How to Open HEIC Photos in Windows 10
Say you’ve taken some fantastic photos at the birthday party with your brand new iPhone or iPad, and you want to transfer them to your Windows 10 PC. You connect the device to the computer, transfer the files, but Windows won’t open them.
That’s because iOS devices take pictures in HEIC (and sometimes in HEIF) format. Here’s what you need to do to get them to work on your PC.
What It Does
First, let’s dive in a bit deeper into the nature of this file format. HEIC is essentially an image/video container. It boosts the files’ image quality while still improving their compression. It works with PNV, JPEG, and GIF photo formats. For videos, the High-Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) has similar effects.
Why Can’t I Use It on Windows 10
Since the October 2018 update, Windows 10 supports HEIC. So, you’re wondering, why can’t your OS open them? After all, Windows 10 is Microsoft’s latest OS, and you’ve enabled automatic updates.
Well, this update is supposed to be automatic. Most users have received it for their HEIC (image) codecs. When it comes to videos, everyone needs to download the HEVC extension.
That said, sometimes, Windows updates get confused and delayed. Other times, they end up canceled. What you need to do is take matters into your own hands.
The first thing you should check for is updates within the Microsoft Store. In October 2020, Microsoft launched an update to fix security issues within the Windows Codecs Library.
Visit the Microsoft Store and tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner. Click on ‘Downloads & Updates.’
Scroll through the list and update your HEIF File Extension if one is available. Then, attempt to convert the file again. If this does not work, keep reading.
Enabling HEIC Support
As mentioned, Windows should be able to open HEIC and HEIF files. However, if It can’t, the Photos app should offer a link to the Microsoft Store, where you’ll be able to download needed extensions.
If the Photos app doesn’t do this, you need to download the HEIC extensions manually. Click the start button and type in “Microsoft Store.” Now, hit Enter and the Store app should open. Navigate to the Search button, located in the upper-right corner of the window. Click it and type in “HEIF.” Click the HEIF Image Extensions result and select Get. The extensions will download and install automatically.
Enabling HEVC Support
As mentioned, the HEVC extensions won’t automatically install on your Windows computer. That’s because the HEVC extensions, unlike HEIC/HEIF extensions, aren’t free. Microsoft currently charges $0.99 for them.
To download HEVC Video Extensions, you’re going to have to log in to your Microsoft account. Go to the Microsoft Store app and enter “HEVC” in the search bar. Then, select the first result entry. Click the Buy option. A Microsoft login screen will pop up. Enter the required credentials and sign in.
Now, you need to add a payment method. Click Get started! Add a way to pay or just hit Next. You have three choices here. Using your credit/debit card, using a PayPal account, or through a mobile phone. The first method will have you enter your credit card information. The second method will request your PayPal login credentials.
The mobile phone option works with Sprint and Verizon, so if you are with neither of these two, you won’t be able to use the third option. If you’ve found your provider, enter your phone number, click Next, and follow the instructions.
After that, you’ll be able to download the HEVC extensions.
What If I Have the Codecs Installed?
The guide from above should help you use the HEIC and HEVC features. However, things can sometimes malfunction on Windows. If this is the case, you need to reset the extensions. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to reinstall them.
To reset the extensions, you should go to Start and type “Settings.” An app will show up in the results list. Click it and go to Apps. You’ll see a list of apps and features here. These are all the apps installed on your PC. Scroll until you’ve found HEIF Image Extensions or HEVC Video Extensions.
There’s a chance that your computer has the HEVC extensions installed even if you haven’t bought them. This entry will appear as HEVC Video Extensions from Device Manufacturer.
Select either of the two apps/features. Go to Advanced options. Select Reset. Click Reset again. After that, your HEIC/HEVC extensions should work.
To do this, navigate to the Apps window in Settings again. Find the HEIC/HEVC extension entry. Click it. Select Uninstall and confirm. That will uninstall the app from your computer.
Now, you need to install it again. Perform the above steps related to downloading and installing the extensions.
What If Nothing Worked?
One of these solutions should’ve fixed your HEIC/HEVC issue. However, the problem may run a bit deeper. There are ways to correct this manually. Still, they involve accessing specific registry/BIOS settings that are pretty touchy.
The best way to go here would be to contact Microsoft’s tech support. To do this, go to https://support.microsoft.com/, type in “HEIC,” “HEIF,” or “HEVC, and take a look around the available threads. You should be able to find a solution here.
Alternatively, you can open the Get Help app by going to Start and typing in “Get Help.” That will open up a chat with a virtual assistant. If none of the solutions that the bot provides help, you’ll get a chance to talk to a live person.
Many users have reported problems with HEIC files. Hopefully, Microsoft will deal with this soon. In the meantime, follow this guide to solve this photo/video extension issue.
Has any solution provided here worked? Which one? Did you find the Get Help app useful? Check out the discussion below for potential solutions or add your advice or questions.