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What are HEIC files and how to open them

Are you having problems opening a HEIC file or just wondering what they contain? We explain what these files are used for and show you software that we know can open or otherwise handle your 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 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 Moving Picture Experts Group invented the HEIC image format. 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 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. You can also use a tool like Bitberry File Opener with built-in support for HEIC.

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 familiarize yourself with their privacy policy before converting sensitive photos using their service.

How to open HEIC files

We have identified two HEIC openers that are compatible with this specific type of HEIC file.

Programs that open High-Efficiency Image Container files

Last updated: April 13, 2023

Various apps that use files with this extension

These apps are known to open certain types of HEIC files. Remember, different programs may use HEIC files for different purposes, so you may need to try out a few of them to be able to open your specific file.

GIMPGIMPUser submitted
Paint.NETPaint.NETUser submitted
CanvaCanvaUser submitted
QQBrowser6.0QQBrowser6.0User submitted
Adobe LightroomAdobe LightroomUser submitted
KritaKritaUser submitted
IrfanView for Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11IrfanView for Win7, Win8, Win10, Win11User submitted
PhotoPhotoUser submitted
IrfanView for Vista, Win7, Win8, Win10IrfanView for Vista, Win7, Win8, Win10User submitted
Pixillion BildkonverterPixillion BildkonverterUser submitted

Help us help others

File.org helps thousands of users every day, and we would love to hear from you if you have additional information about HEIC file formats, example files, or compatible programs. Please use the links below or email us at submit@file.org to discuss further.