Since iOS 11, Apple has been using the HEIC image format and, in some ways, is superior to JPG. For example, HEIC images are much smaller than JPGs, which makes them perfect for mobile devices.
However, the format causes problems with some apps which is why you may want to convert HEIC into JPG. The conversion itself isn't complicated, but it does take a few steps (on a Mac). And if you're not a Mac user, you may need to use third-party apps.
Convert HEIC into JPG on Mac
The easiest way to convert HEIC to JPG files is to use Quick Action. However, you need to set it up first and here's how to do it.
1. Press Cmd + Space to access Spotlight and type Automator, then select New Document in the lower left of the window. In the document template window, select Quick Actions and confirm by clicking Choose.
Final report: make sure your Mac is up to date as the Quick Actions template may not be available.
2. Go to the search bar on the left side of the menu window and enter "copy finder". Below the search results, you will find "Copy Finder Items": drag it to the right section of the screen. In the right menu window, you can also select the destination of the converted images.
Suggestion: Omitting the “Copy Finder Items” action will not create a copy of the HEIC image on the desktop.
3. Select the search bar on the left again and enter “change type”. The “Change Image Type” command should appear below the results, so drag and drop it to the right. You should now be able to see a drop-down menu next to “To type”, click on it and select JPEG.
4. Go to the menu bar, select File and choose Save from the drop-down menu. Name your quick action in the drop-down window and hit the Save button to finalize the process.
How to use quick action for HEIC to JPG conversion
Once the action is set, you are just a couple of clicks away from converting. Select the image file you want to convert from HEIC to JPG, right click on it and choose Quick Actions.
The pop-up menu reveals the options and “Convert to JPG” should be the latter. Click on it and the system creates a JPG in the destination folder you chose earlier.
Quick Note: the action works the same way when you bulk select images.
Convert HEIC into JPG on Windows 10
There are two methods to convert HEIC photos to JPG, and both require the installation of additional software. But first, let's see how to make your PC recognize and open HEIC files.
HEIF image extension
If the Photos app is running on your PC, close it, then go to the Microsoft Store and search for HEIF Image Extension. Press the Get button and install it on your computer. Then, open the Photos app to access the HEIC files on your computer.
Final report: From the Windows 10 update onwards, Microsoft requires you to download codecs that read HEIC files. This method works much like the extension.
If you are using iCloud to store images, you can download HEIC files as JPG to your computer. And best of all, this is the easiest way to turn HEIC to JPG.
In the Photo Options window, make sure the “Keep original high efficiency when available” option is unchecked. This automatically converts HEIC images to JPG upon download.
Third Party Software
For this article, we will take a look at iMazing software because it is easy to use and free. But there are other apps out there, so feel free to experiment.
Download and install the software, then drag and drop your HEIC files into the converter window and select JPEG from the drop-down window next to Format. Finish the action by clicking Convert and choosing the destination folder on your computer.
You should know that iMazing is available for Mac, PC and mobile devices.
Convert HEIC into JPG on iPhone
Importantly, iPhones with iOS 10 don't have the ability to save and create HEIC images. But with the new software iterations and iPhones you can do it all on your phone.
Tap the Settings app, scroll down to Camera and tap to open. In the Camera menu, select Formats and choose JPG as “most compatible” and HEIC as “high efficiency”.
Then, go to the Photos menu and go to “Transfer to Mac or PC” and select Automatic. Here's how you set up your iPhone to turn HEIC to JPG automatically.
As indicated, you can also try third-party software like iMazing if it's more convenient.
From the web
Web conversion is probably the most common method. HEICtoJPEG, Freetoolonline and CloudConvert are among the most popular and intuitive options.
Choosing one online conversion website over another is a matter of personal preference. They all offer a similar or the same conversion method.
Drag and drop the images to the designated area or select the file, hit Convert and wait for the software to do the heavy lifting. Then, you can download the converted files to your computer.
You should know that some online conversion services also allow you to choose the image size and quality and remove or keep the image metadata.
As you can see, changing HEIC photos to JPG is not as complicated as you might think, even if you are a Windows user. However, some questions need to be addressed.
Can I automatically save images as JPG instead of HEIC?
As indicated, there is an option to automatically save images as JPGs. To remind you, go to the Settings app on your iPhone and select Camera Options.
In Formats choose "high efficiency" for HEIC and "most compatible" for JPG. Then, go to Photos and choose Automatic in “Transfer to Mac or PC”.
It is important to note that the format in the settings may be labeled as HEIF / HEVC. No problem, you are in the right place and the saved file is indeed HEIC.
Why do iPhones use HEIC file type?
To disambiguate the jargon first: HEIF is a standard for high efficiency image format and HEIC is the file format you get. As mentioned, Apple has adopted it from iOS 11 onwards due to a more advanced compression method.
Simply put, the format allows you to take higher resolution images of smaller size. This way, you get the crisp, sharp photos that iPhones are famous for, but don't run out of free memory on your iPhone quickly. Also, this is more efficient in terms of storage if you decide to keep photos on iCloud.
At this point, the compatibility of the HEIC format is its main limitation. In fact, macOS before High Siera cannot recognize and open HEIC files. However, this can be fixed with a simple system update.
And now you know there are ways to make HEIC files compatible with Windows.
Are third party converters safe?
The quick answer is yes, third party converters are safe, but you won't use just any converter you can install. The trick is to find software that won't store your photos on its servers, won't share your images with third parties, or won't have access to your data.
With that in mind, you'll need to provide your credentials to log in, and the software can access Photos on your Mac, iPhone, or PC. But apps like the aforementioned iMazing do all of this locally and only store login data for easy access.
Can you USE HEIC format on Android?
Android doesn't provide native support for the HEIC format, and third-party apps are few and far between. However, there is a nice trick to open, view and manage HEIC files on your Android device.
Install Dropbox and use the app to store or transfer all your HEIC files. This way, you can preview them via the Dropbox app. Then, you can send the images to Adobe Lightroom mobile or any other software that allows you to edit and manipulate the provided files.
With this in mind, most of the Android users rarely encounter this type of file due to the native formats of their device.
Simplify conversion HEIC
It's safe to assume that the HEIC format is here to stay due to its compression rate and image quality. As a result, this highly efficient format will find its way to more devices, especially smartphones. But if you take photography seriously, RAW is still the gold standard for keeping as much information in the image as possible.
When was the first time you encountered the HEIC format? What software or conversion method do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.