What is HEIC – Everything You Should Know about HEIC File Format

Last Updated on November 11, 2021 by Peter Wood

Instead of industry-standard JPG format, if you are using an iPhone or iPad running iOS 11 or later, you might have noticed that the photos are saved in HEIC file format. What is HEIC? Why Apple introduced the new file format into the latest iOS and Mac? What are the differences between HEIC and JPEG? It is the ultimate guide about the new file format, including the best HEIC viewer and converter for Windows and Mac.

What is HEIC File Format

Part 1. What is the HEIC format?

HEIC stands for High-Efficiency Image File Format. It is both an image container as well as a file extension. It is the name that Apple gave to the HEIF image file container. It is compressed by HEVC, High-Efficiency Video Compression. Apple developed this image format to help users store high-quality images that take up less storage space with some advanced compression technology.

What is HEIC Format

Cons and Pros and HEIC Format


  1. Occupy less storage but not damages quality.
  2. Allow you to do non-destructive editing in software.
  3. Support up to the 16-bit color scheme.
  4. Store Live Photos on iOS devices.


  1. HEIC is not widely accepted on various platforms and devices.
  2. Web browsers and most websites are not compatible with HEIC.
  3. HEIC is not open-source and patented by Apple.
Review of HEIC

How to Save Photos to HEIC on iPhone or iPad

Step 1: Go to the Settings app from your iPhone. After that, you can scroll down and tap the Camera option.

Step 2: Choose the Formats option to select the High Efficiency to save shots on iPhone in HEIC format.

Note: When you select the Most Compatible option, the taken photos will be saved in JPG.

Save Photos in HEIC

Part 2: What are the Differences, JPEG V.S. HEIC?

Is HEIC better than JPEG? Yes, of course. As a new image format, HEIC is different from JPEG in different categories, although both of them are images formats. Here are the major differences you should know.

  1. Storage. HEIC is highly efficient in image compressing. It consistently compresses images at over 40% compared to JPG files in the same condition. A typical JPG image, for example, produces a 2.0MB file while a HEIC image just weights half of that. In another word, you can save twice the number of photos in the same amount of space.
  2. Quality. Although HEIC produces a smaller file size, it does not lose quality very much compared to JPEG. If you put a HEIC image and a JPG side by side, it is difficult to tell the difference in quality. That is partly because HEIC stores images with 16-bit colors while JPG still uses an 8-bit color profile.
  3. Compatibility. HEIC is supported on iPhone and iPad running iOS 11 or later as well as mac OS High Sierra. Moreover, the latest Windows 10 has added support for HEIC too. But outside the Apple ecosystem, HEIC is not as popular as JPG. It is also the major drawback of HEIC.

Part 3: How to View and Convert HEIC on Win/Mac

Method 1: Best HEIC Viewer and Converter

How to view and convert HEIC files on Windows 7/8/10? WidsMob HEIC is the desired program to manage the HEIC photos from your iPhone. It not only enables you to view the HEIC on Windows, but also convert HEIC to animated GIF, JPG, TIFF, and PNG. Moreover, there are some basic editing features to resize the photos, rotate the HEIC files, or adjust the photo quality.

  1. Preview the HEIC images in full size or thumbnail in Windows and Mac.
  2. Convert HEIC to animated GIF, JPG, TIFF, PNG, and other file formats.
  3. Provide editing features to resize, rotate, and edit the HEIC files.
  4. Support HEIC, Live Photos, animations sequence, and burst shots.
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Step 1: Download and install WidsMob HEIC for Windows/Mac, launch the program on your computer. Click the Import button to import the HEIC files from your iPhone. You can also drag-n-drop the HEIC files to view the photos on Windows or Mac directly.

Add HEIC Photos

Step 2: To view the HEIC in full screen on Windows, you only need to double-click the photo. You can browse all HEIC photos with a slider. Moreover, you can also view different photos within HEIC, such as the animation sequence or Live Photos.

Open HEIC in Windows

Step 3: It also enables you to edit the HEIC files, such as rotate images, resize HEIC, and convert HEIC to different file formats, including GIF/JPG/TIFF/PNG. You can also tweak the photo quality if you need to further edit the HEIC files with other photo editors.

Convert HEIC to PNG WidsMob Win Download Mac Download

Method 2: The Versatile HEIC All-in-One Toolkit

Is there a better method to open HEIC files on Mac? You can simply open the HEIC files with Photos one by one. But when you need to manage the HEIC files, apply photo filters, check the EXIF information, or create a slideshow, WidsMob Viewer Pro is an all-in-one method to open, view, manage, and convert the HEIC files.

  1. Open HEIC images on computer and external devices.
  2. View image files in various modes, like full screen.
  3. Batch edit and change HEIC images quickly.
  4. Support almost all image formats including HEIC.
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Step 1: Launch WidsMob Viewer Pro after you install the program on your computer. Go to the File menu and choose the Open button to select the HEIC files in the open-file dialog. Alternatively, locate the HEIC files on your disk, drag and drop them into the program to open HEICs directly.

Step 2: There are multiple modes to help you view HEIC images in various situations.

Full screen mode: Click to the View menu and choose the Enter Full Screen option on the top ribbon. Then the HEIC image will display on full screen. You can switch between them at the bottom.

Open BMP File

Thumbnail mode: To view all HEIC images at the same time, go to the Library panel on the left side, click the + icon to create a new album, and move and view all HEIC images in a new album.

Library Mode BMP

EXIF mode: If you want to get the metadata of the HEIC image, click the View menu and choose the Show Info option. Then the information, such as exposure, ISO, and more, will overlay on the image.


Slideshow mode: When you are not convenient, click the View menu and choose the Slideshow option. Then you can display the HEIC files within the same folder one by one automatically.

Slideshow Mode BMP

Step 3: Whether you need to convert HEIC to JPEG, or share the files to social media sites, you can learn more about the 3 frequently used methods as below.

Save HEIC to a hard drive: Click the File menu and choose the Save as option to open the save-as dialog. Leave the filename in the Save As field. Optionally, set the tags in the Tags box. Set the output destination in the Where box. Set the output format and quality. Click the Save button to convert HEIC to JPEG.

Share HEIC directly: Click the Share icon, choose the target channel, and follow the onscreen instructions to share your HECI images.

Print HEIC: Select Print from the File menu after you connect your computer to a printer. Adjust the settings and click the Print button.

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Part 4: FAQs about HEIC File Format

This is the title

1Should I Convert HEIC to JPEG?

In depends. If you only need to view the HEIC photos on your computer, you simply need a HEIC viewer to browse the photos within the same folder. But when you need to edit the HEIC photos, you need to convert HEIC to JPEG for better compatibility.

2Can I View HEIC/HEIF on the Web?

No. Apple only offers HEIC format support on macOS, not even the Safari browser on Macs can view HEIC images. Of course, other browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge also don’t support the HEIC format.

3What are the Differences between HEIC and HEIF?

HEIC is more than an image format. It is a container that holds HEIF files. Compare to HEIF, HEIC can store both image and video files, or even multiple photos, such as Live Photos of iOS. But HEIF only stores individual images and sequences of the image.


You should know what HEIC is, the advantages of choosing the file format, and how to open HEIC on your computer. As the successor of JPG, HEIC performs excellent except the compatibility. Moreover, the article also shares the best HEIC viewers and converters to manage the HEIC photos from your iOS devices.

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