Here, we have compiled a list of the 7 best free HEIC viewers for Windows. Some of these are online tools, and some are free software that you can use to view HEIC files on your PC.
HEIC is a new addition to the Image formats we already know – like JPEG, PNG, etc.
HEIC image format came into existence with iOS 11 onwards, and Apple adopted it as its native image format – this act caused the replacement of JPEG in iOS devices.
HEIC came into the information technology space through Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and conceptually uses a single container to store the still images, the image bursts, and the metadata related to the image.
This single container format is called High-Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF), from which the HEIC images derive their names.
HEIC File Properties
- Uses the High-Efficiency Video Compression (HEVC) techniques to encode and store the images
- It saves a lot of storage space due to a single container setup
- Supports 16-bit color
- Stores image edits in case it needs to be undone later
- Stores several photos (bursts) in a single file
- Very transparent and is of high quality
10 Best Free Heic Viewers for Windows
Looking through these properties, it is undeniable that HEIC image formats will revolutionize and replace other formats like JPEG.
The only disadvantage of this format is that most devices in the technical market don’t support Windows, Android, etc.
When these iOS images were ported or copied to any other OS devices, they had to be viewed only after converting into JPEG format or with the help of any tool/software that supports the HEIC or HEIF formats.
Here are some third-party installations or HEIC viewer tools you can utilize on your laptops or desktops to view the HEIC images.
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1. Google Photos (Online)
This is the default viewer that many modern browsers have supported lately for viewing the HEIC files.
It is easier for the users to log in to Google Photos on the desktop and upload all the HEIC formats of images.
Soon after the upload, the thumbnail of these images appears, and the full view of the image can be seen by clicking this thumbnail.
Adding filters, editing the image, and sharing them to other social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail is entirely possible through Google Photos. It can also help to convert the image to JPEG formats.
2. Dropbox (Online)
Who wouldn’t be familiar with this famous cloud storage and backup solution? Dropbox is the most popular in the market.
It is another central HEIC viewer platform not limited to storing and viewing HEIC files but also sharing them with others through Dropbox account credentials.
Dropbox account is supported by iOS, Android, and Desktop devices – hence, the upload of images to be shared, viewing them in full view (preview), and the privacy of these stored images are best assured.
3. Microsoft Photos (Windows)
Yet another common application, especially on Desktops and laptops, is Microsoft Photos. The easiest part of this solution is that the option is built with recent Windows 10 (after April 2018).
Note that this support for previewing photos/images is not native and will need the installation of HEVC Video Extensions & HEIF Image Extensions on your computer.
4. HEIF Utility (Windows)
Open-source software in Chinese and English versions – HEIF Utility- can help view the images from iPhone and iPad on the Windows Desktop.
The interface of this software is simple, ad-free, and intuitive. The utility displays the HEIC images and the EXIF data of the images. Conversion of the format from HEIC to JPEG is possible in batches.
5. XnView (Windows)
The XnView portable software gives a plugin that enables the opening and viewing of HEIC images. After successfully installing this plugin, you can enable all image formats via easy options (Tools -> Options -> General) of this software.
Previewing images, browsing through them via slideshow mode and viewing them in full screen, image editing, conversion to other formats like JPEG/ TIFF, and batch processing of images are some features available in this HEIC viewer software.
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6. CopyTrans (Windows)
CopyTrans is a plugin that can work on the Windows Photo Viewer software. Post a successful plugin installation, it automatically fixes the thumbnail preview of HEIC images stored on Windows.
Easy conversion to JPEG formats is just a click away (on the context menu), eliminating the need for separate image upload or conversion steps.
7. Apowersoft Photo Viewer (Windows)
Another efficient HEIC image viewer that is available for Desktops. The interface of this software is quite simple.
Easy browsing of the HEIC images or other image formats, drag & drop support, and part of the image capture for editing & sharing are some of the unique features of this software. There is also support for free cloud storage and sharing these image files with social media apps.
Whether one installs or uses online options like Google Photos or Dropbox, HEIC files are recommended for data quality and content privacy. It is a promising technology move to see that leading OS platforms are trying to have in-built compatibility options for managing these HEIC files. Explore them and put them to appropriate use!