How to Convert and View HEIC Files in Windows 10

windows 10 photos

Original image via Leigh Prather / Adobe Stock

If you have an iPhone or you’ve received a picture shared by an iPhone user, you may have noticed a problem. Recent iPhones shoot pictures by default in the HEIC format, a high efficiency image format that reduces the file size without lowering quality.

Apple added HEIC support to Macs and iOS last fall, but although it’s an industry standard format, Microsoft has yet to include built-in support for HEIC in Windows 10. Therefore, when you open a folder of HEIC images in Windows 10, you see this:

windows heic photos

Add HEIC to Windows 10

Thankfully, there’s a safe and easy solution. Although Microsoft doesn’t include HEIC support in the default Windows 10 installation, you can add support for this format via an official extension from the Microsoft Store. If you’re running Windows 10 version 17134 (a.k.a. the April Update) or higher, search for HEIF Image Extensions in the Microsoft Store app.

windows 10 heic extension

This extension adds native HEIC support to virtually all Windows 10-based devices, including the Xbox One and any Windows Mobile holdouts. After installing it, simply return to the location of your HEIC pictures in File Explorer, reload the directory if necessary, and you’ll see that Windows 10 can now open HEIC images, including support for things like thumbnail previews.

heic images in windows 10

Convert HEIC Images in Windows 10

If instead of simply being able to view HEIC files in Windows 10, if you want to convert them to a more compatible format there are several options:

  1. Export from Photos App: With the HEIF Extensions installed, right-click on an HEIC file and choose Edit with Photos. Once the Photos app opens, click Save a copy in the lower-right corner to export a copy of the photo to JPEG.
  2. Use a Web-Based Conversion Service: Several websites offer HEIC to JPEG image conversion services. One that works relatively well is heictojpg.com, which can covert up to 50 photos at once.
  3. CopyTrans HEIC: In addition to adding HEIC support to versions of Windows 10 prior to the April Update, this free utility can also convert your existing HEIC images to JPEG.

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