Apple started using the High Efficiency Image File (HEIF) format for photos taken by iOS devices in 2017. Usually called HEIC files because they use HEIC as the extension. This file format has some advantages over JPG because it promises better quality, smaller file sizes, and built-in HDR support. However, if you are not using an Apple device, opening HEIC files in their original format can be a challenge.
iOS, iPadOS and macOS all support the use of HEIC files, but Windows users are not so lucky. By default, Microsoft does not provide a way to open these files.But don’t worry, because viewing HEIC files in Windows is quite easy Windows 11.
Just know that adding the ability to open HEIC files to Windows 11 is not free. If you share photos with people outside the ecosystem, Apple will automatically convert the photos to JPEGs. Simply downloading the original HEIC file through iCloud.com is a bit cumbersome, because Apple just assumes that Windows users require the JPEG version by default. Therefore, for many people, viewing HEIC files is not a critical task, but if it works for you, be prepared to spend a dollar.
How to open HEIC files on Windows 11
1. Try to open the HEIC file with the “Photos” app. Microsoft provides a built-in image viewer called “Photos” with Windows 11 and Windows 10. By default, it does not provide HEIC compatibility, so when you try to open a photo, you must select the application from the menu.
2. Click “Download and install now”. Photos help show links to HEVC extensions, allowing you to open HEIC files (and other files) in the Microsoft Store. click it.
3. Confirm that you want to start the Microsoft Store. Windows 11 will prompt you to confirm whether you want to switch to the new application; let it launch Microsoft’s application market.
4. Click the “$0.99” button. Or, if you are outside of the U.S., no matter which button will display the price of the extension in your local currency. It is located on the far left of the page. You will be asked if you want to pay with credit card, PayPal, or gift card balance. It’s up to you (It’s up to you.
5. Click to buy”. After selecting the payment method (if this is your first purchase from the Microsoft Store, please set it up), you will see a confirmation window. Click “Buy” to continue the purchase to install the extension.
6. Confirm the purchase is successful. A new “Open” button should appear before the “$0.99” button or equivalent. Clicking on it does nothing, but it does show that the extension has been successfully installed.
7. Open your HEIC file. Try to open the file you started using again. The photo should start and show your image due to the HEVC video extension. (In our example, we decided to send a dressing table to a few friends when we were out.)
Now you can use photos to view and manage your HEIC files instead of using previously converted JPEG files. But the extension is not limited to allowing photos to open images stored in this format, it also brings HEIC support for built-in software such as Paint and third-party applications such as Adobe PhotoShop. Photos will also be able to convert HEIC images to other formats (including all common formats, from JPEG to TIFF) and vice versa.
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