How to convert HEIC to JPG on a Mac

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I have compiled detailed instructions on how to change HEIC to JPG on Mac, but I suggest you start with this table. Chances are your problem will be solved in the next 10 seconds of reading.

Problem Solution
Batch convert without quality loss Use Permute.
Convert HEICs from Photos app Drag and drop images to any other folder or select image > press File > Export.
Specify quality before conversion Open image in Preview and click File > Export.
Preview photo quality before converting Drag HEIC to Squash and adjust dimensions and quality.
Bulk convert + specify quality Select images and right-click > Quick Actions > Convert Images.
Convert in bulk for free Use Automator.
Convert when saving from web Use browser extensions.
Convert + compress in clipboard at the same time Use Clop.

Why convert a HEIC file to JPG?

heic question reddit

In 2024, modern PCs, Android, and many online platforms have already made friends with HEIC and have almost no compatibility issues. However, there are a few situations where you will definitely need to convert HEIC to JPG.

For example, you can't upload HEICs as thumbnails for your YouTube video. Or you can’t view HEIC photos on Linux PCs, as well as Windows up to version 10 (updated in October 2018). The same is true for Android devices up to version 10 (released in 2019). Also, most printing shops will ask for JPEG or PNG.

Sometimes, conversion is just inevitable.

How to change HEIC to JPG in one click

I'll start with the fastest and safest solution I know – Permute. It is an app that converts images, videos, and audio in bulk. The quality is preserved and the processing takes seconds. Here's how to convert HEIC to JPG on Mac.

  1. Download and install Permute on your Mac.
  2. Select JPEG from the drop-down menu in the upper left corner.
  3. Drag and drop your HEIC files into the window. Don't hesitate to take as many files as you need.
  4. Click the start ("play") button.

The converted files will be placed in the same folder as the original one.

permute heic to jpg conversion

Important. You can convert media limitlessly in Permute for free for 7 days. No ads or hidden fees. To do this, install Permute through Setapp, a platform with 240+ apps for macOS and iOS. You can try all the other apps in the same way.

How to convert HEIC to JPG on a Mac

If you want to use the free tools built into the Mac, you have several options. I've ordered them from easiest to most time-consuming.

How to turn HEIC file to JPG with Photos

You have two options if the images are in the Library folder in Photos.

Method 1: Simply drag and drop the HEICs you want to your desktop or another folder, and they will automatically be converted to JPEG. 

Note that if the HEICs are located outside the Photos app, this method will not work.

Method 2: Here’s how to turn HEIC to JPG on Mac using the Photos app on a Mac:

  1. Select the HEIC images you want to convert.
  2. Click File > Export > Export X Photos from the app menu at the top.
  3. Manage the JPEG options and click Export.
  4. Specify a location to save the files, and then click Export.

Both the original and converted files will be saved.

photos heic to jpg conversion

Converting HEIC to JPG with Preview

If you need to adjust quality while converting HEIC to JPEG, use the Preview method. It’s pretty okay for occasional processing, but I wouldn’t recommend it for regular bulk conversions, as they would require too many clicks and too much time. 

  1. Open the HEIC image in Preview.
  2. Click File > Export.
  3. Specify the location and format of the photo.
  4. Use the slider to adjust the desired quality (from least to best).
  5. Click Save.

preview conversion heic to jpeg

What I personally miss here is understanding how the final photo will look. Yes, there is a quality slider, but it's hard to know what "low" or "medium" will look like in reality.

So, when I need to preview a future photo, I use Squash. Here, I can controllably reduce the image dimensions (i.e., reduce the number of pixels) or reduce the quality of the photo (i.e., make it more compressed). Take a look.

squash converting adjusting heic to jpg

You can also perform basic photo editing, add a watermark, and save metadata (such as GPS location and camera model).

Batch convert HEIC to JPG on MacOS Monterey and later

If you need bulk HEIC to JPEG conversion and want to use only the built-in free Mac tools, try the right-click menu. This option appeared in macOS Monterrey and is still present in Sonoma.

  1. Select your HEICs and right-click them.
  2. Choose Quick Actions > Convert Images.
  3. Specify the desired image size (Actual, Large, Medium, Small) and click Convert to JPG.
  4. The converted photos will be saved in the same folder as the originals.

photos exporting heic as jpeg

If I had to choose a free way to do bulk conversion for the rest of my life, this would not be it. For some reason, this feature is buggy on my Mac. Sometimes, when I select Convert Images from the drop-down menu, the quality selection window you see above doesn't appear. Then, I have to wait a few minutes and try again to get it to work. Luckily, there's another free option.

How to change HEIC to JPG on Mac using Automator

For a free built-in bulk HEIC to JPEG conversion on Mac, I would recommend Automator. It will add a "Convert HEIC to JPG" button to your right-click menu and make the process a little easier for you.

