.HEIC File Extension

High Efficiency Image Format

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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 stores 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.

More Information

Screenshot of a .heic file in Apple Preview
HEIC file open in Apple Preview

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.

When you export or send a photo captured with 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.

How to capture photos as JPEG images instead of HEIC in iOS

If you'd like your iOS device to automatically capture photos as JPEG files instead of HEIC files, you can do so by:

  1. Opening your iOS device's Settings app.
  2. Selecting Camera → Formats → Most Compatible.

After you select Most Compatible, your device will begin capturing photos as JPEGs.

NOTE: Some digital cameras also save images in the HEIC format.

How to open a HEIC file

In macOS and iOS, you can open and view HEIC photos in Apple Photos. In macOS, you can also open HEIC files in Apple Preview.

In Windows, you can open HEIC files in Microsoft Photos. As of Windows 11 22H2, you can open HEIC files simply by double-clicking them. In previous versions of Windows 11, and in Windows 10, you must install Microsoft's HEIF Image Extensions and HEVC Video Extensions packages before you can open HEIC files. There is a small charge for the HEVC Video Extensions package.

In Android, Chrome OS, and on the web, you can open HEIC photos with Google Photos.

How to convert a HEIC file

Various applications, including Apple Preview and Apple Photos, can convert HEIC files to other formats.

For example, in Apple Preview, select File → Export... to convert a HEIC file to one of the following formats:

  • .JPG - JPEG Image
  • .PNG - Portable Network Graphic
  • .JP2 - JPEG 2000 Core Image
  • .EXR - OpenEXR Image
  • .TIFF - Tagged Image File Format
  • .PDF - Portable Document Format

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.

Programs that open HEIC files

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the High Efficiency Image Format file format and Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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