The HEIC format is great because it allows you to shoot high-resolution images that don’t take up too much space on your iPhone or iCloud. But when it comes to file management and compatibility, HEIC is not as compatible as PNG or JPG.
This is by no means a deal breaker as you can easily convert the images. The following sections provide detailed guidance on how to convert on different devices. Also, there is an FAQ section at the end to provide additional information.
On a mac
For Mac users, the easiest way to convert HEIC files to PNG is with the preview app. This is what to do.
Open your HEIC images in preview, then click File in the menu bar at the top of the screen.
Click the Format drop-down menu and select PNG.
Choose the destination folder next to Where and click save to complete the action.
When converting from HEIC to PNG, you cannot set the Quality to your preference. However, if you are converting to JPG, the Quality slider is available. By default, macOS sets this to about 80%, and you can drag it all the way to the right for the best quality.
The Preview app also allows batch conversions of your HEIC files. Go to the Finder, find the HEIC files you want to use, and select them all. You can then drag and drop the images into Preview, or right-click, choose “Open With,” and select Preview.
The steps below are as described above. Click the File menu on the bar, choose Export Selected Images, and set the desired destination and file format.
Don’t forget to select all the images within Preview; you can do this by pressing Cmd + A. Otherwise, you will be converting only the first image that appears in the list.
If you want, you can also resize HEIC images while converting them to PNG. Before clicking the File menu, bulk select the images in Preview and click Tools on the menu bar.
In the Tools drop-down menu, select Resize and enter the desired values for your images. Once done, press OK and return to the File menu to convert.
The whole process is pretty quick, but expect to wait a bit longer if you’re resizing images as well. And this also depends on the number of images you are converting and the size of the HEIC file.
On a Windows 10 device
For Windows users, the process is somewhat more complicated. First, you have to make sure that your PC can recognize HEIC files, or that you can’t preview or manipulate them. There are several ways to do this. You can install the codecs recommended by Microsoft, use TechJunkie Tool Converter, the use HEIF image extensions.
The latter is a free utility tool available from the Microsoft Store. However, it is important to note that neither the codecs nor the tool allow you to convert the images.
TechJunkie tools do not require login credentials or downloads. All you need to do is open the website in your favorite web browser, click HEIC a PNG, then drag and drop your HEIC image.
To convert, you will need a third-party or web-based tool. For the purposes of this article, we will provide a quick guide to IMobile HEIC Converter. This is because the tool is safe, easy to use, and free. Also, there is a desktop version if you need much faster conversions.
Anyway, this is what you should do.
Go to the IMobile HEIC Converter website and select the images you want to convert. You can “Click to select” files from the local drive or drag and drop them into the web-based interface.
Now, select the desired format and image quality from the designated fields. And the conversion should start automatically.
That out of the way; click the Download button and choose the destination to save the images. Besides PNG, this online software also allows you to convert to JPEG, JPG and GIF.
Directly on the iPhone
Surprisingly, you have to use third party software to convert HEIC to PNG on your iPhone. This time, we will see the Shortcuts application and how you can use it to complete the required action.
Download and install the application on your iPhone and go to My Shortcuts when launching the application. At the bottom of the menu, you can see the thumbnail “Create shortcuts”.
In the New Shortcut window, you will see the “Search applications and actions” bar at the bottom of the window.
Click on it and proceed to add apps and actions in the order listed.
- Select photos
- Convert image
- Save to photo album
Now, you need to make certain changes to set up the HEIC to PNG conversion. Tap the Select Photos action and toggle the button to Select Multiple.
Next to Convert, change the JPEG output to PNG, and then choose the destination next to Save Converted Images. For example, you can name a file PNGConverted and save the images there.
Finally, you must name the shortcut and press’Done‘to finish the actions.
How to use this shortcut
You can access the shortcut through the app or shout “Hello Siri + shortcut name.” Either way, you will access your Photos to select the images for conversion. Tap on each one and hit Done to complete the action.
This takes some time, but the Shortcuts app shows you the progress bar as the conversion completes.
From the Web
Do you need to convert from time to time? It may be better to use a web-based client. Sites that deserve your attention include CloudConvert, Converted, and HEIC2PNG. But of course these are just a few examples, and you can use any other software online if it works better for you.
The important thing is that the online converter does not ask you to share your information. These web-based applications should work without login or identity confirmation.
Apart from this, they should allow easy uploading and downloading of images without any intermediate steps. To be exact, upload the images, hit Convert (or the software does it automatically), then click Download to get the images.
Converting HEIC to PNG doesn’t require you to be a tech savvy, and there are many methods to choose from. However, unlike the HEIC to JPG conversion, the PNG conversion has more limitations.
This may require you to take further action or turn to third-party applications. However, this could change with one of the future iOS updates.
Can I automatically save images as PNG instead of HEIC?
The quick answer is no, you can’t. There is an iPhone trick to change camera and photo settings, but this will not provide you with PNG files. The formats that you can automate include JPG and HEIC only.
On the other hand, you can export HEIC files as PNG, but this is not the same as auto-saving as PNG. And even if you use third-party software, you must tell the application which images to convert.
One way or another, automatic conversions on iOS and macOS devices require administrative permissions to access native Apple apps. At the time of writing, they are available to Apple developers and a handful of third-party companies.
Therefore, this can only be solved with a major software update.
Why do iPhones use the HEIC file type?
The main reason Apple opted for the HEIC format is the balance between image size and quality. That is, HEIC compression protocols allow you to take high-quality, high-resolution images that don’t take up much space. And the benefits are manifold.
First of all, you’re not likely to use up all of your iPhone’s memory after a few days of carefree clicking. So image transfers, especially over wireless protocols, are much faster. This also allows you to store or backup more images in your iCloud account without having to buy additional space.
Of course, the HEIC format is not perfect, but it is relatively new. Over time, you can expect HEIC conversions to become a native option for all operating systems. And until that point, you need to find third-party software that works well for you.
Are third-party converters safe?
If you know what to look for, third-party converters are perfectly safe. As mentioned, if you choose a web client to convert, it is important not to share your credentials with the site.
Also, you are uploading the images to third party servers and they should not keep your images after downloading them. The situation is similar to the applications you install on your computer or smartphone, except that you need to share your credentials.
But regardless, the conversion should happen locally on your computer or smartphone. And the application developer should not have access to your images or keep them on their servers.
Conversion here, conversion there, conversion everywhere
Despite the limitations, the HEIC format is there to make image taking and management faster and more efficient. Currently, there is more than enough support to convert HEIC to any other format you need. And hopefully Apple will soon include a native converter to make things even easier.
What is your favorite image format? How often do you need to convert images to PNG or any other format? Tell us more about your experiences in the comment section below.