What the heck is a HEIC file?


"How do we play this file?" is a common question I am asked on almost a weekly basis.  Most recently I was asked this question about a HEIC file.  One of my attorneys was provided some HEIC files from an investigator and could not open them on her computer.

So what is a HEIC file?

A HEIC file is an image file format used most by Apple products for its pictures on their devices.  HEIC stands for High Efficiency Image File.  This new image container format compresses photos in order to save space.  HEIC image files are available on iPhone 7 and later models running iOS 11 or later operating systems.  Unfortunately most other operating systems don't support these files so unless you have a Mac or other Apple device, you need to figure out a way to view or convert these image files.  If you are using a Windows computer, you can't open HEIC files but you can convert them using either an online HEIC to JPG conversion tool or download software to convert them on your PC.  

Here are some online sites that can help:

Software downloads:

If you have Windows 10 on your PC, there is another way to configure it so that you can open HEIC files just as with any other image files.  Click here for more details on how to do it.  

The other issue is metadata.  Do you risk losing any metadata when converting from HEIC to JPEG.  It is entirely possible that metadata can be removed in the conversion process.  I would highly recommend to keep the original HEIC files as well as the converted JPG format in case the issue of metadata is important.  If this is a concern for you, I would most likely choose the option of being able to VIEW the HEIC files by following the Windows 10 option in the previous paragraph.  

If you are still unsure on how to deal with HEIC files, please consult with a litigation support specialist.

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