How to open RAW files on Windows , Mac , Android and iPhone

The RAW files were, until recently, an exclusive in the world of digital photography, used and handled exclusively by those in possession of a camera. With the passage of time, however, this type of image has also reached mobile devices. Finding out how to open RAW files is therefore essential if you want to deal with this type of format.

Before discovering all the methods at your disposal to open RAW files, however, it is appropriate to do a little further study. Not everyone in fact knows what this format is used for and how it can be used to its advantage.

What are RAW files

Let’s start immediately by telling you that RAW means “raw” or “not worked”. This will help us a lot to understand what is the use of this type of file in photography. A RAW file in fact, can be compared to a negative, or the image impressed in the film that was then used to develop photos with analog cameras.

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As you can see from the image above, a RAW file is much flatter than a common .JPEG file. This is due to the camera software which, in the first case, does not operate and leaves the image clean. In this way, those who use post-production programs can work directly with the original file and thus be able to get the best out of their shots.

How to open a RAW file

After understanding what makes this type of format possible, it’s time to find out how to open a RAW file. Since these images are now very common, we will show you the simplest procedures for both PCs and smartphones and tablets.

How to open a RAW file with Windows

If you want to find out how to open a RAW file on a computer with the Windows operating system, you will be pleased to know that this is a very simple and easy procedure to complete. This operation is also valid for all versions of the operating system up to the current version, ie Windows 10.

To open a RAW file on Windows, in fact, it will be enough to use the default photo application, by double clicking on the image. Alternatively you can click on the RAW file with the right mouse button and select “Open with Photo”.

If you still use Windows 7, to open a RAW file you will need to download a special codec package available on the official finger at this address. But our advice is to download Windows 10 to enjoy all the new features available.

How to open a RAW file on Mac

Mac computers or MacBooks, have always been among the most used by those involved in photography and digital graphics. Precisely for this reason, the operating system developed by Apple, is perfect for opening RAW files without the need for third-party applications.

To open a RAW file on Mac or MacBook it will be enough, even in this case, double click on the image. If this does not work, press the right mouse button and select “Open with” and “Preview” in order.

Open RAW files on Android and iPhone

As we have anticipated at the beginning, many Android smartphones now allow you to shoot in RAW format . To activate this option you will have to find the camera settings and choose the related item. This operation varies from model to model but the way to go is very similar even between different brands.

Opening a RAW file with Android is a bit more complicated because it requires the use of an application that you need to download from the Play Store. Fortunately, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC is completely free and will also allow you to make interesting changes to the images.

Likewise, if you use iPhone on a daily basis, you can use the same application to open RAW files. In this case, however, the camera software of Apple smartphones, does not allow you to shoot in this format and you will have to rely on third-party applications on the store, among which we recommend:

How to best use RAW files

The RAW file, if used as it is, could make little sense. Its real reason for being jumps out during post-production, when it is possible to put its hand to the shots and channel them towards the desired result.

The RAW file in fact, compared to the .JPEG that is commonly used in mid-range and low-end smartphones, allows you to capture all the data coming from the sensor. At the same time, however, the image is not changed and it is necessary, in most cases, to modify the shots with a program developed ad hoc.

All of you have heard of Photoshop at least once: this is a prime example of how the software part can perform miracles in terms of results. The only “flaw” of this program is that it is not really intuitive and to use the most advanced features, a period of study will be required. Once you’ve mastered the options available though, you’ll be able to make your shots even better.

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About Tarun Bhardwaj

I'm a fan of the world of video games for PCs since childhood, from the days of games on Floppy Disk and the last glories of the Commodore, reading magazines such as PC Gamer, Games For My Computer and many others. Even the other platforms intrigue me, but the first love never forgets.

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