How to Open HEIC files in Windows 11 – Guide

Viewing iPhone and iPad photos in their native file type requires a little work Apple started using the High Efficiency Image File (HEIF) format with photos captured by iOS devices in 2017. Often called HEIC files because they use HEIC as their extension, this file format has some advantages over JPGs because it promises better quality, Smaller file sizes and built-in support for HDR. However, opening HEIC files in their native format can be a challenge if you’re not using an Apple device. iOS, iPadOS and macOS come with the ability to use HEIC files, but Windows users aren’t so lucky; Microsoft does not provide a way to open these files by default. Don’t worry, however, because viewing HEIC files in Windows is quite painless in Windows 11. Just know that adding the ability to open HEIC files to Windows 11 isn’t free, and Apple will automatically convert photos to JPEGs if they’re shared with people outside of its ecosystem. Simply downloading the original HEIC file via is a bit cumbersome because Apple simply assumes that Windows users want the JPEG version by default. So, for many people, viewing HEIC files won’t be critical, but if it’s for you, be prepared to spend a dollar.

How to open HEIC files on Windows 11

  1. Try opening a HEIC file with the Photos app. Microsoft ships Windows 11 and Windows 10 with an integrated image viewer called Photos. It doesn’t support HEIC by default, so you’ll have to select the app from a menu when trying to open your photo.
  2. Click ‘Download and install now’. Photos displays a link to the HEVC extension that allows you to open HEIC files (among others) in the Microsoft Store. Click.
  3. Confirm that you want to launch the Microsoft Store. Windows 11 will ask you to confirm that you want to switch to a new application; let it launch Microsoft’s app market.
  4. Click on the ‘$0.99’ button button. Or, if you are outside the US, any button shows the price of the extension in your local currency. It’s on the left side of the page. You will be asked if you want to pay by credit card, PayPal, or gift card balance. That is up for you.
  5. Click ‘Buy’. After selecting your payment method (and setting it up if it’s your first time buying something from the Microsoft Store), you’ll see a confirmation window. Click “Buy” to continue with your purchase so you can install the extension.
  6. Confirm the purchase was successful. A new “Open” button should appear where the “$0.99” button or equivalent was before. Clicking on it will do nothing, but it shows that the extension was successfully installed.
  7. Open your HEIC file. Try opening the file you started with again. The photos should start and, thanks to the HEVC video extension, display your image. (In our case, a toilet board that we decided to send to some friends while we were away from home.) Now you can use Photos to view and manage your HEIC files instead of settling for the converted JPEGs from before. But the extension doesn’t just allow Photos to open images stored in this format – it also brings HEIC support for built-in software like Paint and third-party applications like Adobe PhotoShop. Photos will also gain the ability to convert HEIC images to other formats (with all the usual suspects, from JPEG to TIFF included) and vice versa.

Final note

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