How to Convert Image Files from HEIC to PNG
HEIC format is great because it allows you to take high-resolution images that don’t take up too much space on your iPhone or iCloud. But when it comes to compatibility and file management, HEIC isn’t as widely-supported as PNG or JPG.
This isn’t a deal-breaker by any means as you can easily convert the images. The following sections provide a detailed guide on how to do the conversion on different devices. Plus, there’s an FAQ section at the end to provide additional information.
On a Mac
For Mac users, the easiest way to convert HEIC files to PNG is with the preview app. Here’s what you need to do.
Open your HEIC images in preview, then click on File in the menu bar on top of the screen.
Click on the Format drop-down menu and select PNG.
Choose the destination folder next to Where and click save to complete the action.
When converting from HEIC to PNG you can’t set the Quality to your preferences. However, if you’re converting to JPG the Quality slider is available. By default, macOS sets this to about 80% and you can drag it all the way to the right for the Best quality.
The Preview app also allows for batch conversions of your HEIC files. Go to Finder, locate the HEIC files you want to use, and select them all. Then, you can drag and drop the images into Preview, or right-click, choose “Open With”, and select Preview.
Thereon, the steps are as previously described. Click on the File menu in the bar, choose Export Selected Images, and set the desired destination and file format.
Don’t forget to select all the images inside Preview – you can do this by depressing Cmd + A. Otherwise, you’ll be converting just the first image that appears on the list.
If you want to, you can also resize the HEIC images while converting them to PNG. Before clicking on the File menu, bulk-select the pictures in Preview and click on Tools in the menu bar.
In the Tools drop-down menu, select Adjust Size and enter the desired values for your images. Once done, hit OK and go back to the File menu to make the conversion.
The entire process is pretty fast, but expect to wait a little longer if you’re also resizing the images. And this also depends on the number of pictures you’re converting and the HEIC file size.
On a Windows 10 Device
For Windows users, the process is somewhat trickier. First, you need to make sure that your PC can recognize HEIC files or you won’t be able to preview or manipulate them. There are two ways to do this – install codecs Microsoft recommends or use HEIF Image Extensions.
The latter is a free utility tool available at the Microsoft Store. Nevertheless, it’s important to stress that neither codecs nor the tool allows you to convert the images.
To make the conversion you’ll need a third-party or web-based tool. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be providing a quick guide for iMobile HEIC Converter. This is because the tool is safe, easy to use, free. Plus, there’s a desktop version if you need much faster conversions.
Anyway, here’s what you need to do.
Go to the iMobile HEIC Converter website and select the images you want to convert. You can “Click to Select” the files from the local drive or drag and drop them into the web-based interface.
Now, select the desired format and image quality from the designated fields. And the conversion should start automatically.
That out of the way, click on the Download button and choose the destination to save the images. Besides PNG, this online software also allows you to convert to JPEG, JPG, and GIF.
Directly on the iPhone
Surprisingly, you need to use third-party software to convert HEIC to PNG on your iPhone. This time, we’ll take a look at the Shortcuts app and how it can be used to complete the required action.
Download and install the app on your iPhone and go to My Shortcuts when you launch the app. At the bottom of the menu, you’ll be able to see the “Create Shortcuts” thumbnail.
In the New Shortcut window, you’ll be able to see “Search for apps and actions” bar at the bottom of the window.
Click on it and proceed to add apps and actions in the given order.
- Select Photos
- Convert Image
- Save to Photo Album
Now, you need to make certain changes to set conversion from HEIC to PNG. Tap on the Select Photos action and toggle the button for Select Multiple.
Next to Convert, switch the JPEG output to PNG, and then choose the destination next to Save Converted Images. For example, you can name a file PNGConverted and save the images there.
Lastly, you need to name the shortcut and hit ‘Done‘ to finalize the actions.
How to Use This Shortcut
You can access the Shortcut via the app, or just shout “Hey Siri + shortcut name”. Either way, you’ll access your Photos to select the images for conversion. Tap on each one and hit Done to complete the action.
This takes some time, but the Shortcuts app shows you the progress bar as it completes the conversion.
From the Web
Need to convert every now and again? It might be best to use a web-based client. Sites worth your attention include CloudConvert, Convertio, and HEIC2PNG. But, of course, these are just some examples and you can use any other online software if it works better for you.
The important thing is that the online converter doesn’t ask you to share any of your information. These web-based apps should work without log-in or identity confirmation.
Aside from this, they should allow for easy image upload and download without any intermediary steps. To be exact, you upload the images, hit Convert (or the software does it on auto), then click Download to get the images.
HEIC to PNG conversion doesn’t require you to be tech-savvy and there are plenty of methods to choose from. However, unlike HEIC to JPG conversion, the PNG one has more limitations.
This may require you to take more actions or resort to third-party apps. Nonetheless, this might change with one of the future iOS updates.
Can I Automatically Save Images as PNG Instead of HEIC?
The quick answer is no, you can’t. There is an iPhone trick to change Camera and Photo settings, but this won’t provide you with PNG files. The formats you can automate include JPG and HEIC only.
On the other hand, you can export HEIC files as PNG but this isn’t the same as automatic saving as PNG. And even if you use third-party software, you need to tell the app which images to convert.
One way or the other, automatic conversions on iOS and macOS devices require administrative permissions to access native Apple apps. At the time of writing, these are available to Apple’s developers and a handful of third-party companies.
Therefore, this can be solved only with a major software update.
Why Does iPhones Use the HEIC File Type?
The primary reason Apple opted for the HEIC format is the balance of image size and quality. That is, HEIC compression protocols allow you to take high-quality, high-resolution images that don’t take up a lot of space. And the benefits are multifold.
Firstly, you’re not likely to use all the memory on your iPhone after just a few days of happy-go-lucky snapping. Then, image transfers, especially via wireless protocols, are much faster. This also allows you to store or backup more images on your iCloud account without purchasing extra space.
Of course, HEIC format isn’t perfect, but then it’s relatively new. In time, you can expect for HEIC conversions to become a native option for all operating systems. And until that time, you just need to find a third-party software that works well for you.
Are 3rd Party Converters Safe?
If you know what to look for, third-party converters are perfectly safe. As mentioned, should you choose a web client to make the conversion, it’s important not to share your credentials with the site.
In addition, you’re uploading the images to third-party servers and they shouldn’t keep your images after you download them. The situation is similar to the apps you install on your computer or smartphone, bar the fact that you need to share your credentials.
But regardless, the conversion should happen locally on your computer or smartphone. And the app developer shouldn’t have access to your images or keep them on its servers.
Conversion Here, Conversion There, Conversion Everywhere
Despite the limitations, HEIC format is there to make your image taking and management faster and more efficient. At present, there’s more than enough support to convert HEIC to any other format you need. And hopefully, Apple will soon include a native converter to make things even easier.
What’s your favorite image format? How often do you need to convert images to PNG, or any other format? Tell us more about your experiences in the comments section below.