  1. Open Automator (use Spotlight search).
  2. Click Quick Action.
  3. Find Change Type of Images in the list on the left, double-click it > Add.
  4. In the Copy Finder Items, select a location to save the converted files. Unfortunately, there's no option to save the file to the original folder.
  5. In Change Type of Images, select JPEG from the drop-down list.
  6. Click File > Save and name your Quick Action (for example, Change HEIC to JPG).

The process looks a bit long, but eventually, you will get a button like the one in the screenshot below in your drop-down menu. You'll still have to click for a while to convert, but if you don't need to convert dozens of photos regularly, this option is fine.

quick actions heic jpg conversion

How to save HEIC to JPG on your Mac from web

When you download an image from the internet, you usually get it in the format the author uploaded. But if you don't like it, you can change the format while downloading and save HEIC as JPG on Mac or in another format.

A quick search through the Chrome and Firefox extensions led me to a free Save Image As Type tool. For Safari, this extension is $3.99. In the screenshot below, you can see that different formats appear in the menu when I right-click on a photo in the browser.

heic to jpg conversion in browser

What I don't like about this is that when you download an image, its quality drops significantly. For example, here is what the original photo and the uploaded JPG look like. Not good for pro usage, but quite okay if you just need to illustrate something on the go.

image quality comparison

And while we're on the subject of web and conversion, here's another tool that sometimes comes in handy for me – and I think it can help you, too. It converts and compresses files simultaneously, but I usually use it when I need to compress an image on the fly and quickly insert it somewhere, for example, attach it to an email or send it via a messenger. The app is called Clop, and here's how it works.

  1. Install Clop.
  2. Copy the image.
  3. Press Shift + Control + A.
  4. Paste the photo where you want it – it's already JPG and it’s in the clipboard!

clop compressing and converting

In the same way, Clop compresses videos, documents and other files. The only thing I recommend is to keep an eye on the settings. By default, the compressed file can replace the original. You can easily undo this action, but I’d just change this in the settings if I were you.

Bonus: How to edit image metadata quickly

This bonus section wasn't supposed to be here, but while writing this article I got into a conversation with Yana, Setapp’s designer. I asked her how she converts HEIC photos, and somehow in the course of the conversation it turned out that Yana is a fanatical photo sorter.

I thought her experience could be useful to anyone who works with photos professionally or just takes photos for fun. So, if you're struggling with photo chaos, here's a tip from Yana:

The photos I get for work often have a broken date or a missing geotag or author. This is a real pain for me. Six months from now, if I need to find a photo of, say, our Boston office, I'll be drowning in tons of images. So what do I do? I throw all the pictures – HEIC, PNG, JPG, etc. into MetaImage and put all the metadata I need on all the photos at once. It's a three-second job that saves future me time and nerves.

In the picture below, I upload photos in different formats (HEIC, JPG) to MetaImage and apply a common geotag to all of them at the same time. Feels convenient!

metaimage bulk geo tag

Summarizing HEIC to JPG conversion on Mac

While HEIC images have not yet made it to all devices and platforms, we still need to convert them from time to time.

So, let's summarize? For batch conversion without quality loss, I recommend Permute and Squash. They're best if you need to convert many files, and often because the built-in Mac tools can be cumbersome in this case. You can use Permute and Squash for free for 7 days without any restrictions through Setapp.

If you only need to convert files occasionally and not for professional use, then I would stick with the built-in tools. For example, if you have HEICs in your photo folder, all you have to do is drag them anywhere, and they will be automatically converted to JPEG. 

In other cases, you can always find the Convert Images button in the right-click menu. Or you can open the image and go to File > Export.

Hope this helps, and your photos will be amazing!

FAQ

What is a HEIC file?

HEIC, or High-Efficiency Image Container, is an image format that has been used by default in iOS and macOS since 2017. As the name implies, HEIC has high compression efficiency – a JPEG file of the same quality can take up to twice as much storage. It also allows us to have Live Photos, as it can store multiple images in one file

Can you convert multiple HEIC to JPG at once on Mac?

If your pictures are stored in the Photos app, just drag them to any other folder and they will automatically be converted to JPG. If they are not there, select the photos you need, right-click them > Quick Actions > Convert Image. If you're looking for the easiest way, try Permute. In this case, all you need to do is drag the photos to the app window and click Start. You can convert video, audio, PDF and other file formats the same way.

How to convert HEIC to JPG on Mac Quick Action?

Select and right-click the HEICs you want to convert. From the menu, select Quick Actions > Convert Image. In the window that appears, select the format and size and click Convert to JPEG.

How do I stop my Mac from converting pictures to HEIC?

By default, Mac doesn't convert images to HEIC. Pictures that you have downloaded to your Mac or that are in your Photos folder may already be in HEIC format. If you took these photos on your iPhone, you can change the settings so that the camera captures them in JPEG instead. To do this, open Settings, go to Camera, select Formats, and check Most Compatible. Your next photos will be in JPG format. Note that they may take up more space than HEICs.

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