If you’re struggling to open a HEIC file on Windows 10, here’s how you fix once and for all.
If you try to open a HEIC file on your Windows PC, you will find that your machine says the file format is not supported. That happens because Windows does not support this new image format that Apple uses on its latest iOS devices.
Apple introduced this new HEIC image format on its iPhone and iPad devices, starting with iOS 11. While this format opens just fine on your Apple device, it won’t necessarily open that easily on other machines, including your Windows PC.
Luckily, you have some third-party methods to add support for and view HEIC files on your Windows computer. Here we take a look at some of those options.
1. Open HEIC on Windows Using CopyTrans
CopyTrans HEIC for Windows is a completely free tool (for personal use) that adds support for HEIC files to your Windows machine. It actually adds native support for this file format which means you can view HEIC in your existing image viewer after installing this tool.
Your HEIC photos will open just like your other photos in Windows Photo Viewer once you’ve installed this tiny app.
Here’s how you get the app and use it on your PC:
- Head to the CopyTrans HEIC for Windows site and download and install the tool on your computer.
- Right-click on one of your HEIC photos and select Properties.
- Make sure you’re in the General tab, then click Change.
- Select Windows Photo Viewer as the default tool to open your HEIC photos.
- Click Apply followed by OK at the bottom.
- Double-click on any of your HEIC files and they’ll natively open in the Windows Photo Viewer.
One good aspect of this tool is that it lets you convert your HEIC photos to the widely recognized JPEG format. You can perform this conversion with ease from your context menu.
To convert an image, select your HEIC photos in File Explorer, right-click on any one photo, and select Convert to JPEG with CopyTrans. The tool will convert and save the resulting photos in the same folder as your original photos.
Your original photos remain intact.
2. Convert HEIC to JPEG Online
Another way to open HEIC photos on your Windows machine is to convert your photos to a compatible format on the web. There are many free online tools to help you upload your HEIC photos, edit them if you want, and convert them to a popular format like PNG or JPEG.
HEIC to JPEG is one of these online tools to perform the conversion. Here’s how it works.
- Open the HEIC to JPEG site in your browser.
- Drag all your HEIC photos that you want to convert to JPEG over to the box on the site. It supports a maximum of five photos at a time.
- The tool will start converting your files once the files are uploaded.
- Download the resulting JPEG files to your Windows computer.
3. Convert HEIC to JPEG Offline on Windows
Online conversion tools are ideal if you are only looking to convert a handful of HEIC files. If you have several photos to convert, an offline tool is quicker and more convenient.
iMazing HEIC Converter is a free offline solution to convert your HEIC photos to JPEG or PNG format. There are some configurable options as well that you can use while converting your files.
Once the photos are converted, you can open them in most image viewers on your machine. Here’s how to perform the conversion:
- Download and install the free iMazing HEIC Converter from the Microsoft Store.
- Open the tool, drag the photos that you want to convert, and drop them onto the tool’s interface.
- Select either JPEG or PNG from the Format dropdown menu, tick Keep EXIF data if you want to preserve the EXIF data, use the Quality slider to adjust the quality for your photos, and finally hit Convert.
- Select a folder where you want to save the converted files and click OK.
- Once the photos are converted, click Show Files to view your photos in File Explorer.
4. Use a Paid Option to Open HEIC on Windows
Microsoft has an official option to let you open HEIC photos on your PC, but that option is behind a paywall. You need to buy an app in order to add native support for HEIC photos to your machine.
Until the option becomes free, which I believe it should at one point, you can buy and use the app as follows to open HEIC on Windows:
- Launch the Microsoft Store, search for HEVC Video Extensions. It’ll set you back $0.99.
- Once the tool is installed, install another tool called HEIF Image Extensions from the same Store. This one is free.
- When both tools are installed, double-click your HEIC files and they should open.
5. Get Your iPhone or iPad to Produce a Compatible File Format
On your iPhone and iPad, there’s actually an option to change what format your photos are saved in. You can change this option so that your device doesn’t use HEIC, and that will resolve all of the incompatibility issues you are facing.
Here’s how you do that:
- Launch the Settings app and tap Camera.
- Tap Formats and select Most Compatible.
Your iOS device will now use JPEG for all your camera photos.
There’s another option to fix this incompatibility issue and that is to get your iOS device to convert your HEIC photos to JPEG when you are transferring the photos. Your device already has this option and all you need to do is turn it on.
Here’s how you do that:
- Go to Settings and tap Photos.
- Tick Automatic in the Transfer to Mac or PC section. Your iOS device will now always transfer compatible photos to your Mac or Windows PC.
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Getting Support for HEIC on Your Windows PC
With most iPhones using HEIC as their primary image format, you’re naturally going to come across many of these files on your PC. With the methods described above, you will be able to open the HEIC file format without an issue on your Windows computer. You can even convert your HEIC photos to other formats if you prefer to do that.
Apple uses HEIC for photos because it provides great compression while still maintaining the original photo quality. If you are curious, you might be interested in learning how compression works.
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