How to Download HEIC as JPG in iCloud on Windows and Mac

While HEIC is the default storage format in the iPhone (ever since iOS 11), you don’t need to stick with it. From converting your HEIC images right on the iPhone itself to making it shoot in the older JPEG format straight off the bat, you are never out of options. But there’s also another way — download your HEIC images in the JPG format via iCloud.

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If you have iCloud Photos turned on, then all of your photos are readily accessible via the iCloud.com web app. Visit it using any browser on Windows, and selected photos will download in the JPG format automatically. That is awesome because you won’t have to convert HEIC images to JPG manually.

You can also do this on a Mac, but you need to perform a tweak to make yourself appear as if you are on Windows. Sadly, iCloud.com doesn’t work properly on mobile devices. That means you can’t download HEIC images in JPG, even with desktop mode enabled on your iPhone or iPad.

Download HEIC as JPG — Windows

On Windows, downloading your photos in the JPG format via iCloud.com is ridiculously easy. Just initiate a download, and iCloud.com will convert HEIC files to the most compatible format (JPEG) for Windows before they even hit your PC. That is great for instances like if you run into issues transferring your photos to PC via File Explorer.

If you don’t see any automatic conversions to JPG, then you can also ‘nudge’ the browser to initiate the download in the JPG format.

Step 1:Sign in to iCloud.com using your Apple ID credentials.

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Step 2: Click on Photos to access your photo library.

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Step 3: Select the image that you want to download. If you want to pick multiple photos, either drag the cursor over the images or pick them up individually while holding down the Ctrl key. Follow up by clicking the Download icon.

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You should see the HEIC images download in the JPG format immediately. Pretty cool, right? You can download as many photos in the JPG format as you want this way.

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In case the selected photo or photos download in the HEIC format, select the items again, and then click and hold the Download button for a couple of seconds. On the pop-up menu that shows up, click the option labeled Most Compatible, and then click the Download button. That should do the trick in getting the downloads to convert to the JPG format.

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Don’t forget that you can also use either the iCloud desktop or Windows Store apps to download your entire photo library in the JPG format automatically. Just make sure to leave the ‘Keep High Efficiency Original If Available’ option unchecked while setting up the app. Downloading your photos via iCloud.com is the way to go if you only want JPG copies as and when needed.

Download HEIC as JPG — macOS

Since macOS is fully compatible with the HEIC image format, downloading an image via iCloud.com on a Mac will not convert it to the JPG format. However, you can perform a little hack by ‘disguising’ yourself as if you are on Windows. That involves changing the user agent of your browser, and with Safari, it’s just super-easy to do that.

Step 1: Open Safari. Next, click Safari on the Menu bar, and then choose Preferences.

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Step 2: Click the Advanced tab, and then check the box next to ‘Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar.’ Exit the Preferences window afterward. You should now see a new option labeled Develop on the Menu bar.

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Step 3: Visit iCloud.com, and then sign in with your Apple ID. Follow that up by clicking on Photos.

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Step 4: Click Develop on the Menu bar, point to User Agent, and then select either Google Chrome — Windows or Firefox — Windows. You should see iCloud.com begin to reload automatically — wait until it fully finishes doing that.

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Step 5: Select the photos that you want to download and then click the Download icon. To select multiple items, either drag the cursor over the images or click on the desired photos while holding down the Cmd key.

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iCloud.com will oblige and download the images in the JPG format. You can find the converted photos in the Downloads location of Finder.

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Safari will change the user agent to the default automatically on newer tabs. However, you can easily switch to the Google Chrome (Windows) or Mozilla Firefox (Windows) user agents via the Develop menu whenever you want to download HEIC images in the JPG format.

You can also hide the Develop menu. Open the Safari Preferences panel, click Advanced, and then uncheck the box next to ‘Show Develop Menu in Bar’ to do that.

Convert That HEIC Image

Windows supports the codecs necessary to open and view HEIC files, while macOS supports the format natively. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t run into instances of third-party apps and services that aren't fully compatible with the HEIC format. Hence, knowing the means to convert them to the JPG format can be crucial. And, of all the manual conversion methods out there, using iCloud.com to grab JPG copies easily may be the most convenient.

Next up: Running out of storage on iCloud? Here are all possible ways to regain valuable space right from the comfort of your iPhone or iPad.

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Dilum Senevirathne is a contributing writer at Guiding Tech who loves sharing his passion for all things technology. He takes privacy and security seriously, so don’t be surprised to see him put sketchy-looking apps to task! When he isn’t writing, you can find him catching up on the latest tech stuff at Reddit.