What is HEIF file format?

HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) also known as HEIC (High Efficiency Image Coding) is a graphic format which is not as popular as JPG, JPEG, PNG, and GIF, the most commonly-used image formats in the world. Apple introduced the HEIF file format in iOS 11 to replace the original JPG format. It was first defined in 2013 and completed in 2015. One of the best advantage over JPG and JPEG format is it can reduce the file size while ensuring a better quality image. The default file extensions are HEIC and HEIF. Relatively, the most frequently-used file format is HEIC.

Free Download

General Information about HEIF File Format

HEIF – Special Features

  • Store single or multiple images and their thumbnails.
  • Support efficient storage of image bursts and cinemagraphs.
  • Store both static images and sequential images in the same folder.
  • Display animations and cinemagraphs efficiently.
  • Support for simultaneous capture of video and still images, i.e. storing still images and timed image sequences into the same file.
  • Store derived images from other image files, either as derived images represented by non-destructive image editing operations or as pre-computed derived images.
  • Compatible with other media streams, such as timed text and audio.
  • HEIF supports transparent pixels.
  • HEIF file type achieves GIF and live photo animation effect in multiple images.

In order to help you better understand this file format, below we have some comparisons between HEIF and other popular image file formats which you can refer to.


As we just stated, HEIF and HEIC are the filename extensions of HEIF image. However, there are difference between HEIF and HEIC file type. HEIF is a file format for storing individual images and sequences of the image, while the HEIC file can store both image and video files, for example, the live photos.


HEIF image file format stores twice as much data as JPEG images when they are in the same size, which can help to produce a better quality image. If JPEG can only capture color in 8-bit, HEIF is able to increase it to 16-bit. HEIF file format can hold multiple images, audio, image thumbnails, depth-of-field information and much more, while JPEG, in contrast, can only carry data for one photo. The coming table can help you get an intuitive comparison between them.

DeveloperJoint Photographic Experts GroupMoving Pictures Experts Group
File Extensions.jpg .jpegHEIF HEIC .avci
ISO StandardISO/IEC 10918-1ISO/IEC 23008-12
Bit depth8 Bit16 Bit
Basic FunctionDescribe different methods of image compressionContainer for compressed images and image sequences
Extend to other meta-data formats
Support transparent
Support thumbnail
Partitioned loading
Support thumbnail
Maximum size65535×65535Unlimited
FlexibilitySupport a single imageEither a single image or a series of image
CompatibilityMore accessibleLess accessible Not all software can identify HEIF picture

How to Open HEIF Image?

Apple decided to use HEIF to replace JPEG in 2017, so there are few programs can open it directly. Instead, the most commonly-used way is to convert HEIF file type into other formats including JPG, JPEG, PNG, etc. Here we included a few highly-rated tools available which include:

  • Apowersoft Free HEIC Converter : a free online tool for both Windows and Mac, which can convert photos from HEIC to JPG. It allows users to import photos from the computer, dropbox, and google photo. You can batch convert up to 30 photos at a time, which is very time-saving for people who have a large number of files to process.
  • FonePaw HEIC converter : a practical desktop software for both Mac and PC that helps you convert HEIF photo to both JPG and PNG which can be recognized on Windows and viewed on any device. The software uses the familiar drag-and-drop to get the job done.
  • Convertio: an easy tool to convert your heif files to jpg, png, gif and many more. You don’t have to download or install any program on your device because the image converter works completely online.

Interested in opening and converting HEIC images, check out the solutions below:

  • HEIC Viewer on Windows – HEIC image format is not originally compatible with Windows-related devices. If you want to view the image on PC, you may can have this HEIC viewer on your computer.
  • Open HEIC File on Windows PC – Looking for a way to open HEIC files on your Windows computer? This article gives you all the tools you can depend on.
  • Open HEIC File on Mac – It would be no problem to view the HEIC photos if you are using the latest macOS 10.13 High Sierra. However, in order to open HEIC on Mac with macOS 10.12 Sierra or the older operating systems, you need those software.
  • Open HEIC Photos in Android – HEIC is used by Apple on iOS devices. In case you need to view HEIC on Android, there are several optimal solutions in this post.
  • Convert HEIC to JPG – HEIC is not a popular image format yet. Hence, if you want to convert HEIC to JPG, here are some tips.
  • Convert HEIC to PDF – PDF, whose full name is Portable Document Format is a file format developed by Adobe to present documents. Because of its small file size and high quality display of file, people prefer to use it over the internet. It’s recommended to convert HEIC to PDF for sharing files with others.
Rating:4.3 /5(based on 23 ratings)Thanks for your rating!
Posted by Ada Reed on to Uncategorized. Last updated on March 9, 2020

Leave a Comment

Please input your name!
Please input review content!

Comment (0)

Free Download

I bet you will like it!