Microsoft adds HEIF image support to Windows 10

Google Android P isn’t the only operating system gaining native support for the new High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF). Microsoft is rolling out new preview builds of Windows 10 with native support for the new file format which brings better compression so that you can get higher-quality pictures at lower file sizes.

But that’s only one of the benefits of the HEIF container.

HEIF support is rolling out in Windows Insider Preview Build 17123, which means it should be ready for the public by the time the Windows Redstone 4/spring update rolls out in April. But if you want to test it early you’ll need to be a member of the Windows Insider Preview program and you’ll also need to join the Windows App Preview Program for the Photos app.

Since Windows 10 is gaining native support for the HEIF format, third-party apps that use support Windows technologies will also be able to add support for the format.

In addition to better quality and compression, HEIF brings support for storing a collection of images in a single file, storing videos and still images in the same file, and support for overlaying a number of images in a specific order, among other things.

You can find more details about the new image file format at Wikipedia, github, and Nokia’s github page.

Nokia’s technical page and comparison page also have good breakdowns of how HEIF files differ from JPG, PNG, GIF, WebP, and TIFF.

While HEIF support is the biggest change in Windows 10 build 17123, the latest preview also brings some improvements for Windows Mixed Reality and some general bug fixes.

Microsoft is also rolling out another test build of Windows starting today. Windows Insider Preview Build 17623 for Skip Ahead is a preview of Redstone 5, or the version of Windows 10 that will ship after the upcoming spring update. In addition to HEIF support, this build includes:

  • A safe remove feature for disconnecting external graphics cards hooked up to your PC through a Thunderbolt 3 dock
  • An updated privacy settings layout
  • Improvements for Windows Defnder Application Guard
  • Windows 10’s Mail app will automatically open web links in the Edge web browser (you can get around this by… not using the default Mail app)

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