A HEIC file is a raster image saved in the High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF), a lossy compressed media container format commonly used to store images. It may contain a single image, a collection of images, image bursts, or image sequences, along with metadata that describes each image. HEIC files may also appear as .HEIF files.
HEIF is based on the High Efficiency Video Compression (HEVC), which is also known as H.265. The format was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and became popular in 2017 when iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra was released. In iOS 11 you can save images as HEIC files instead of JPEG files, which require considerably less storage than JPEG files without sacrificing image quality.
If an iPhone user shares a HEIC image with a non-iPhone user or to a social site, the HEIC image is automatically converted to a JPEG image. If you do not want iOS to save images in the HEIF format, open your "Settings" app, and select
. Selecting means that iOS will now save images in the JPEG format.
HEIC files are supported by Apple Preview and Apple Photos (macOS High Sierra and later), and iOS Photos (iOS 11 and later). You can view HEIC files in Windows using the desktop or web version of Dropbox. You can also install CopyTrans HEIC for Windows, which allows programs, such as Windows Explorer and Windows Photo Viewer to open HEIC files. HEIC files can also be opened by Windows 10 devices with the HEIF Image and HEVC Video Extensions installed from the Microsoft Store.
iMazing HEIC Converter can be used to convert HEIC files to JPG or PNG files. The program is available for Windows or macOS.
NOTE: Besides smartphones, the HEIF format has also been adopted by select digital cameras and web browsers.