Apowersoft Photo Viewer review

Apple's latest image format causes no problems for this free image viewer, but don't expect advanced editing

TechRadar Verdict

While it's certainly useful to be able to open HEIC files without conversion, Apowersoft Photo Viewer doesn't really offer much more than this. Image editing is so basic, you may well wonder if it's worth it.


  • +

    Opens HEIC files

  • +

    Avoids the need to convert to JPEG

  • +

    Free and easy to use


  • -

    Basic image editing tools

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    No image conversion option within the viewer

  • -

    Slide-up controls at the bottom of the screen can be temperamental

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The humble JPEG format has been with us for what seems like forever, and it is starting to show its age a little. While still more than fine for everyday photography, many people have become a little more demanding – and this led to the creation of HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format), designed to be the successor to JPEG.

Apowersoft Photo Viewer

Download here: Apowersoft Photo Viewer

Developer: Apowersoft

Operating system: Windows

Version: 1.1.4

With iOS 11, Apple brought its own implementation of the format to the masses in the form of HEIC. The new format offers better compression and numerous new features – such as storing burst-photography in a single file as well as non-destructive editing – but there is the problem of support. 

If you have an iPhone and you're using a Windows computer, you'll hit the interesting problems of being able to take photos on your phone, but not be able to view them on your computer – at least if you have the High Efficiency setting selected in Camera, and have disabled automatic conversion to JPEG in the Photos app.

With Apowersoft Photo Viewer installed, however, you can leave the 'Keep Originals' setting activated in Photos and copy the HEIC versions of photos to your computer. The program not only lets you view HEIC images on your computer – whether they come from your iPhone or a friend's Mac – it also includes image editing options.

User experience

As Apowersoft Photo Viewer is, essentially, little more than an image viewer, it should come as no surprise that it's easy to get to grips with. Image viewing takes nothing more than double clicking an image, dragging it into the program, or using the Open dialog.

You can then scroll back and forth through all of the images in the same folder, zoom in and out – and that's about it.

At first glance, at least. Hidden at the bottom of the program windows is a pop up toolbar that provides access to rotation tools, and the option to edit images.

The editor is very basic – think Microsoft Paint with a few effects thrown in – but it does include the option to convert images to other formats including JPG and PDF. It's just a shame this option wasn't featured a little more prominently.

The competition

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

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