Cracking the Mystery of HEIC Files: Understanding Google Photos Downloading

Google Photos is a widely popular and user-friendly platform for storing and managing photos and videos. It allows you to access your stored media from any device and offers a plethora of features to enhance your viewing experience. However, some users have been experiencing a frustrating issue with their Google Photos – the downloaded images are in HEIC format instead of the conventional JPEG format.

If you are also facing this issue and wondering why your Google Photos are downloading as HEIC files, you’re not alone. In this article, we delve into the reasons behind this problem and provide you with solutions to overcome it.

What is HEIC?

Before we dive into the details, let’s shed some light on what HEIC actually is. HEIC (High-Efficiency Image Container) is a highly advanced image format developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It is designed to store images more efficiently by compressing them without compromising on the quality. HEIC is both flexible and future-proof, making it a preferred format for storing high-resolution photos on mobile devices.

Why are my Google Photos downloading as HEIC files?

The primary reason behind this issue is compatibility – your device does not support HEIC files. Google Photos uses the HEIC format to download images on devices that are capable of handling it. However, most devices, including laptops and older smartphones, do not support this format, causing you to see HEIC files instead of JPEG.

Apart from compatibility, there could be other underlying reasons for this issue as well. Let’s take a look at them.

iOS Settings: If you’re an iPhone user, the HEIC file format is the default setting for capturing and storing images. This means that even when you download images from your iCloud or Google Photos, they will be in HEIC format. To change this setting, go to Settings > Camera > Formats, and choose the “Most Compatible” option.

File Conversion: If you have recently switched from an iOS device to an Android or Windows device, your images might be in HEIC format by default. This is because iOS devices automatically convert images to HEIC before transferring them to other devices. You can change this by going to Settings > Photos and choosing the “Automatic” option in the Transfer to Mac or PC section.

Google Photos Settings: Another possible reason is the settings in your Google Photos app. If you have enabled the “High Quality” option, then it will automatically convert your images to HEIC format to save storage space. To disable this, go to Settings > Back up & Sync and switch to the “Original” option.

How to convert HEIC to JPEG?

If you are faced with the issue of HEIC files and need to convert them to JPEG, there are various ways to do it. One option is to use a third-party file converter software such as Wondershare UniConverter. This software allows you to convert your HEIC files to JPEG format with just a few clicks. You can also use online file converters such as and to convert your images quickly and easily.

Another option is to use specialized iOS apps such as iMazing HEIC Converter, which can convert your HEIC files to JPEG directly on your device. Besides, you can also use the “Save As” option on your laptop to save the HEIC files as JPEG.


In conclusion, the reason why your Google Photos are downloading as HEIC files is mostly due to compatibility issues. The good news is that the solutions to this problem are simple and easy to implement. By adjusting your iOS and Google Photos settings, you can avoid downloading HEIC files and get your images in JPEG format as usual.

In case you do end up with HEIC files, you can use various methods to convert them to JPEG swiftly. Remember to check your device settings, as well as the settings in your Google Photos app, to ensure your images are downloaded in the desired format.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable information and helped you overcome the frustrating issue of HEIC files in your Google Photos. Stay tuned for more insightful articles and keep cherishing your memories with Google Photos.

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