.HEIC File Extension
File TypeHigh Efficiency Image Format
What is a HEIC file?
An HEIC file contains one or more images saved in the High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF), a file format most commonly used to store photos on iOS devices. It contains an image or sequence of images likely created by an iPhone or iPad's Camera app, as well as metadata describing each image. HEIC files are most commonly saved with the .heic extension but may also be saved as .HEIF files.
HEIF, also known as H.265, is a digital photo storage format that saves images at a higher quality and in smaller-sized files than the .JPEG format. This reduces the amount of space photos take up on memory cards and mobile devices. In 2017, with the release of iOS 11, Apple made HEIF the default photo storage format for iOS devices. With this change, iPhones and iPads began saving users' photos as HEIC files.
When Apple added HEIF support to iOS, they also added HEIF support to macOS, with the release of High Sierra. In 2018, Google followed suit by adding HEIF support to Android, and Microsoft added HEIF support to Windows. To open HEIC files in Microsoft applications, however, users must manually install the Microsoft HEIF Image Extensions and HEVC Video Extensions packages from the Microsoft Store.
When you export or send a photo captured using an iOS device's Camera app to a non-iOS device or application, the photo is typically converted from an HEIC file to a JPEG or .JPG file. For example, when you upload an iPhone photo to Twitter or send it in an email, the photo is automatically converted to a JPEG. If you'd like to automatically save your iOS photos as JPEG files instead of HEIC files, you can do so by:
- Opening your iOS device's Settings app.
- Selecting .
After you select, your device will begin saving photos as JPEGs.
NOTE: Some digital cameras also save images in the HEIC format.
How do I open a HEIC file?
In Windows, you can open HEIC files in Microsoft Windows Photos after installing the Microsoft HEIF Image Extensions and HEVC Video Extensions packages from the Microsoft Store. There is a small charge for the HEVC Video Extensions package. You can also open HEIC files and convert them to other image formats in File Viewer Plus.
In Android, Chrome OS, and on the web, you can open HEIC photos in Google Photos.
How do I convert an HEIC file to another image format, like JPEG?
There are a number of applications you can use to convert HEIC files to the JPEG format, as well as other common image formats:
- Apple Photos (Mac)
- Apple Preview (Mac)
- File Viewer Plus (Windows)
- HEIC Image Viewer Decoder (Web, Chrome OS)
- Luma: HEIF Viewer and Converter (Android)
Additionally, some cloud storage applications automatically convert HEIC files to JPGs as you upload them. For example, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox automatically convert HEIC files to JPG files.