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How to convert Apple's HEIC files to PNG if you need to use the more standard file format

Dave Johnson   

How to convert Apple's HEIC files to PNG if you need to use the more standard file format
  • You can convert HEIC files to PNG by using a few methods, depending on your device.
  • On a Mac, you can convert HEIC images by exporting photos from the Preview app. On Windows, you'll need to use third-party applications.
  • You can create a shortcut on an iPhone to convert images to PNG and store them in a new photo folder.

Apple's proprietary file format, HEIC, stores high-quality images on iOS devices and offers better compression than the JPG format. HEIC makes better use of your limited mobile storage, but it has a downside: it isn't well-supported by software on Windows computers. If you need to convert your HEIC files to the more common PNG format, though, don't worry — it's relatively simple.

How to convert HEIC to PNG on a Mac

Converting HEIC images to PNG is easy on the Mac because Apple built HEIC support into all of its photo software. That means you can open an HEIC image in the Preview app and export it as a PNG.

1. Double-click any HEIC image. It should open in the Preview app.

2. In the menu bar, click File, then Export.

3. In the Export window, find the Format section and click the drop-down menu. Choose PNG.

4. Choose where you want to save this exported file.

5. Click Save.

You should be able to use this same process to save an HEIC image as a PNG in any other Apple photo software on your Mac, though the exact steps may vary slightly.

How to convert HEIC to PNG on Windows

It's possible to convert an HEIC file to PNG using Windows photo apps, but you need to install additional software to make that happen. You'll need both the free HEIF Image Extensions app and the paid HEVC Video Extensions app (which costs $0.99) in the Windows Store. If you do that, you can open HEIC files in any app and save the file in a different format, such as PNG.

But there is an easier (and free way). Go to Convertio in a web browser and use this free online file converter to save any HEIC file as a PNG. Click Choose Files and select the HEIC file you want to convert, then click Convert.

How to convert HEIC to PNG on an iPhone

The easiest way to avoid HEIC files on your iPhone is to use your iPhone's Settings app to save images as JPG files, so they will be fully compatible with software on your computer.

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap Camera, then Formats.

3. In the Camera Capture section, choose Most Compatible. This ensures all new photos are saved in JPG format.

Unfortunately, that gets you JPG files, not PNG. If you want your photos in PNG, you need to convert them from HEIC or JPG using the Shortcuts app.

1. If it's not already on your iPhone, install the Shortcuts app from the App Store.

2. Start the Shortcuts app.

3. Tap the Plus sign at the top right of the page to create a new shortcut.

4. In the search box at the bottom of the screen, search for "Select Photos" and tap Select photos when you see it in the search results.

5. If you want to be able to select multiple photos for conversion, tap the arrow in the Select photos box and turn on Select Multiple by swiping the button to the right.

6. Search for and add Convert Image.

7. In the Convert Image box, tap JPEG (the default format it converts files to) and then tap PNG in the list of file format options.

8. Search for and add Save to Photo Album.

9. In the Save to Photo Album box, tap Recents and choose the album where you'd like to store your new PNG files.

10. At the top of the page, tap Save to Photo Album and name this shortcut. You might call it HEIC to PNG, for example. Tap Done and then tap the X at the top right of the screen.

To use the shortcut, start the Shortcuts app and tap your new shortcut. Select the HEIC photos you want to convert and tap Add. You can then find the converted PNG photos in the specified album.


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