How to view HEIC and HEVC files on Windows 10 Photos app

iOS devices use high-efficiency camera capture format for image and video contents. If you ever tried transferring pictures and video files from an iPhone or iPad to a Windows PC, you would see a lot of peculiar files with a HEIC and HEVC file format. Basically, HEIF (High-Efficiency Image format ) is a file type for photos used by iPads and iPhones having iOS 11, and the iOS device that supports A9 processor or newer versions. Apple has chosen HEIC as a file format for the new HEIF standard and HEIC is essentially a file extension that keeps HEIF images intact. In other words, HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) is a default high-efficiency camera capture format for iOS11 video content and HEIF with. HEIC extension is a default high-efficiency camera capture format for iOS 11 image content.

HEIF is an image and video files container that uses HEVC codec to improve image quality and file compression. Using HEIC files has a wide range of benefits unlike the older formats like PNG or JPEG. HEIC files provide a user the benefit of storing multiple photos in a single file, supports transparency and has half the size of JPEG files for almost the same quality. In addition to that, the HEIC files are excellent to store the edited images and undo the edits whenever required. It also supports 16-bit color, unlike JPG which supports 8-bit color.

Earlier in Windows, it was not possible to open and view a HEIC file directly on Windows PC as Windows photo editor did not support or recognize them. However, users could make use of third-party free apps or an online converter to convert HEIC files to JPG or PNG files to view the HEIC files in Windows PC. Users could also convert.HEIC files to JPEG by making use of a cloud provider like Google drive, which can automatically convert all the HEIF/HEIC files stored in cloud storage into.JPEG extension.

However, things are now different after the April Update as Windows has finally allowed native support for HEIF files on Windows Photos.  The feature is not enabled by default, and Windows Photos app provides a link to a paid extension in the Microsoft store. The extensions are available in the Windows store that would cost $1. However, users can get the extensions for free by downloading and installing two extensions from a different store link. Users are required to download  HEIF image extension to open HEIC images and would require  HECV Video extension to open videos encoded using HEVC. Once you install both the extension, the Windows will add support for HEIC and HEVC files to Windows 10. In this article, we explain how to add HEIF and HEVC file support to Windows 10.

View HEIC & HEVC files on Windows 10 Photos app

To open the HEIC image, go to the Windows store link to get the HEIF extension here.

View HEIC & HEVC files on Windows 10 Photos app

Click on the Install button to install the HEIF  codec.

It is important to note that, users would be needed to install both HEIF extension as well as HEVC extension to view images and play videos, as, HEIF files with HEIC file extension are compressed using HEVC format. It is mandatory to install both the extension and installing a HEIC file extension alone without HEVC extension would fail to view .HEIC files images.

To get the HEVC extension, use the Windows store link here.

Click on the Install button to install the HEVC  codec.

Once the installation is complete, you will be able to view HEIC and HEVC files on Windows Photos app. The two extensions would allow users to open files with File Explorer, Movies and TV apps, and Windows Photos.

It is worth mentioning that, the users will be able to play the HEVC videos smoothly on any Windows PC that supports modern hardware like the latest graphics cards and new core processors, else the quality of the videos will be diminished while playing videos. If for whatever reasons you want to remove the installed codecs, you can uninstall the codecs like you uninstall any other applications from Windows PC.

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Pavithra is a Windows enthusiast, who loves keeping abreast with the latest in the world of technology.