Apple introduced the new image format HEIF/HEIC and the new video codec H.265/HEVC since iOS 11. For backward compatibility, Apple also allows users to take pictures and save them as the classic JPG format. To do that you can jump into the Settings >> Camera >> Formats >> Most Compatible.
Once this option is activated, your photos will be saved as JPEG files, video will be recorded as H.264 videos on iPhone. If the pictures were not captured in JPEG at the first place, you still have the chance to convert the images back to JPEG. We have this issue covered in this tutorial to convert iPhone photos to JPG upon transfer to PC.
Does it affect the HEVC/H.265 videos as well?
If the videos were not captured in H.264 codec at the first place, can we export them to computer as H.264 videos? The transfer mode was set to Keep Originals (Settings >> Photos >> Transfer to Mac or PC >> Keep Originals) in Photos Settings on my iPhone. I copied over a video from iPhone 8 to Windows 10 computer through USB. Added it to VLC player and looked at the media file information, found the video codec was MPEG-H Part2/HEVC (H.265) (hevc).
Convert H.265/HEVC to H.264
After that I changed the settings from ‘Keep Originals’ to ‘Automatic‘. Then repeat the steps to view the codec info using the VLC media player, this time, it was H264 – MPEG-4 AVC (part 10) (avc1).
So the Photos transfer mode setting can also convert the HEVC/H.265 videos upon transfer. Unless you have chosen ‘Keep Original’ for Transfer to Mac or PC, they will be converted back to H.264 when copying them to your computer via USB.
For those existing HEVC videos on your computer, you need to use a media encode/decode tool to transcode them. See the steps to manually convert H.265 HEVC videos using easy-to-use media converter with the H.265/HEVC decoding and encoding support.
Play H.265/HEVC videos on computer & Android
The Movies & TV program on Windows computer should be able to play H265 HEVC videos without problem. If you can’t play HEVC videos on your PC running on an earlier Windows OS, you can download and use third party video players, such as the VLC media player. Most Android phones currently may not be able to play HEVC videos at the moment. You need to install third-party H265 or HEVC players on the phone or use a video converter to convert H265 to H264. Check out following steps to convert iPhone HEVC videos to Samsung or Android phones using a professional media converter, HEVC H265 decoder.