How to view HEIC files on Windows

Cover image for: How to view HEIC files on Windows

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 founded Reincubate in 2008 after building the world's first iPhone data recovery tool, iPhone Backup Extractor. He’s led Reincubate to win the UK’s highest business honour twice, has spoken at Google on entrepreneurship, and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation’s Leadership Academy.

His work has been cited in over 20 academic papers on forensics and mobile data, including "iPhone 3GS Forensics: Logical Analysis Using Apple iTunes Backup Utility" (Bader, M & Baggli, I, 2010), "iOS Forensic Investigative Methods" (Zdziarski, J, 2013), "Overcoming Forensic Implications with Enhancing Security in iOS" (Gangula, MR, 2019), and "Direct Message Extraction for Automatic Emotional Inference and Drug Detection" (Fong, G, 2019).

Earlier in his career, he served as CTO at Wiggle through to its $230m breakout exit. Aidan is an occasional investor, and published "So, you want to work in tech?" in 2016.

Reincubate's CEO at Buckingham Palace

Pictured left are members of Reincubate’s team meeting HM Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ at Buckingham Palace, after being awarded the UK’s highest business award for our work with Apple technology.

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