HEIC vs PNG: What are the Differences? Which is Better?

This HEIC vs PNG guide will tell you all the info you want to know: the difference between PNG and HEIC, their pros and cons.

Lena by Lena Updated June 28, 2023
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HEIC emerged as a new file format when Apple decided to make HEIC the default format for saving images in macOS High Sierra and iOS 11.


When a new file format is introduced and we already have a highly compatible format like PNG, it is natural for users to be curious about the differences between the new format and the conventional one. That's why we have created this HEIC vs PNG guide to show you the key distinctions between HEIC and PNG file formats that you may be seeking.

What are HEIC and PNG?

HEIC, an acronym for High Efficiency Image File, is Apple's innovative image container format designed to reduce photo file size and conserve storage space. This format is supported by iPhone 7 and newer models operating on iOS 11 or above. In general, users won't be concerned with the file format of their photos. However, there may be some challenges when transferring HEIC photo files from iPhone to computer or cloud storage.


PNG, which stands for Portable Network Graphic, is a top-notch graphic file format that can be easily viewed in various graphic programs, image viewers, and web browsers. It has gained significant popularity among web designers due to its ability to handle graphics with transparent or semi-transparent backgrounds. An added advantage of PNG is that it is not subject to any patents, which means you can freely open and modify PNG files using any image editing software without worrying about licensing restrictions.


The difference between PNG and HEIC

Here are some main differences between HEIC and PNG.

HEIC vs PNG - Size and Quality

When it comes to file size and image quality, HEIC and PNG have their differences. The innovative HEIC format is capable of storing images in much smaller file sizes than the traditional PNG format. Despite this significant reduction in size, HEIC images maintain a high level of quality that rivals that of PNG.

HEIC vs PNG - Supported Operating System

The PNG file format is widely compatible across multiple platforms, including Android, Windows, Mac, and iOS, making it effortless to open and view PNG image files.

On the contrary, the HEIC format, being relatively new, faces compatibility issues with certain platforms. Opening or viewing HEIC files may pose difficulties, particularly on Windows and Android operating systems.

💡 More info:

How to Open HEIC Files on Windows 10, 8, 7 

HEIC File Viewer Free Download | Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 

HEIC vs PNG - Flexibility

The HEIC file offers greater flexibility compared to the PNG file, as it has the ability to store not only a single image but also a sequence of images. In contrast, the PNG file can only hold one image. Additionally, the HEIC file includes both the image and its metadata.

HEIC vs PNG - Editing Support

Transparency is a feature that is supported by both the HEIC and PNG file formats. However, it is important to note that when it comes to editing options like rotation and cropping, the HEIC file format has an advantage.

Unlike PNG, you can make these changes to the HEIC file without the need to save or modify the image permanently. This flexibility makes it possible for you to undo any changes later if you need to.

HEIC vs PNG: which is better?

It depends on your personal preference and needs.

🔸 HEIC and PNG are two distinct file formats that have notable differences.

🔸 HEIC is a newer format developed by the MPEG group, while the PNG format has been around for a longer time.

🔸 HEIC files offer superior compression, resulting in smaller file sizes compared to PNG. Additionally, HEIC supports advanced features such as transparency and multiple images in a single file, which PNG does not.

🔸 On the other hand, PNG files are widely supported across various platforms and devices, whereas HEIC files might require specific software or conversion for compatibility.

In conclusion, while HEIC has efficient compression and advanced features, PNG is still a more generally accepted format.

Which image file format is best for photos and graphics?

Supporting alpha channels is a key strength of the PNG format compared to other image formats. With alpha channels, you have the flexibility to control the level of transparency for each pixel. This means that when you save an image in PNG format, you can seamlessly overlay it on top of a background with different colors, allowing it to seamlessly blend in.

Compatibility is the primary concern when it comes to the HEIC format. If you transfer a HEIC file between Apple devices, it will maintain its format. However, if you share it with a device that doesn't support HEIC, it will automatically convert the file to JPEG to ensure compatibility.


Can Photoshop and Lightroom open HEIC files?

Both Photoshop and Lightroom are exceptional tools utilized by photographers. The good news is that as long as you have updated both your computer and the Photoshop and Lightroom apps, you shouldn't encounter any issues opening your HEIC files.

  • If you are a Mac user, make sure you are running High Sierra 10.13 or a more recent version, and have Lightroom CC 1.4 or Lightroom Classic CC 7.4.
  • For Photoshop users who have upgraded to Photoshop Elements 2019, opening HEIC files in the RAW editor is possible.
  • Windows users who wish to edit HEIC files will need to have Windows 10 or a newer version installed, along with the specified Lightroom and Photoshop versions mentioned above.

💡 More info: How to Open HEIC in Photoshop on Windows PC and Mac

How to convert HEIC to PNG

If you want to convert HEIC to PNG, there are many online converters to choose from. By simply searching "convert HEIC to PNG" on Google, you'll discover a wide range of options. These converters usually require you to upload your HEIC images to their website and patiently wait for the conversion process to complete.

However, if you have a large number of photos to convert, this method may prove time-consuming due to the need for a reliable Internet connection. In addition, there is a potential risk of invasion of privacy when uploading photos online.

Convert HEIC to PNG

If you're seeking a fast and secure solution for photo conversion, consider using a desktop application like FoneTool. This application will enable you to swiftly and safely convert your photos without compromising your privacy.

FoneTool provides a convenient solution to easily convert multiple HEIC files to PNG format without worrying about the security of your photos. Besides, you can also choose to transfer the converted PNG images directly to your iPhone if needed.

1. Download, install, and launch FoneTool.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

2. Once on the Home screen, navigate to Toolbox and select HEIC Converter.

HEIC Converter

3. Add the photos you want to convert.

Add photos

4. Choose the format you need and adjust other settings.

5. Finally, click Start Converting.

Start Convertering

💡 If you want to convert the photos saved on your iPhone to HEIC file, you can plug in your iPhone and go to iPhone to PC to transfer your photos to computer. When you want to transfer photos to iPhone, go to PC to iPhone to start the transfer.

iPhone to PC

Final words

That’s all about HEIC vs PNG. The differences between the HEIC and PNG file formats have been thoroughly described. HEIC has an advantage over PNG when considering file size but it encounters certain compatibility challenges. Apple has cleverly converted HEIC images to a highly compatible format automatically, allowing seamless sharing on platforms that do not themselves support the new file format.

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