In 2017, Apple began adopting the High Efficiency Image File (HEIF) format with images captured by iOS devices. This file format, sometimes known as HEIC files because it has the .HEIC format file extension, has some advantages over JPGs, including higher quality, reduced file sizes, and built-in support for HDR. However, if you are not using an Apple device, opening .HEIC format file in their native format can be difficult.
.HEIC format file are supported by iOS, iPadOS, and macOS by default, but Windows users are out of luck; Microsoft does not provide a mechanism to open those files by default. But don’t worry, because viewing .HEIC format files on Windows 11 is quite simple.
Just keep in mind that adding the ability to open .HEIC format file to Windows 11 isn’t free, and Apple will convert photographs to JPEGs if they’re shared with anyone outside of its ecosystem. Downloading the original HEIC file from iCloud.com is a bit of a pain because Apple assumes Windows customers want the JPEG version by default. Viewing HEIC files will not be mission vital for many individuals, but if it is, be prepared to pay a dollar.
How can I open a .HEIC Format file in Windows 11?
- Use the Photos app to open a .HEIC format file. Microsoft includes a built-in image viewer called Photos with Windows 11 and Windows 10. It doesn’t support HEICs by default, so when you try to open a photo, you’ll have to select the app from a menu.
- Click the ‘Download and install it immediately’ button. Photos provides a link to the HEVC extension, which allows you to open HEIC files (among other things), on the Microsoft Store. Click on it.
- Confirm your desire to launch the Microsoft Store. Allow Windows 11 to launch Microsoft’s app marketplace when you indicate you wish to switch to a new app.
- Select the ‘$0.99’ option. If you’re not in the United States, click the button that displays the extension’s price in your local currency. It’s on the page’s far left side. You’ll be asked if you want to pay with a credit card, PayPal, or the balance on your gift card. That is all up to you.
- Select ‘Buy.’ You’ll see a confirmation window after you’ve selected your payment method (and set it up if this is your first time purchasing something from the Microsoft Store). Click “Buy” to proceed with your purchase and install the extension.
- Verify that the purchase was successful. Where the “$0.99” or equivalent button was previously, a new “Open” button should appear. Clicking it accomplishes nothing, however it does indicate that the extension was successfully installed.
- Locate and open your HEIC file. Try opening the file you started with again. Photos should launch and display your image, thanks to the HEVC Video Extension. (In our instance, we decided to mail a vanity plate to a few friends while we were out and about.)
Instead of settling for the previously converted JPEGs, you can now utilise Photos to see and manage your HEIC files. However, the extension does more than just allow Photos to read photographs saved in this format; it also adds HEIC support to built-in products like Paint and third-party apps like Adobe PhotoShop. Photos will also be able to convert HEIC photos to other formats (including the usual suspects like JPEG and TIFF) and vice versa.