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How to Open HEIC Files: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Open HEIC Files

In recent years, the High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIC) has become increasingly popular, especially since Apple adopted it as the default format for photos on iOS devices. This format saves images at just half the size of traditional JPGs without compromising on quality, making it an excellent choice for storage efficiency. However, opening HEIC files on various devices can sometimes pose a challenge. This guide will walk you through the steps and tools needed to open HEIC files across different platforms.

Understanding HEIC Files

Before diving into how to open HEIC files, let’s quickly understand what they are. HEIC stands for High Efficiency Image Container, a file format based on the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Compression) standard. It’s particularly favored for its ability to maintain high-quality images at reduced file sizes. Despite its advantages, compatibility is its main drawback, as not all operating systems and software natively support HEIC files yet.

How to Open HEIC Files on Windows

Windows 10 and later versions offer limited support for HEIC files. To open these files, you might need to install additional codecs. Here’s how:

  1. Download HEIF Image Extensions: The HEIF Image Extension enables Windows 10 and 11 devices to read and write files using the High Efficiency Image File format. You can download this extension for free from the Microsoft Store.
  2. Download HEVC Video Extensions: HEIC files also require the HEVC video extension for full compatibility. This extension is available in the Microsoft Store, sometimes at a small fee.

After installing these extensions, you should be able to open HEIC files directly with the Photos app or any other image viewer that supports the format.

How to Open HEIC Files on macOS

macOS High Sierra and later versions natively support HEIC files, making it easy to view them:

  1. Using Preview: Simply double-click the HEIC file. macOS will use Preview by default to open it, allowing you to view the image.
  2. Using Photos: Importing HEIC files into the Photos app will also let you view and edit them just like any other image file.

How to Convert HEIC to JPG

If you need to open HEIC files on a system that does not support the format, converting them to JPG is a reliable workaround. This can be done using various online converters or software:

  1. Online Converters: Websites like allow you to upload HEIC files and convert them to JPG format effortlessly.
  2. Software Solutions: Programs like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP can open HEIC files and then save them in JPG format or any other preferred format.


While HEIC files offer numerous advantages in terms of storage and image quality, their compatibility issues can be a hindrance. Fortunately, with the right tools and knowledge, opening HEIC files across different devices and platforms becomes a straightforward task. Whether you choose to install the necessary codecs on Windows, leverage the native support on macOS, or convert HEIC files to a more universally compatible format like JPG, you can ensure that you’re able to access and view your high-quality images without hassle.

Remember, as more devices and software begin to support HEIC files, the process of opening them will likely become even easier, further enhancing the format’s utility and popularity.

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