HEIC or High Efficiency Image Container has been the default image format for iPhones since the release of iOS 11. This may be your first time reading and learning about HEIC unless you’re already acquainted with your iPhone’s camera settings. A reason for this unfamiliarity may probably lie in the fact that the HEIC technology is not widely implemented. It mainly sees its use only in iOS and macOS.

Image format issues begin when you port pictures from your iPhone to your Windows PC. You will notice that you cannot view, edit or simply do anything with those photos on your PC. This is because Windows uses the JPEG or JPG image format – which is a more widely utilized format. Even in such circumstances, you are not in the dark. Stick with us on this guide, as we will show how you can view HEIC image files on your Windows 11 computer and also how you can easily convert these image files to JPEG files.

What is an HEIC File?

The HEIC format was developed by MPEG or the Moving Picture Experts Group. Images taken in this format are saved as a .hiec or .heif file, which stands for High-Efficiency Image Format. There are numerous reasons why Apple uses this format as their default image format in iPhones.

One of the biggest benefits of using the HEIC format is that it uses a more effective and modern compression method. This facilitates storing high-quality images in smaller file sizes. This is very helpful in mobile devices where the storage is often limited.

Some other benefits of HEIC include the support for 16-bit colors. This format also supports storing multiple images in one file, thus it is great for burst images and iPhone’s signature feature; Live photos. This format is also capable of keeping editing data, making it friendly to edit software.

What is a JPEG File?

JPEG was developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group and is a largely used imaging format, mainly in digital photography. JPEG is broadly supported across many types of devices such as Windows computers, Android smartphones, etc. Images using this format generally have .jpeg or .jpg as their filename extensions.

One notable benefit of using JPEG is its wide compatibility. JPEG images are supported across almost all devices and all image editing software accept JPEG format. It also has the option to trade between image size and quality. JPEG format can achieve a 10:1 compression ratio.

How to Open HEIC Files in Windows 11

If you have downloaded or transferred a HEIC file to your PC, you will not be able to open the file right away. You can tell this immediately after saving the file — the image will not have any thumbnail or a format indicator. In Windows, this generally refers to a file with an unsupported file format.

When you double-click on the HEIC image file in the Photos app on Windows, it shows an error message that reads “The HEVC Video Extention is required to display this file”.

HEVC stands for High-Efficiency Video Codec. HIEC format compresses images using HEVC and then it stores the images as HEIF.

You can use two applications to view .hiec files in Windows 11. You have a free option and a paid option. The free option is a third-party application that you can download from the Microsoft Store. The paid option is the HEVC Video extension from Microsoft itself which costs $0.99.

Method 1

HEIC Image Viewer, Converter (Free)

HEIC Image Viewer, Converter is a free application that you can use to view .heic files on your Windows PC. Note that there is a ‘Converter’ in the name of the application and you can use this application to convert HIEC into JPEG but that will require you to purchase the paid version of the app.

To get HIEC Image Viewer, open Microsoft Store by searching for it in the Start menu via Windows Search.

On the ‘Microsoft Store’, click the search bar at the top and type ‘HEIC Image Viewer, Converter’. Now, select the application from the search results.

Click the blue ‘Install’ button when the application page loads.

Let the download finish and then select ‘Open’ to launch the application.

Note: After launching the application, your browser will automatically open and take you to the developer’s website. You can close the browser. There will also be a prompt window to buy the pro version. You could opt for this version. But after we cover another free application that can be used to convert .heic files to .jpeg.

After the application opens, click on ‘Open’ to open the .heic file.

Then, navigate to the directory where you have saved the .heic image. Click on the .heic image once to select the file and then click on ‘Open’.

Now you will be able to open the file and view the picture.

Method 2

The HEVC Video Extension

‘The HEVC Video Extension’ is developed by Microsoft to provide support for .heic files. You can get this application without needing to browse the Microsoft store. Open the File Explorer and click on the .heic file again. Now, click on the blue underlined text that says ‘Download and install it now’ to go directly to the download page.

A new window will pop up asking ‘Did you mean to switch apps?’. Select ‘Yes’.

Before downloading the application, you must purchase it. The download will automatically start once you have made the purchase.

After the download finishes, use File Explorer to navigate to the folder where the .heic file is located. Double-click on it to open.

Now that you have downloaded the HEVC Video Extension, you will be open and view the file without any third-party application.

How to Convert HEIC Files into JPEG Files

To convert any .heic image on Windows 11 you can use the ‘iMazing HIEC Converter’ application. You can download this application for free from the store. Follow the steps to learn how you can download the application from the store and use it to convert HEIC files into JPEG.

To download ‘iMazing HIEC Converter’, head over to ‘Microsoft Store’ by clicking on the ‘Windows’ button.

Typing ‘iMzaing HEIC Converter’ in the store’s search field and select the app from the search results.

Click the blue ‘Get’ button on the ‘Imazing HEIC Converter’ application page. The download will start immediately.

Once the download finishes, click the blue ‘Open’ button. It will launch the application.

After opening the ‘iMazing HEIC Converter’, click the ‘File’ button to select a .heic image.

Now, from the menu, click on ‘Open Files…’ to launch the File Explorer.

Select the picture you wish to convert on the File Explorer window by clicking on it once. Then click on ‘Open’.

Now, make sure the chosen ‘Format’ is JPEG. Use the ‘Quality’ slider and set it to 100 to maintain maximum quality after conversion. Then, click on ‘Convert’.

Browse through the files and choose the folder you wish to save the converted file. Then, click ‘OK’.

You will see a ‘Conversion Successful’ window. Here, click ‘Show Files’ to directly go to the location of the saved converted file.

Now, you will see that you have a copy of the existing .heic image in a .jpg format. This indicates that you have successfully converted the HEIC file into a JPEG file.

These are the methods you can use to view HEIC images on your Windows 11 computer and convert them into JPEG files. Hope this guide comes in handy!