At this time, Windows does not support opening and viewing HEIC images. You can download them to your hard drive, for example via cloud storage, but when you try to open them, Windows will give you an error message.
I’m sure Windows will eventually offer functionality for HEIC files. In the meantime, the only solution is to use a free app called iMazing HEIC Converter that takes HEIC files and converts them to JPG or PNG files. I use this and it is absolutely fantastic. So you can delete HEIC files from your computer.
How to turn off taking HEIC and HEIF files
Of course, the simple solution, if you don’t want to use HEIC images, is to just turn off the feature. Then your iOS device will go back to taking JPG images again. You just won’t be able to take advantage of the extra space that HEIC images give you.
If you are in the habit of sharing a lot of images online or sending images to other devices like Android, this may be your only viable option until other platforms include heic to jpg file recognition by default.
To turn off HEIC on your iOS device, go to Settings->Camera->Formats and choose “Most Compatible”. However, keep in mind that every time your device is updated to the latest version of iOS, it will go back to “ High Efficiency ” again.
So you have to remember to change it back again.
Apple seems to have good intentions in introducing the HEIC. Despite all their benefits, JPG and PNG are old file formats. With the advent of new technology, file formats must change. But so far only Apple has drunk the HEIC’s Kool-Aid. Other operating systems currently find life just fine without it. Which makes things awkward for shutterbugs hopping between systems. Once HEIC becomes a standard, people will probably start to like it more and use it more. But right now, it’s more of a niche thing with Apple users.