How to view HEIF (HEIC, HEVC) files on Windows

Updated

Apple devices encode some photos and videos in High Efficient Image Format, which Windows is unable to read by default. These files typically have the .heif, .heic, or .hevc file extensions.

It's simple (and free) to add support for these files to your Windows 10 PC.

Historically, Windows was actually able to read some of these files, but in December 2017, Microsoft removed HEVC support by default from Windows 10.

How to install codecs for HEIF, HEIC and HEVC

There are two free codecs that users can install through the Windows Store which will automatically upgrade their computer to be able to view and play HEIF files.

If this package doesn't work, users might need to install one of the following:

Microsoft don't make it possible to remove these codecs once installed, but removal should not be necessary. Note that this is only possible for PCs running Windows 10.

How to configure an iPhone to use HEIF or JPEG

iPhone and iPad settings allow you configure whether your device's camera takes photos in this newer format. When changed, that setting won't affect photos and videos already made, but it will affect how new ones are created.

The option is under SettingsCameraFormats.

The iOS Camera Formats menu for configuring use of HEIF
The iOS Camera Formats menu for configuring use of HEIF

About the author

Aidan Fitzpatrick founded Reincubate in 2008 after building the world's first iPhone data recovery tool, iPhone Backup Extractor. He's spoken at Google on entrepreneurship, and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurs' Organisation's Leadership Academy.

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