Multi Media

What is the HEIC File?

HEIC or many people know it as HEIF, is an image format widely used to its tremendous benefits. However, this file format is not supported in many Linux machines, so it becomes hard to view these files on Linux OS.

In case you have a Linux system and want to view HEIC files, then read the article below that mentions multiple procedures to open a HEIC file on the Linux machines without any trouble. Apart from it, you will get to know about the essential aspects of HEIC files.

What is the HEIC File?

The complete form of HEIF or HEIC is a High-Efficiency Image File Container (in HEIF, “F” stands for format). It is a container format for an individual image and specific image sequences. HEIF is empowered by high-efficiency video compression (HEVC) codec and is also called h.265.

HEIF and HEVC are both developed by MPEG or Moving Picture Experts Group. According to the statistics of storage, Apple claims that HEIF with HEVC requires half of the storage with the quality like JPEG. It also supports animation and works well to store more information compared to any animated GIF or APG.

How to Open HEIC File on Linux?

Now we will consider multiple procedures with step-by-step procedures to open the HEIC file on Linux easily.

Use heif-gdk-pixbuf

Heif-gdk-pixbuf is a package that one can use for viewing a HEIC file, and it is available in the Ubuntu repositories. For installing it in your system, use the following command:

sudo apt install heif-gdk-pixbuf

After downloading the pack, if your image does not open in the image viewer, use Gpicview. Use the following command to download it:

sudo apt install gpicview

Once you download all of the required files, then you can easily open and view the HEIC file on Linux.

Use libheif-examples

Linux systems having Nautilus file manager will not support HEIC, so convert these images into JPEG format to view them.

To begin, download the libheif-examples package by using the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt install libheif-examples

After executing the command, enter a password to install new software on the Linux machine. Now use the following command to convert the HEIC file into JPEG:

heif-convert XYZ.HEIC XYZ.JPEG


In the above command, XYZ is the name of that file, and eog is an image viewer Nautilus uses explicitly. In case you want to convert all of the HEIC files to JPEG files in the current directory, then use the following command:

for an image in *.HEIC; do heif-convert $image `basename \$image .HEIC`.JPEG; done

Remember, it will convert all the HEIC files into JPEG files easily.


It was a complete detail on HEIC files and how you can easily open them on Linux without facing any error. As we have mentioned earlier, HEIC or HEIF is a widely used file format due to its compatibility and strength of occupying less space than other formats. The above-explained methods are tested on multiple Linux machines and specifically on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

About the author

Simran Kaur

Simran works as a technical writer. The graduate in MS Computer Science from the well known CS hub, aka Silicon Valley, is also an editor of the website. She enjoys writing about any tech topic, including programming, algorithms, cloud, data science, and AI. Travelling, sketching, and gardening are the hobbies that interest her.