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How to convert HEIC files to JPEG on a Mac

The HEIC file type for photos is slowly becoming adopted by developers as it is Apple’s standard for pictures on iPhone and iPad. But until the format is more widely accepted in third-party applications and services, you may need to convert those HEIC files to the common JPEG format. Luckily for Mac users, it’s easy to do.

Without the need for a third-party app or online file converter, you have a couple of tools built right into MacOS that you can use. Here’s how to convert HEIC to JPEG using Preview and Photos.




10 minutes

What You Need

  • Mac computer, HEIC image, Preview app, Photos app

What is HEIC?

HEIC stands for High-Efficiency Image Codec, and as mentioned, it's used by Apple for storing photos and accompanying data on your device. It became the “new” file type introduced with iOS 11 because of its smaller file size in comparison to JPEG.

You may also hear about HEIF, which is High-Efficiency Image Format and also used by Apple. In a nutshell, HEIC is what’s used to store HEIF photos and data. So, you may hear the terms used interchangeably.

How to convert HEIC to JPEG on Mac using Preview

Preview is the default app on MacOS for viewing images, unless you change it of course. The app gives you a simple way to open an HEIC photo and convert it to JPEG.

Step 1: If Preview is still your default image app, simply double-click the HEIC image and it will open in Preview. If you’ve changed your default app, you can open the image in Preview by right-clicking, moving to Open With, and selecting Preview.

how to convert heic jpg on mac open image with preview
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Select File > Export from the menu bar in Preview.

how to convert heic jpg on mac preview file export
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: In the pop-up window, rename your file and add a tag if you wish. Then, choose a location to save the converted image.

Step 4: Next to Format, select JPEG.

Step 5: Optionally, you can use the Quality slider to adjust the quality from Least to Best. As you move the slider, you’ll see the File Size Adjust as well.

Step 6: Click Save.

That’s all there is to it! You’ve just converted the HEIC photo to a JPEG.

how to convert heic jpg on mac preview export save
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to convert HEIC to JPEG on Mac using Photos

If you use iCloud and sync photos on your Mac with your iPhone or iPad, then using the Photos app is a convenient way to convert an HEIC image.

Step 1: Open Photos on your Mac and select the image.

Step 2: Select File > Export from the menu bar in Photos. Pick Export 1 Photo from the pop-out menu.

how to convert heic jpg on mac photos export 1 photo
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: In the window, next to Photo Kind, select JPEG.

Step 4: You can adjust the remaining settings before converting the file if you like. These include JPEG Quality, Size, Info, and File Naming options.

Step 5: Click Export.

how to convert heic jpg on mac photos export settings
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 6: Choose a location to save the converted image in the subsequent window and click Export.

Just like that, you’ve converted your HEIC to JPEG using Photos on Mac.

how to convert heic jpg on mac photos export photo
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you want to use one of your HEIC photos in an application or on a device that doesn’t support that file type, it’s easy to convert HEIC to JPEG right on your Mac. With this file format in mind, check out how to share photos directly from iPhone to Android as well.

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Sandy Writtenhouse
Sandy has been writing about technology since 2012. Her work has appeared on How-To Geek, Lifewire, MakeUseOf, iDownloadBlog…
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