How to Open HEIC Files in Windows

Open this newer format easily

A man sitting at a desk looking at a laptop screen with a camera next to him

Matthew Leete/Getty Images 

Do you regularly use iOS devices and have images saved in the HEIC/HEIF format? It's likely you'll want to open these on a Windows PC or send them to a friend with a Windows PC. Here's everything you need to know about how to open an HEIC file.

This guide includes details on opening HEIC files on Windows. The instructions work for Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. macOS can open such files without any extra tweaking by you. 

What Are HEIC Files?

The HEIC format was adopted by Apple in 2017 as a replacement for the JPEG format. More efficient in terms of size and quality, the HEIC file extension is also known as a HEIF file. 

It's been used in the past for Apple's iPhone Portrait Mode, enabling much higher quality images than a regular JPEG, among other advantages. It's a big new step for the world of image file extensions and a great way of cutting down on file sizes. However, it can be tricky to know what to do with them on Windows. 

A few key steps are all that lies between you and being able to open such files on Windows 7, 8, and 10. 

If you send image files from your iOS device, such as through email or Dropbox, your iOS device should automatically convert the file to JPG, meaning you don't have to worry about HEIC/HEIF compatibility issues. 

How to Open a HEIC File in Windows 10

An update in April 2018 added native support for HEIC files in Windows 10. Assuming your PC is up to date, you don't actually have to do much to open a HEIC file. Here's what's involved.

  1. Find the file on your PC.

    A Windows file explorer window highlighting a HEIC file to be opened
  2. Double-click the file.

    Through this method, it's not possible to see a preview of the image like with some other files.

  3. It should now open in a Photo Preview window just like any other image file.

    A Windows Photo Preview window displaying a HEIC image file

File won't open? You need to download the HEIF Image Extensions add-on from the Microsoft Store. Doing so will make it as easy to open a HEIF or HEIC file as it would any other kind of standard Windows file.

How to Open a HEIC file in Windows 7 and 8

Opening a HEIC/HEIF file is a little trickier on Windows 7 and 8 since there's no direct support for the file extension. The best solution is to download a tool called CopyTrans HEIC for Windows. It's a plugin that enables you to open HEIC files just as easily as any other files, with no further interaction required once you've installed the tool.

You can also use CopyTrans HEIC for Windows on a Windows 10 PC. It enables you to see thumbnail previews of your images and offers easy conversion tools too.

  1. Via your web browser, go to https://www.copytrans.net/copytransheic

  2. Select Download, then install the software.

    A browser window displaying the CopyTrans HEIC for Windows software package
  3. Double-click a HEIC file to open it.