The HEIC format is great because it lets you take high-resolution images that don't take up too much space on your iPhone or iCloud. But when it comes to file compatibility and handling, HEIC is not as widely supported as PNG or JPG.
This is by no means a compromise, as you can easily convert the images. The following sections provide a detailed guide on how to do the conversion on different devices. Additionally, 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 to use the preview app. Here's what you need 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 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 it to around 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 Finder, locate the HEIC files you want to use and select them all. Then you can drag and drop the images into Preview, or right-click, choose "Open With" and select Preview.
Thereupon, the steps are as previously described. Click the File menu in the bar, choose Export Selected Images, and set the desired destination and file format.
Remember to select all images in Preview – you can do this by pressing Cmd + A. Otherwise, you will only convert the first image that appears on the list.
If you want, you can also resize HEIC images while converting them to PNG. Before clicking on the File menu, bulk select the images in Preview and click on Tools in the menu bar.
From the Tools drop-down menu, select Adjust Size and enter the values you want for your images. When done, press OK and return to the File menu to perform the conversion.
The whole process is pretty quick, but expect to wait a bit longer if you're resizing the images as well. And it also depends on the number of images you are converting and the HEIC file size.
On a Windows 10 device
For Windows users, the process is a bit trickier. First, you need to make sure your PC can recognize HEIC files, or you can't preview or manipulate them. There are a few ways to do this. You can install Microsoft recommended codecs, use TechJunkie Tool Converter, or use HEIF Image Extensions.
The latter is a free utility tool available on the Microsoft Store. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that neither the codecs nor the tool can convert the images.
TechJunkie tools do not require login credentials or downloads. All you have to do is view the website in your favorite web browser, click THIS verse PNG, then drag and drop your HEIC image.
To perform the conversion, you will need a third-party or web-based tool. For the purpose of this article, we will provide a quick guide for HEREIN iMobile Converter. It is because the tool is safe, easy to use, free. Plus, there's a desktop version if you need much faster conversions.
Either way, here's what you need to do.
Go to the HEREIN iMobile 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 interface.
Now select the desired image format and quality from the designated fields. And the conversion should start automatically.
This aside; 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 need to use third-party software to convert HEIC to PNG on your iPhone. This time we will be looking at the Shortcuts app and how you can use it to perform the required action.
Download and install the app on your iPhone and go to My Shortcuts when you launch the app. At the bottom of the menu, you will be able to see the "Create Shortcuts" tile.
In the New Shortcut window, you will be able to see the “Search apps and actions” bar at the bottom of the window.
Click on it and proceed to add apps and actions in given order.
- Select photos
- Convert image
- Save to photo album
Now you need to make some changes to set the conversion from HEIC to PNG. Tap the Select Photos action and toggle the switch to Select Multiple.
Next to Convert, switch the output JPEG to PNG, then choose the destination next to Save converted images. For example, you can name a file PNGConverted and save the images there.
Finally, you need to name the shortcut and press 'Completed' to finalize the actions.
How to use this shortcut
You can access the shortcut through the app or shout "Hey Siri + shortcut name". In any case, you will access your photos to select the images to convert. Tap each one and tap Done to complete the action.
It takes a while, but the Shortcuts app shows you the progress bar as it completes the conversion.
From the web
Need to convert from time to time? It may be preferable to use a web client. Sites that deserve your attention include CloudConvert, Convertio, and HEIC2PNG. But, of course, these are just a few examples, and you can use any other online software if it works better for you.
The important thing is that the online converter does not ask you to share any of your information. These web applications should work without login or identity confirmation.
Other than that, they should allow easy uploading and downloading of images without any intermediate steps. To be exact, you upload the images, press Convert (or the software does it automatically), then click Download to get the images.
Converting HEIC to PNG doesn't require you to be tech savvy, and there are plenty of methods to choose from. However, unlike HEIC to JPG conversion, PNG conversion has more limitations.
This may require you to take more action or resort to third-party apps. However, this might change with one of the future iOS updates.
Can I automatically save images in PNG format instead of HEIC?
The quick answer is no, you can't. There is an iPhone trick to change camera and photo settings, but it won't give you PNG files. The formats you can automate only include JPG and HEIC.
On the other hand, you can export HEIC files to PNG format, but it's not the same as auto-saving as PNG. And even if you're using third-party software, you need to tell the app which images to convert.
Either way, automatic conversions on iOS and macOS devices require administrative permissions to access native Apple apps. As of this writing, these are available to Apple developers and a handful of third-party companies.
Therefore, this can only be fixed with a major software update.
Why do iPhones use the HEIC file type?
The main reason why Apple opted for the HEIC format is the balance between size and image 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 many.
First of all, you're unlikely to use up all of your iPhone's memory after a few days of joyful shooting. Then, image transfers, especially via wireless protocols, are much faster. It also allows you to store or backup more images to your iCloud account without buying additional space.
Of course, the HEIC format isn't perfect, but it's relatively new. Over time, you can expect HEIC conversions to become a native option for all operating systems. And until then, 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 perform the conversion, it's 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 uploading them. The situation is similar to apps you install on your computer or smartphone, except that you have to share your credentials.
But regardless, the conversion must happen locally on your computer or smartphone. And the app developer shouldn't have access to your images or keep them on their servers.
Conversion here, conversion there, conversion everywhere
Despite the limitations, the HEIC format is here to make your 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 include a native converter soon 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 about your experiences in the comments section below.