HEIC is a compressed image format developed by MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group). The format is designed as a potential replacement for the JPEG standard. One of the main advantages of HEIC is that it uses about half the file size to store the same quality image as a JPEG. Unfortunately, Windows 10 doesn’t support displaying photos in the HEIC format by default in the Photos app. This guide will walk you through the process of adding support to the Photos app to view HEIC images.
To add support to the Photos app for HEIC images you need to install two codec packs from the Microsoft Store app.
Tip: HEIC is a combination of two standards; the HEVC compression standard, and the HEIF Image standard. To add support for files with the HEIC extension to Photos you need to add a codec for both of the two standards.
The first of these two codecs is called “HEIF Image Extensions”. This codec can be found here. Installing just this codec will allow you to load photos using the HEIF format. Images in the HEIC format, however, will require the installation of a second codec for HEVC.
There are two HEVC codecs available in the Store app. The main codec can be found in the Store app here under the name “HEVC Video Extensions”. Unfortunately, this codec costs £0.79 or $0.99. However, a second hidden, codec is available for free in the Store app, called “HEVC Video Extensions from the Device Manufacturer”. This codec is designed for device manufacturers and can’t be found by searching for its name in the store. It can only be accessed via this link.
Tip: After installing the HEIF codec, try installing the free HEVC codec. If the free one doesn’t work, you may have to pay for the other codec. Alternatively, you could try using a different photo viewer that supports HEIC photos by default to save yourself the trouble of installing either codec.
To actually install the codec, open their respective pages by clicking the links above. If they open in your browser click “Get” then allow any requests to open the link with the Store app. Once on the codec page in the Store app, click “Get” to install. When the download of the two codecs is complete, Photos should be able to view any HEIC image, although a restart of your computer may be required.