HEIC File - opening and understanding

Did your computer fail to open a HEIC file? We explain what they are used for and recommend software that we know can open or otherwise handle your .HEIC files.

What is a HEIC file?

A .HEIC file is a High-Efficiency Image Container file. A HEIC file contains one or more images and is usually created on an Apple device like an iPad or iPhone. Apple introduced the format in macOS High Sierra and in iOS 11. However, you may have problems opening HEIC files on your Windows PC, as not all versions of Windows have native support for these files.

The HEIC image format was invented by Moving Picture Experts Group. It is used instead of the older JPEG format. It has multiple advantages like smaller file size (without quality loss), the option to store multiple images in one file (great for photo bursts), 16-bit color support, image revision history, etc.

You may hear HEIF or HEIC used interchangeably, as the format invented by MPEG is really called HEIF (High-Efficiency Image Format). Why Apple decided to call files on their devices HEIC is unknown.

How do you open HEIC files on Windows 10?

HEIF support was also introduced in Windows 10 with build 1809, released in October 2018. However, it doesn't come included out of the box. Instead, you will have to visit the Microsoft app store and install the Microsoft HEIF Image Extensions. In addition to that, you will also need to install the HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) Video Extensions package, as the Microsoft HEIF Image Extensions uses the decompression codec included in this package when displaying HEIF images.

How do you convert HEIC to JPEG?

It may be simpler to use an online conversion service like heictojpg.com to convert your HEIC files to JPEG. File.org is not affiliated with that site, so make sure you familiarize yourself with their privacy policy before converting sensitive photos using their service.

How to open HEIC files

You will need a program compatible with the specific file you are trying to open, as different programs may use files with file extension HEIC for different purposes.

We have not yet verified any programs for Windows that work with this specific file format. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below. Thanks!

Suggest another file format using extension HEIC

While we know of one file format using the .HEIC file extension, there may be more. It is widespread that different programs use files with the same file extension for very different types of data. Please let us know if you are aware of a different kind of .HEIC file.