Opening HEIC files

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

What is a HEIC 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. You may have problems opening HEIC files on your Windows PC, as not all versions of Windows have native support for these files.

HEIC is an acronym for High-Efficiency Image Container, which is an image format invented by Moving Picture Experts Group. It is used instead of the older JPEG format and has multiple advantages like smaller file size (without quality loss), 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.

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. You will have to visit the Microsoft app store and install the Microsoft HEIF Image Extensions, and 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.

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

Software that will open, convert or fix HEIC files

Unfortunately we have not received enough suggestions for software that can open HEIC files yet.

Try a universal file viewer

I would suggest that you try a universal file viewer like Free File Viewer. It can open over 200 different types of files - and very likely yours too! Download Free File Viewer.

By Prof. Jones (The File Expert)

Chief Content Editor and File Expert

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