What Are AAE Files &How to Open AAE Files

Many Apple Mac, Windows, and iPhone users that are going through the photo libraries have noticed the AAE files, which end in the.AAE extension. Judging by their extension, they resemble the image files, but you’re not going to be able to open them. As soon as you try to do it, an error message pops out informing that they’re not legit image files.

A Windows user is going to read the error message “Windows cannot open this file”; he’s also going to get a recommendation for looking for an application that it would. It’s a bit confusing for a Windows user as Windows doesn’t commonly show extensions. Another thing with AAE files is that they look just like an IMG_2123 and a regular blank icon.

What is the.AAE format in a nutshell?

AAE open files

The .AAE format is used in the case of Apple sidecar files, and they include themes, setting, skin file types, and options. iOS8 and Mac OS X Yosemite OS (operating system) are using the AAE files. Therefore, you’re going to notice the AAE files in laptops and computers that run on Mac OS X Yosemite, but also in iOS 8 mobile devices such as iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch. The AAE files include logged adjustments and metadata details to settings in an XML format. They’re typically used for photos and digital images in your device.

The AAE files don’t store a bitmap-type data, images or graphics per se. They don’t include XML information about the images and digital photos related. They’re also not designed for manual open, which is why it’s better that you leave the Mac OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 to run the AAE files accordingly.

How do AAE files appear?

If you’ve been edited files on your iPhone (or Mac) with Photos app, you may have noticed how they look unedited after you transfer the data to another software program on your Apple Mac or to another computer. Why is so?

When you’re editing in the Photos App from iPhone iOS 8 and above, you’re not going to alter the original image file in any way. The latter editing can over-write the original, but the iOS 8 and above can make no alterations to the original photograph. They save your editing work in another file, which is the AAE file (some may know it as AAE sidecar file).

You’re going to see that the AAE file is in the same folder as the original picture. It has the same format, but it comes with.AAE extension. The IMG_2123.JPG that you’ve been editing for a while now is going to lead to another file that is IMG_2123.AAE. It’s why these files have a casual feel; as they only appear after you’ve edited an image file.

What’s the most common way to open AAE files?

way to open AAE

Even if opening AAE files shouldn’t be mission impossible, some may need some assistance for doing it right.

You may begin with displaying it, and you do it by opening the edited photos one by one. You may use a third-party iOS photo-editing applications, re-saving the files later on but without any other changes. You’re actually making copies in the Camera Roll with the AAE changes. You also need to get rid of the original pictures, importing the newly created versions.

You can also use an iOS app which addresses the transfer of AAE file format. You may send the photos to the computer and maintain the alterations from the AAE files. Just make sure that the selected app is capable of performing the function.

Is it possible to open AAE files in Windows?

Sometimes, you may experience difficulties when opening the files in Windows, so you may want to keep reading for the details.

In the case of Windows, the OS has to know the program that you’re about to use. Even if you try to do a manual search from the programs shown on your desktop, the operating system may also run an automatic search for the same thing.

Here’s how to show the file extension:

  • You can upload the files to Dropbox
  • Log into the Dropbox account so that you can get the photos in the original size
  • You can continue by emailing the pictures to your email address. You may, however, lose the original size by doing so.

When working in Windows, you can also use a photo editor from your Apple device. Opening the application is the first step to take. You continue with importing the pictures, and end with re-saving the pics with no changes. It’s essential that the program you’ve chosen doesn’t add any watermarks to your photos. You don’t want it to compress or crop the images either, especially if you like the original version.

Keeping or deleting the AAE files? Which one works best?

deleting the AAE files

At the moment, there’s not much you can do with the AAE files on Windows at the moment, so we only have to wait about that. Cleaning manually the AAE files may be necessary (delete them). Leaving them as they are is also an option since they’re tiny anyway (1k or so). You need to remember that moving the files to another file or renaming the photos are going to make the connection to the AAE file disappear. They have to remain in the same folder and present the same root file name while having the extension changed.

The big challenge is knowing which AAE file belongs to a specific picture once you’ve modified the names.

The final recommendations

Being capable of editing an image file without making any alterations to the original is a great idea most of the time, especially when you’re not doing it right and want to go back to the edit settings.

However, even if the AAE file is written in XML format, there aren’t many choices for customers using Windows, an earlier version of  the OS X or when sharing with Android devices. People are typically really pleased with edits and may never go back and change the photos. It doesn’t make sense to crowd the hard drives with useless files and increase the number of records.

Some suggest that it would have been better for the Apple customers to apply the changes to the original pic and save the new copy (edited). But that’s just one recommendation.


The AAE file and extension: What is its purpose, how do I open it and can I delete it?

AAE File – What is it and how do I open it?