Windows 10: How to use HEIF / HEIC

iPhones take photos and videos in HEIC / HEIF formats. This is how you can also use the new formats under Windows.

Since the Windows 10 update in autumn 2018, the Redmond company introduced an official solution for Windows users to use the new file formats. So nothing needs to be installed to view HEIF videos and photos. For

older Windows 10 versions

Microsoft offers its own image and video extensions for the HEIF and HEIC / HEVC file formats. These extensions can be conveniently obtained from the Microsoft Store within Windows 10. You can do without more complicated detours to use the file formats by installing these extensions. The image extension for the HEIF format is free, the video extension for the HEIC and HEVC formats costs 0.99 euros.

By the way:

How to convert HEIC photos to JPG format is explained in detail in this article.

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Use of the formats without the official extensions and further information and tips about the new file formats:

What is a HEIC file?

When copying photos from a recent iPhone or iPad to a PC or laptop, you will likely see lots of weird HEIC files:

Files in HEIC format

HEIC is the new file type for photos from iOS version 11. iPhones and iPads with an A9 processor or newer, i.e. iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, iPad Pro models and all more recent devices already support the new format.

HEIC is another name for HEIF, short for “High Efficiency Image Format”. It’s the image version of HEVC, the newest video codec.

It was developed by MPEG – not Apple – so it’s not Apple trying to impose its new image format on everyone. In fact, HEIC could very well replace the established (but old and faulty) JPG format.

Essentially, although it is a little confusing, there are some advantages to using HEIF that the file is called HEIC rather than HEIF as it is on Apple devices. Here are some of the benefits of HEIC:

  • Only about half the size of JPG with the same quality

  • Can save multiple photos in one file (ideal for live photos and burst recordings)

  • Supports transparency like GIF files

  • Save image edits, such as cropping and rotating, to undo them

  • Supports 16-bit colors compared to 8-bit JPGs

How to open a HEIC file

Paint.Net supports the processing of HEIC files since version 4.2. You can also convert HEIC files to JPG format. This works, for example, with a free application such as iMazing HEIC Converter or Apowersoft’s HEIC to JPG Converter or an online converter such as HEIC to JPG.

When you download the iMazing HEIC Converter, you get a small tool that you can use to drag and drop files to JPG or PNG format.

Conversion process in iMazing

If you prefer not to install an app, use HEIC to JPG online. Simply open the page in your browser and drag and drop up to 30 HEIC files into the field provided.

Home of HEICtoJPG

The files are automatically optimized and converted, but you have to download each file individually, which is a bit of a hassle.

Conversion process from HEICtoJPG

Procedure without converting the photos yourself

Do you want to avoid converting the photos as much as possible? No problem. As long as you still have the photos on your iPhone or iPad, you can select and share them via email or upload them to a cloud storage service.

When you do, they will be converted to JPEGs automatically. If you choose to share via email, you can choose the size – always choose the original (maximum) file size if you want to keep the best quality.

And if you’re using a cloud provider like Google Drive, the files should be saved with a .jpeg extension anyway.

You can also upload HEIC files to your Dropbox folder from your phone or PC. Dropbox already supports HEIC files (along with HEVC videos) so you can view and share the photos with your Dropbox account.

HEIC files in the Dropbox

View HEIC / HEIF images on Windows via plug-in

Copytrans offers the free extension Copytrans HEIC for Windows. With this plug-in you can view and print the images in full preview quality in Windows Explorer. Right-click to convert the images to JPEG. So they can be used as usual with any image processing. You can even add HEIC photos directly in Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. The plug-in is compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10.

More information:

How to Prevent HEIC Photos on iPhone

Open Settings on your iOS device and scroll down until you see the Camera app. Once in their settings, tap on Formats.

Here you have to change the “Camera Recording” settings from “High Efficiency” to “Maximum Compatibility”.

The iOS settings for the various picture formats


The iOS settings for the various picture formats

This article is partially translated from a post by our UK colleagues at

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