How to View and Open Apple HEIC Photo Format Images in Windows 10 OS

The HEIC (High Efficiency Image File Format) is an image container format developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and standardized under ISO/IEC 23008-12. It was introduced by Apple in iOS 11 and is now the default format for photos captured on iPhone 7 and later models.

What is HEIC Format

The key features of HEIC format include:

  • Highly efficient compression – HEIC files take up around half the space of an equivalent JPEG image while preserving image quality. This saves storage space on devices.
  • Support for high bit-depth images – HEIC supports 10/12/16-bit color depth images compared to 8-bit JPEGs. This allows greater color accuracy.
  • Retains metadata – The HEIC container retains image metadata like GPS location, date shot etc.
  • Supports animation – HEIC can store burst mode photos and live photos as image sequences and animations.

Why HEIC Images Have Compatibility Issues on Windows

Since the HEIC format is relatively new, it is not natively supported on Windows machines. When you try to open a HEIC image on Windows 10, you’ll get an error saying “We can’t open this file”.

This happens because Windows photo viewer and other image software do not have the appropriate codecs installed to decode HEIC images. So you need to install additional HEIC extensions to enable Windows 10 to display HEIC photos correctly.

How to View HEIC Images on Windows 10

Here are the 3 easy methods to open and view HEIC images on Windows 10:

1. Install HEIF and HEVC Extensions from Microsoft Store

The simplest way is to install the HEIC and HEVC codecs offered by Microsoft:

  • Open Microsoft Store and search for “HEIF Image Extensions”. Install it.
  • Also install “HEVC Video Extensions” (free version).

Once installed, Windows 10 will be able to render HEIC images in the Photos app.

2. Use Third-Party HEIC Viewers

There are several good third-party tools available that can open HEIC files easily on Windows:

  • XnView – Powerful and free image viewer with inbuilt HEIC support.
  • IrfanView – Fast and compact viewer that can display HEIC with plugin.
  • FastStone Image Viewer – Intuitive photo viewer supporting HEIC natively.

3. Convert HEIC to JPEG

An alternative solution is to convert the HEIC images to more compatible JPEG format:

  • Use the Photos app – Open the HEIC file in Photos app, then save a copy as JPEG.
  • Online Converters – Free websites like HEICtoJPG.com and HEIC.online offer hassle-free HEIC to JPEG conversion.
  • Desktop Software – Tools like XnConvert allow batch converting HEIC files to JPEGs easily.

How to Bulk Convert HEIC Images on Windows 10

To convert multiple HEIC images together, you can use the following methods:

  • ImageMagick – Open-source command line tool to automate conversion by writing scripts.
  • Adobe Photoshop – Import HEIC files and use “Save As” to convert into JPEG/PNG format.
  • IrfanView – Supports batch processing many images at once with plugins.
  • XnConvert – User-friendly batch image processor to convert entire HEIC albums in one go.

So in summary, while HEIC images offer efficient compression, they have some compatibility issues on Windows machines. With the HEIC extensions/codecs installed or by converting to more common JPEG format, you can easily open and view Apple’s new photo format on your Windows 10 computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I edit HEIC files on Windows 10?

Yes, with the HEIC extensions installed, you can open HEIC files for editing in image editors like Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.NET etc. on Windows 10.

Q. Is there any loss in image quality when converting from HEIC to JPEG?

There is very minor loss in quality as JPEG uses lossy compression while HEIC uses more advanced HEVC compression. But the difference is mostly indistinguishable to the human eye.

Q. How do I change iPhone camera to save photos as JPEG instead of HEIC?

Go to Settings > Camera > Formats and toggle on ‘High Efficiency’ option. This will save new photos as JPEG instead of HEIC while retaining HEIC for videos.

Q. What is the alternative free container of HEVC Video Extensions from Microsoft Store?

You can install the free HEVC Video Extensions from Codecs.com instead of paying $0.99 for the Microsoft version.