How to Open HEIC Files on Windows (or Convert Them to JPEG)

Apple’s iPhone and iPad now take photos in the HEIF image format, and these photos have the .HEIC file extension. Windows doesn’t natively support HEIC files, but there’s a way to view them anyway—or convert them to standard JPEGs.

Windows 10 (April 2018 Update)

Windows 10’s April 2018 Update makes it easy to install support for HEIC files.

If you’ve upgraded to this version of Windows 10, you can double-click an HEIC file to open the Photos app. Click the “Download codecs at Microsoft Store” link in the Photos app.

The Store app will open to the HEIF Image Extensions page. Click the “Get” button to download and install the free codecs on your PC.

You can now open HEIC files like any other image—just double-click them and they’ll open in the Photos app. Windows will also show thumbnails of HEIC images in File Explorer.

How to Open HEIC Files on Windows

RELATED: What is the HEIF (or HEIC) Image Format?

Rather than messing with conversion tools, we recommend you just download and install CopyTrans HEIC for Windows. This tool adds full support for HEIC images to Windows. You’ll see thumbnails for HEIC files in File Explorer on Windows 10 (or Windows Explorer on Windows 7), and they’ll open in the standard Windows Photo Viewer. With this tool installed, you’ll also be able to insert HEIC files directly into Microsoft Office applications.

While you do have to install this third-party software to view HEIC files, it doesn’t feel like you’re using a third-party app afterwards. It’s as if Windows always supported these images: just double-click an .HEIC file to open it.

If you don’t see the thumbnails after installing this software, you may have to reboot your PC or at least sign out and sign back in.

This tool also allows you to right-click an .HEIC file and select “Convert to JPEG” to convert it to a JPEG file. Click this option and you’ll get a .JPEG version of the image automatically placed in the same folder.

JPEG files are more widely supported, so this also allows you to share that HEIC image with someone else or import it into an application that supports JPEG images but not HEIC files.

How to Convert HEIC Files to JPEG

If you don’t want to install any software, you can always use an online conversion tool. Just upload the .HEIC file and you’ll be able to download a .JPEG.

Warning: While the website below worked perfectly fine for us, we strongly recommend against uploading any private photos (or documents, or videos) to online tools for conversion. If the photo has sensitive content, it’s best to leave it on your PC. On the other hand, if the photo wouldn’t be interesting to anyone snooping, there’s no real concern with uploading it to an online service. This is a general recommendation with any type of file. For example, we recommend you don’t upload PDFs with sensitive financial or business data in them to PDF conversion services, either.

If you just want to do a quick conversion, head to heictojpg.com and upload up to 50 photos at a time. You can drag and drop one or more HEIC files from your computer to the web page.

The website will convert those files to JPEGs for you, and you can download the resulting JPG files from the page.

In the future, hopefully more applications, including Adobe Photoshop, will gain support for HEIF images and HEIC files. For now, you’ll have to rely on third-party tools.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Twitter.