What Are HEIC Files?

Do you use an iPhone? Are you definitely a “pro-Apple” person?

If so, one thing you know is that saving storage space is a must. Regardless of how much storage you have on your iPhone, it isn’t unlimited.

To help with this, Apple has created a potential solution for the photos that are taking up a lot of room on your phone. This solution is an all-new image file format. The official name for this is HEIC files.

What Is HEIC Format?

HEIC is the name of Apple’s proprietary version of High-Efficiency Image File format or HEIF.

It is a newer file format, and the goal is to provide a better way to store images. It helps make them smaller when it comes to data while retaining the high quality that Apple is known for.

The HEIC format is the file extension or container that holds the HEIF sequences of images or individual images. HEIF has borrowed technology from HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Compression), which is also called h.265.

Both HEIF and HEVC are considered proprietary technologies that were created by MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group).


Many people want to know if HEIC is better than JPG. Put simply, the answer is yes.

Not only are HEIC files half the size of standard JPG files, but they also offer better image quality.

One of the main disadvantages of using HEIC files is that not all devices support them. You can go there to learn more about which devices do and don’t support this file format.

It is believed that all devices will eventually support this file format, but until that happens, it is necessary to transfer HEIC photos to JPGs if you want to use them with certain applications.

Can You Prevent Your iPhone from Taking HEIC Photos?

If you want to avoid having to change HEIC photos to JPGs, you do have the option to stop your camera from taking photos in this format. To do this, use these steps:

  • Click Settings
  • Tap on Camera, then Formats
  • Choose Most Compatible

At this point, your pictures will no longer be stored in the HEIC format.

Pros and Cons of HEIC Format

To better understand the HEIC format and if you want to use it, it’s a good idea to get to know the pros and cons of it.

Pros of HEIC Format

The main benefit offered by the HEIC file format, and why you should consider using it, is that the images are half the size or even smaller when compared to JPEG images.

While the images are stored as smaller versions, they are of better quality. HEIC is also able to replace file extensions used for image sequences, including GIFV and GIF.

Also, the HEIC files created will not just store several individual images. They also store image properties, thumbnails, depth and alpha maps, and HDR data.

Cons of HEIC Format

Since MPEG created HEIF and HEIC formats, and they are based on HEVC technology, there may be some patent issues. Several patent groups beyond MPEG claim current patents on the HEVC technology.

This means similar claims may start to appear for HEIC. In the end, these issues may impact platforms like Apple that are using this file format, along with smaller websites that publish their images using the HEIC format.

Another potential drawback of this technology should be obvious – it hasn’t been adopted beyond macOS High Sierra or iOS 11. If it isn’t being used on other platforms, HEIC may remain another of the main technologies that are only used by Apple users.

While this is a concern, it is believed that Windows 10 Build 17123 will support HEIC in the Photos app. Also, Google has stated it will support the file format with Android P.

Even though this is promising, widespread adoption of HEIC will not happen right away.

How to Open HEIC Files

The way you open HEIC files varies based on the device or operating system being used.

Apple Devices

If you are using iOS or macOS, you can use Apple Photos to open and view your HEIC photos.

For macOS, you also have the option to use Apple Preview to open the files.


With Windows, you can use Microsoft Windows Photos to open HEIC files. This is possible after installing the Microsoft HEIF Image Extensions and the HEC Video Extensions pages that you can find in the Microsoft Store.

You will have to pay a small fee for the HEVC extensions package. It is also possible to open HEIC files and then use File Viewer Plus to convert them to a different image format.


On the web, Chrome OS, and with Android devices, it is possible to use Google Photos to open HEIC photos.

Now You Better Understand HEIC Files

When it comes to HEIC files, there’s a lot of information to review and understand. While it can be confusing at first if you take time and use the information above to better understand what this file format offers.

You may also want to experiment with different ways to take advantage of the smaller size of this file format. After all, it can help save space while ensuring you still get the high-quality photos you expect from your Apple devices.

Are you searching for more tech-related information? If so, be sure to check out some of our other blogs on topics like web design, site promotion, and more.