[How To] View HEIC images on Windows 10

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Starting with macOS High Sierra and iOS 11, Apple has implemented new video and image formats (HEVC and HEIC) designed to preserve quality but take up less storage space. iPhone 7 and newer models running iOS 11 automatically save photos and videos to the new formats.

While HEIC and HEVC are definitely a step in the right direction regarding both image size and quality (compared to the older and already established JPG, PNG and other image types), there’s limited support for them at the moment.

Windows doesn’t provide native support for this feature, so if you’d want to view HEIC images on Windows 10 and earlier versions you would need to convert them to JPEG or another supported format.

How to view HEIC images on Windows 10

Nevertheless, a free codec makes it possible to view HEIC images on Windows 10 so here’s what you need to do.

Download and install the CopyTrans HEIC codec. It’s a free codec that installs like any other app. Double-click the downloaded file and go through the setup wizard. The first screen will recommend you close all running apps before continuing. While there’s a chance the codec will install even if you don’t it’s a good idea to comply.

How to view HEIC images on Windows 10

Once the codec is installed, right-click one of your .HEIC images and select “Open with” from the context menu. From the list of apps, select Windows Photo Viewer. Technically, the codec should work with other image viewers, so if you have any installed you can try using them as well.

view HEIC images on Windows 10

Nevertheless, Windows Photo Viewer works 100% as shown in the image above.

Enable Windows Photo Viewer

If you don’t have Windows Photo Viewer in the app list provided by the “Open with” option, you will need to enable it. In case you’re wondering why it’s missing – Microsoft is trying to replace it with the Photos app. However, the Photos app is unable to open .HEIC files at the time, so you’ll have to bring back the good old Windows Photo Viewer for this purpose.

You’ll need to perform a small Registry tweak. Copy and paste the text below in a Notepad file, save it and change its extension from .txt to .reg:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll] [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell] [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\open] "MuiVerb"="@photoviewer.dll,-3043" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\open\command] @=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,\ 00,5c,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,72,00,75,00,\ 6e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,22,00,25,\ 00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,73,00,\ 25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,50,00,68,00,6f,\ 00,74,00,6f,00,20,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,65,00,72,00,5c,00,50,00,68,00,\ 6f,00,74,00,6f,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,\ 00,22,00,2c,00,20,00,49,00,6d,00,61,00,67,00,65,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,\ 5f,00,46,00,75,00,6c,00,6c,00,73,00,63,00,72,00,65,00,65,00,6e,00,20,00,25,\ 00,31,00,00,00 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\open\DropTarget] "Clsid"="{FFE2A43C-56B9-4bf5-9A79-CC6D4285608A}" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\print] [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\print\command] @=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,\ 00,5c,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,72,00,75,00,\ 6e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,22,00,25,\ 00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,73,00,\ 25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,50,00,68,00,6f,\ 00,74,00,6f,00,20,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,65,00,72,00,5c,00,50,00,68,00,\ 6f,00,74,00,6f,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,\ 00,22,00,2c,00,20,00,49,00,6d,00,61,00,67,00,65,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,\ 5f,00,46,00,75,00,6c,00,6c,00,73,00,63,00,72,00,65,00,65,00,6e,00,20,00,25,\ 00,31,00,00,00 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\print\DropTarget] "Clsid"="{60fd46de-f830-4894-a628-6fa81bc0190d}"

Once you’ve changed the file’s extension to .REG, right-click it and select “Merge” from the context menu.

Then, if you right-click any common image file (such as JPG, or PNG) and select “Open with” you should have Windows Photo Viewer as an option in the list of apps. The same goes for opening HEIC files!

Don’t miss: How to open or save as WebP image files in Photoshop

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