How to Open HEIC File on Your System?

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How to open HEIC file? You may encounter problems when you try to use those images on a Windows 10 PC. Even if your PC won’t let you open them, you’re not completely out of luck. HEIC files can be opened on Windows 10, but you can also convert them to a friendlier JPEG format.

Even if you have never heard of HEIC, you are already using it if you own an iPhone. It is a highly efficient image encoder that delivers at least the same quality as a JPEG but in much smaller file size. This is particularly useful for smartphones with limited storage space.

In fact, HEIC wasn’t developed by Apple, but by the same team behind MPEG. This means that it will eventually be used more widely. When you save images on the iPhone, it doesn’t matter that they are in HEIC, you won’t notice any difference.

how to open an heic file
how to open an heic file

What is HEIC? 

HEIC is the name Apple gave to its container for HEIF (High-Efficiency Image File), which is based on the HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Compression) video format.

Thanks to a more modern compression method, the result is images that are high-quality while taking up less storage space.

HEIC can be disabled on the iPhone, but it has become Apple’s default photo storage format since its introduction in iOS 11. That means you have probably been using it without even realizing it.

Steps to open HEIC files on Windows 10

It might seem painful to open a HEIC file for the first time on Windows 10, but fear not. You can fix the problem really easily and you’ll be able to open your images in no time.

Support will eventually be baked into Windows 10, but for now, we need extensions in order to get it working.

How do I open a HEIC file in Windows 10?

Please make sure you have the latest version of Windows 10. (If you are not sure, type winver into the search box at the bottom-left of your desktop.) If the version is below 1809, open the Settings app and select Update & Security > Windows Update.

After installing the support utility, you will need to install the HEIF Image Extensions from the Microsoft Store. Most users already have the app installed on their devices, so it is usually available for free.

You can get the HEVC video extensions by clicking the following link. Additionally, it will cost you £0.79/US$0.99, but it feels like a small price to pay for the extra functionality.

Before October 2020, you could get this tool for free by using the identical Device Manufacturer version, but since then you have to redeem an eligible code in order to access it.

Our separate guide on installing HEVC codecs on Windows provides more information on opening H.265 videos.

Click the ‘Get’ button for both tools and wait for the software to download.

You should now be able to open a HEIC file in the default Windows 10 Photos app by double-clicking on it. In this case, you should see a window similar to the one below where you can click the Photos app and check the box marked: Always use this app for opening.HEIC files.

Steps to open HEIC files on Windows 11 

  1. Launch the Photos app and open a HEIC file. Windows 11 and Windows 10 come with a built-in image viewer called Photos. By default, the app does not support HEIC, so when you open your photo, you’ll have to select the app from a menu.
  2. Photos display a link to the HEVC extension that lets you open HEIC files (among others) in the Microsoft Store when you click ‘Download and install it now. Click it.
  3. Launch the Microsoft Store by confirming that you want to do so. Windows 11 will ask you if you want to switch to a new app; let it launch Microsoft’s app store.
  4. Click on the “$0.99” button. Alternatively, if you’re outside the U.S., click whichever button displays the extension’s price in your local currency. You’ll find it on the far left side of the page. If you would like to pay with a credit card, PayPal, or a gift card balance, you will be prompted to do so. That’s up to you.
  5. Once you have selected your payment method (and have set it up if this is your first time purchasing from the Microsoft Store), you will see a confirmation window. Please click “Buy” to proceed with your purchase so you can install the extension.
  6. Verify the purchase was successful. A new “Open” button should appear where the “$0.99” button or equivalent used to be. Clicking it will do nothing, but it will show that the extension was successfully installed.
  7. Locate your HEIC file. Double-click on the file you started with. Photos should launch and display your image, thanks to the HEVC Video Extension. (While out and about, we decided to send some friends a vanity plate.

Steps to Convert HEIC to JPEG on Windows OS

Download and install CopyTrans HEIC for Windows to convert HEIC files to standard JPG images quickly and easily.

In particular, this tool is useful on older versions of Windows 10 that do not have integrated support for HEIC images in the Photos app, as it installs full HEIC support in Windows. This adds support for HEIC images to the classic Windows Photo Viewer.

You can also right-click a HEIC file in File Explorer and select “Convert to JPEG” to convert it to a JPEG file quickly and easily using CopyTrans HEIC. If you choose this option, a JPEG version of the image will be placed in the same folder as the original HEIC.

JPEG files are more widely supported, so you can use HEIC files in applications that support JPEG images but not HEIC files.

How to Open HEIC Images in Other Applications

HEIC image files in HEIF format are now natively supported by more programs. Adobe Photoshop, for instance, can now open these files, although you must install the HEIF Image Extensions package as well as the HEVC Video Extensions package.

Another great, simple image viewer we like is IrfanView. According to IrfanView’s official FAQ, IrfanView can open HEIC image files as long as you have either the CopyTrans HEIC for Windows package or the HEIF and HEVC packages installed.

To learn more about HEIC support in your favorite image viewing or editing program, perform a web search for its name and “HEIC.”

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