How to open HEIC files on Windows 10/11

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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  • HEIC is a proprietary file format used to store image files but in this guide, you will learn how to open a HEIC file.
  • The format was first invented for Apple phones but later expanded to other areas as well.
  • A solution from Adobe along with other image viewers are perfectly capable of opening and even editing HEIC files.
  • Another method in how to open HEIC files on Windows is another useful tool.
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HEIC, otherwise HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format), is a new image file format adopted by Apple when it released the iOS 11 platforms in 2017. Apple established this new format to replace JPEG on its phones.

Windows hasn’t fully embraced the new Apple picture format as of yet, so its native apps don’t fully support HEIC by default.

Nevertheless, you can still open HEIC pictures within Windows with some additional software. This is how you can open HEIC files on Windows without converting them to alternative formats.

How do I open HEIC files on Windows PC?

  1. Use Adobe Lightroom
  2. Add HEIC image extensions to Windows
  3. Check out CopyTrans HEIC for Windows
  4. Preview HEIC images in Dropbox
  5. Open HEIC images with dedicated software
  6. Open HEIC images with Apowersoft Photo Viewer

1. Use Adobe Lightroom

  1. Download Adobe Lightroom free (You need to register an Adobe account).
  2. Install it on your PC.
  3. Press Start and go to Settings.
  4. Select Apps and go to the Default Apps menu
  5. Under Photo viewer, select Adobe Lightroom as the default program.
  6. Try opening a HEIC file now.

Since HEIC files are so proprietary, it goes without saying that common users won’t be able to open them unless they meet certain requirements.

As such, the fastest way you can access HEIC files is to simply have an image viewer that supports the format.

One such image viewer is Adobe Lightroom, which supports HEIC image files since August 2018 with the releases of Lightroom CC 1.5 and Lightroom Classic CC 7.5.

All you need to do is simply designate Adobe Lightroom as your PC’s default image viewer, and you’re all set.

Now that you have Adobe Lightroom installed, not only will you get an image viewer that can handle HEIC files, but you’ll also have one of the world’s best image editors too.

2. Add HEIC image extensions to Windows

If you really need to open HEIC pictures with Win 10’s default Photos app, check out the HEIC Image Extensions. That installs the codecs required to open the new image format in Photos.

Click the Get button on the app’s Microsoft Store page to download and install Image Extensions. If you succeeded in installing the extensions, you will see a message that This product is installed.

As HEIC utilizes the HEVC codec, so you should also install the HEVC Video Extensions. That app, however, is not free but it costs less than a dollar.

3. Check out CopyTrans HEIC for Windows

CopyTrans HEIC is a Windows plug-in that enables you to open HEIC images in Windows 10.

With this software installed, you can open HEIC pictures with the native Windows Photos Viewer by double-clicking them in File Explorer.

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Furthermore, the software extends support for the format to MS Office applications so that you can insert HEIC images in Word and Excel documents or PowerPoint presentations.

All you really need to do is install CopyTrans HEIC. Click the Download button on the CopyTrans HEIC webpage to save the software’s setup wizard.

Then open the installer to add the software to Windows, and hey presto, you can open HEIC files within the platform’s native apps!

4. Preview HEIC Images in Dropbox

You don’t necessarily need to open HEICs with photo viewers. Dropbox is one of the cloud storage services that supports Apple’s new file format.

So Dropbox users can upload HEIC images from Apple iOS 11 devices and preview them in their Windows browsers.

When you’ve uploaded the file to Dropbox, select the image and click its eye icon to preview it.

5. Open HEIC images with dedicated software

The quickest method is to install a software that will open all file formats.

There are some great options available that support hundreds of file formats. Moreover, many file openers also include file conversion tools. 

6. Open HEIC images with Apowersoft Photo Viewer

Apowersoft Photo Viewer is a third-party photo viewer that supports the HEIC file format. The software is compatible with Windows 10.

You can install it by clicking the Download Desktop Version button on the software’s website.

After installing the software with its setup wizard, click the button at the top of the Apowersoft Photo Viewer window; and select the Open option. Then you can choose a HEIC image to open within the software.

So that’s how you can add HEIC support to Windows or open the files with alternative third-party software.

Now you can transfer HEIC photos from your Apple devices straight to Windows without needing any file converter software.

We hope that you found the best way to open your HEIC files in Windows 10. If you happen to know more methods, let us know in the comments section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • A HEIC file is a data container that contains one or more images saved in the High-Efficiency Image Format (HEIF), a file format. Here’s a guide on how to open a HEIC file.

  • HEIC files are most commonly used to store photos on mobile devices, both Android and iOS.

  • Unfortunately, all solutions that will allow you to open HEIC files in Windows 10 involve downloading some extra third-party photo viewers.

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