Opening HEVC and HEIF Files

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated September 16, 2019)

Recently, two new file formats have started to become prominent within the world of computers and smart devices. These two file formats, HEVC and HEIF, allow for better compression while improving the quality of the file. If you've never heard of these formats you're not alone. Unless you follow a lot of tech news or announcements, you could easily have missed information about them. What are these file formats, and why should you care?

HEVC is short for High Efficiency Video Codec. This relates to a video being encoded using H.265, again allowing essentially for the video to look better when you play them on your device. They also take up less space than previous file formats.

HEIF is short for High Efficiency Image File format. Similar to HEVC, this format allows your image to take up less storage space. It is not uncommon for an HEIF file to take up roughly half the storage space of a similar-sized JPG file.

So, why do you need to know about these formats? These formats are becoming more and more popular with smartphones. The iPhone from Apple started using the formats as recently as iOS 11, and now Android devices have begun to use them. This can be problematic if you take a photo or video using your phone (or a family member sends you a file) and then you're unable to view it on your computer.

Luckily, you can add support for these formats by installing the proper codec on your computer. Installing the codec or extension is simple and straight forward—just follow these steps for both formats:

HEVC Extension Installation

If you simply search the Microsoft store for "HEVC Video Extensions" you will get the "HEVC Video Extension" page from Microsoft that charges $0.99 for the codec extension. If you follow the steps below you can get the extension from Microsoft for free.

  1. Click on this link. This will open your web browser and load the "HEVC Video Extensions from Device Manufacturer" page on the Windows Store website. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The HEVC Video Extensions from Device Manufacturer page on the Windows store website.

  3. Click on the blue Get button to install the extension. This launches the Windows Store app.
  4. Click on the blue Get button. (Yes, you'll need to click on the blue Get button twice in a row. Go figure!) Windows will install the extension.
  5. Close the Windows Store, as the extension should be installed and ready to use. Depending on your machine a restart may be required.

HEIF Image Extension Installation

Windows began including native support HEIF with the release of the October 2018 Windows 10 update. If you have not updated to Windows 10, version 1809 or later, you may need to manually install the HEIF extension.

  1. Press the Windows key and type (without quotes) "HEIF Image Extensions," then press Enter. Windows launches the Windows Store app and loads the page for the "HEIF Image Extension." (If this does not work, launch the Windows Store app and search for (without quotes) "HEIF Image Extension.") (See Figure 2.)
  2. Figure 2. The HEIF Image Extensions page in the Windows store.

  3. Click on the blue Get button. Windows will install the extension.
  4. Close the Windows Store, as the extension should be installed and ready to use. Depending on your machine a restart may be required.

Now with the HEVC and HEIF extensions installed, you will be able to enjoy these file formats on your computer without missing out on the photos your relative sent you.

 This tip (13676) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

MORE FROM ERIC

Creating a PIN for Sign-in

Add an extra level of security to your computer to protect your data. A PIN allows for added peace of mind and use.

Discover More

Getting the Steps Down

Often when we are using our computers, we need to remember certain steps that we take, either for ourselves or to show ...

Discover More

Better Wallpaper Quality

When you set an image for your wallpaper Windows 10 compresses the quality of the image. You can improve the quality of ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Disable Edge Chromium Background Processes after Closing

Edge Chromium allows for many new improvements, features, and enhancements. One feature, Background Processes, can use up ...

Discover More

Changing Sounds Associated with Windows Events

You can customize Windows so that various sounds (or none) are associated with various Windows events. This tip explains ...

Discover More

Improve Performance by Turning Off 3D Effects

Windows does a lot of nuancing to provide the user with a pleasing visual experience. All this attention to detail, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.