Is there any "native way" to view the new HEIF/HEIC format (or the viewer-application) in El Capitan or Sierra without upgrade of MacOS itself? It is not yet possible to upgrade yet to HighSierra for me, but I'd like to natively view images from iPhone 8 and up generation, avoiding conversions to JPG.

There been questions asked about convertors of .heic to .jpg, but I don't think it's reasonable to convert images (via the means of online convertors, specialized apps, Dropbox, etc.). Soon or later .heic support will become normal, and all the online services and applications will finish the transition, so obviously there will be no need to convert to JPG.

The question: Is there any way to install some kind of plugin or extension to MacOS to support HEIF/HEIC within the Preview App, or it may be there are good applications alike XnView or analogues, which support it out of the box?

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    I haven't been able to find anything so far for you. There are definitely conversion options, like you said, but I think that in the same way that JPG will eventually become the nonstandard (as you said), so will the older OS's that don't have native support for HEIF/HEIC. You may consider a trial of Pixelmator, which claims to have support for HEIF. Not sure if that is limited to High Sierra users (I don't see why that would be). pixelmator.com/mac
    – i i
    Nov 9, 2017 at 4:48
  • @BarryMode, thanks for you input! High Sierra users don't need it, as it comes out of the box, with MacOS itself. There are a lot of convertors, alike Dropbox (does it automatically), iMazing HEIC Converter, online services alike heictojpg'dot'com, etc... But all of them do conversion. I need to use original files, until the graceful transition will be made by all other services/software/platforms/OS.
    – Farside
    Nov 9, 2017 at 11:05
  • Right, I understand that. That's why I didn't submit an answer, because from what I can tell there doesn't appear to be a way at the moment. I'll let you know if I find out otherwise, as this interests me. For anyone else reading, here's a list of which OS's currently have native support. Platforms That Can Read HEIF Images: iOS 11 on iPhone 7 or later. macOS High Sierra (10.13) and higher. Platforms That Can’t Read HEIF Images: iOS 10 or lower. Anything earlier than iPhone 7. Windows PC (currently). macOS High Sierra 10.12 and earlier.
    – i i
    Nov 9, 2017 at 15:33
  • If you just need to view them, and not a huge number of them, Ben Gotow has popped a Javascript based viewer on the web that you can load heic files into and view in your browser, which should work on just about any OS. Its at the very bottom of jpgtoheif.com, after his explanation of how to manually make heic files. Not a native app though, and only views one at a time, so I have just added as a comment and not an answer Nov 10, 2017 at 6:04

2 Answers 2


The current version of Graphic Converter (from https://www.lemkesoft.de, free trial available) supports HEIC format. I did not try it in Sierra or El Capitan, but the description says: MacOS 10.9 or later.


The current version of GIMP supports the HEIC format. You can download it from here. I did not try on Sierra or El Capitan but there is no reason it should not work as well as on my High Sierra since GIMP does not rely on any Apple library (I could open this image).

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