Friends send me email with attachments containing .HEIC pictures from their iPhone. How can I easily view these pictures on Ubuntu?


2 Answers 2


HEIC is the file format name Apple has chosen for the new HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) Standard. Using advanced and modern compression methods, it allows photos to be created in smaller file sizes while retaining a higher image quality compared to JPEG/JPG.

Every iOS update comes with a host of changes, but some are not immediately obvious. ... HEIC will be used by default on new photos on iOS 11, and it's designed to save you storage space. As it's a new container format, there will be some incompatibilities along the way, and Apple does a good job at handling most of these.

To view these .HEIC images on Ubuntu, do this...

sudo apt update
sudo apt install heif-gdk-pixbuf
sudo apt install heif-thumbnailer
sudo apt install libheif1:amd64

Then save one of the .HEIC images to your ~/Pictures folder, right-click on the image icon, select Properties, and set the default application to Open With as Image Viewer.

Now a double-click on the image icon will open the file in Image Viewer for viewing.

Image thumbnails will also be seen in Files (Nautilus) windows.

In Thunderbird you can now also view these images in the original email attachment bar.

  • 1
    With Kubuntu, gwenview still would not work. I had to install Image viewer. sudo apt-get install gimagereader gpicview
    – oldfred
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 0:23
  • 1
    On my system (Ubuntu 20.04), libheif1 was a dependency, and so it was unnecessary for me to install it manually. You can also combine the installation commands into a single command: sudo apt install heif-gdk-pixbuf heif-thumbnailer. Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 9:02
  • This worked for me after I restarted my computer, I'm running Ubuntu 22.04
    – cjohansson
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 10:30
  • @heynnema In Thunderbird v102.13.0, I can see no email attachment toolbar. Can you please paste a Thunderbird screenshot example showing an HIEC attachment ?
    – SebMa
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 18:29
  • @SebMa Select an email with an attachment, and the attachment bar appears at the bottom of the email body pane.
    – heynnema
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 18:35

I found that Converseen version was able to convert an HEIC file downloaded from iphone to jpeg easily without any modification. It worked on Debian 11 Bullseye and assume that it should work on the current Ubuntu version. You may install it from repo using sudo apt install converseen

I hope it helps.

  • got a better one :) for file in *.heic; do heif-convert $file ${file/%.heic/.jpg}; done
    – Mr.P
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 18:21

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