Windows 10 How to Open HEIC Files or Convert Them to JPEG with one Click

At this point, those reading this article will likely be all too familiar with HEIC files. Apple’s image format of choice is designed to replace the humble .jpeg, but things begin to break down when trying to open a .heic file on a Windows 10 PC. Not to worry, we’re going to show you how to open HEIC files or convert to JPG, but first, we’ll talk a little about the format itself.

What is a HEIC file and why can’t I open it?

HEIC is the container for Apple’s Hight Efficiency Image Format (HEIF). It uses more modern and advanced compression methods to allow for better image quality than JPG in a smaller file size. It’s based on the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Compression) that newer iPhones and now various other file sharing sites now utilize.

On the surface, then, HEIC sounds like a no-brainer, but the problem with any new format is adoption and competition. Due to lack of adoption, iPhones automatically convert .heic files to .jpg when sharing them with Android or Windows users, but when transferred directly from the phone or via cloud storage they’re often unopenable by default.

Instead of thumbnails, Windows 10 users will see a default image icon and will be unable to open them. Thankfully, the Windows 10 April 2018 update made it easier to open HEIC format images by linking to a HEIC extension, which we’ll show you how to get now.

Windows 10 - File Explorer - HEIC Image Files without Thumbnails

How to Open a HEIC File Natively via the Windows 10 HEIC Extension

When you try to open a HEIC file in Windows 10, Microsoft may inform you that you need to install codecs from the Windows Store to proceed. This isn’t strictly true, as you can use PowerShell (as shown below), but it is the easiest method.

  1. Get the HEIF Image Extension

    You can find the HEIF Image Extension download here on the Microsoft Store. Click “Get” and wait for it to download and install.

    Windows 10 - Store App - HEIF Image Extensions

  2. Check your HEIF image thumbnails

    Head back to the folder with your HEIC file and you should see that its image thumbnail now appears in File Explorer and also in its preview pane.

    Windows 10 - File Explorer - HEIC Image Files with Thumbnails and Preview

  3. Open a HEIC file with File Explorer

    You can now double-click any HEIC format file in File Explorer to open it as you would any other image. It will use the Photos app to do so.

    Windows 10 - File Explorer - HEIC Image File in Photos App

How to Uninstall the HEIF Image Extension

If your HEIC file viewer is causing issues or you want to install a third-party software, you can uninstall it via PowerShell.

  1. Open PowerShell as an admin

    Press “Windows + X” to open the context menu and choose “Windows PowerShell (Admin)”.

    Windows 10 - Open PowerShell (Admin)

  2. Search for the HEIF extension

    Check that the HEIF image extension is installed and get its package name with:

    Get-AppxPackage *HEIF* -allusers

    Note down its name and continue to the next step.

    Windows 10 - Powershell admin - check if HEIF Image Extension installed

  3. Remove the HEIC file viewer with PowerShell

    Type the following command and press “Enter” to remove your HEIC image extension.

    Get-AppxPackage -allusers *HEIFImageExtension* | Remove-AppxPackage

    The -allusers flag removes it for everyone on the PC.

    Windows 10 - Powershell admin - uninstall HEIF Image Extension

  4. OR automatically remove the HEIC viewer in Windows via CopyTransHEIC for Windows

    Alternatively, run the CopyTrans HEIC installer from its official website to remove the extension without any commands. We’ll be showing you how to install and use the third-party software in the next section.

    Windows 10 - Remove HEIF Image Extension with Copytrans installer

How to convert HEIC to JPG with CopyTrans

Though Windows 10’s HEIC extension lets you view HEIC files painlessly, that’s only part of the struggle. What if you receive an image in the HEIC format on Windows and need to send it to other Windows users? It’s not ideal to ask them to install the extension each time, so the ability to convert HEIC to JPG in Windows 10 can be very useful.

There are a few tools to do this, including a simple webpage, but our testing has found the CopyTrans tool to be the most efficient due to its right-click context menu. It also lets you view HEIC files, replacing the Windows extension.

  1. Download and Install CopyTrans HEIC for Windows

    If you haven’t already, grab CopyTrans HEIC for Windows from the official site by pressing the big blue “Download” button. Double-click the .exe file to start the installer and follow its instructions to install the program.

    Windows 10 - Install CopyTrans HEIC for Windows

  2. How to convert HEIC to JPG with CopyTrans

    Now that CopyTrans is installed, the thumbnails of all your HEIC format images should show in File Explorer, but you’ll have to take additional action if you want to convert HEIC to JPG in Windows 10. Thankfully, you can simply select them, right-click, and choose “Convert to JPEG with CopyTrans” to initiate the process.

    Windows 10 - File Explorer

  3. Check your folder for converted files

    After a short period, you should see two files for each image in your folder, one larger image with the JPEG extension, and a smaller one that’s HEIC. You can keep both around or delete the original if you wish.

    Windows 10 - HEIC files and bigger converted JPG versions

If you found this tutorial useful, you may also want to read our guides on opening .doc files without Word and restoring the old photo viewer.