you have iCloud Photos configured on your computer.
However, JPG images will almost double as HEIC images, so you might not want to do this if your iPhone’s memory is an issue.
1. Open the iPhone Settings app and select Camera.
2. Select “Formats”.
3. Select “Most Compatible”.
Your iPhone will now take JPG photos. iCloud Photos should also sync images in the same format with your computer. It will not affect old HEIC photos stored on your iPhone or iCloud.