What is HEIC File Format
What is HEIC File Format

As technology evolves, so do file formats. Enter the world of HEIC, a relatively new player in the realm of image file formats. But what exactly is an HEIC file, and why should you care about it? Let’s dive in.

Introduction to HEIC Files

HEIC stands for High Efficiency Image Format. It’s a container format that stores images using the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) compression method. In simpler terms, HEIC files allow you to store high-quality images in smaller file sizes than traditional formats like JPEG.

Origins of the HEIC File Format

The HEIC format was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and gained significant attention when Apple adopted it as the default image format for photos on iOS devices starting with iOS 11 in 2017.

Benefits of Using HEIC

Space Efficiency With the proliferation of high-resolution cameras on smartphones, image files have gotten bigger. HEIC offers almost double the compression efficiency of JPEG, meaning you can store twice as many photos in the same amount of space without sacrificing quality.

Quality Retention Despite its smaller size, HEIC retains a superior level of image quality. This ensures your memories look crisp, even at half the file size of other formats.

Advanced Features Beyond just storing a single photo, HEIC can hold multiple images, making it perfect for Live Photos on Apple devices. It also supports 16-bit color, transparency like PNG files, and even image edits, which can be reverted at any time.

Common Challenges & Solutions

Compatibility Issues One of the main challenges with the HEIC format is its limited compatibility. While Apple devices can handle it smoothly, many other platforms and devices don’t natively support HEIC. This can be a hurdle when sharing images with users on different platforms.

How to Convert HEIC to JPEG For broader compatibility, users often convert HEIC images to JPEG. On iOS devices, you can set photos to be automatically converted to JPEG when sharing. Additionally, various online tools and software solutions can assist in converting HEIC files to more universally compatible formats.


The HEIC file format represents the future of image storage, balancing size and quality seamlessly. While it’s not universally adopted yet, understanding its advantages and how to navigate potential challenges can keep you ahead in the digital imaging game.


  1. Are HEIC files exclusive to Apple devices?
    • No, while Apple popularized the HEIC format, other manufacturers and platforms are gradually adopting it.
  2. Do all photo editing software support HEIC?
    • Not all, but many modern photo editing tools have begun incorporating HEIC support.
  3. Is there any quality loss when converting HEIC to JPEG?
    • Converting to JPEG might lead to some quality degradation, as JPEG employs a different compression method.
  4. How can I open HEIC files on Windows?
    • Windows 10, through updates, has introduced HEIC file support. Additionally, third-party applications can be installed to view and edit HEIC files.
  5. Can I switch back to JPEG as the default on my iPhone?
    • Yes, in the Camera settings on iOS, you can choose “Most Compatible,” which will default your camera to save photos as JPEGs.
Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at GadgetMates.com.  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at ericchan@gadgetmates.com if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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