What is the .AAE file extension? How to open .AAE file?

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Aina Prat Blasi
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When you come across the photos folder, you may see some images with the 'AAE' file extension. These files are essential, for edits made to your images using the Photos app, on iOS devices. Simply put, with the use of .AAE files, you can refer to the collection of changes made on your iPhone.


When attempting to open these images, AAE displays an error message indicating that this is not a valid image file. This could confuse and annoy many users as they are unaware of how to open images with .AAE extension.



If you are also facing the same problem, this article will help you. So here we are explaining what the .AAE extension is and how to open .AAE files.

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What is .AAE file extension and how to open .AAE files?

In iPhone, an image is saved as IMG_12985.AAE, while in Windows system there are no such file extensions; then the file name is displayed as IMG_12985, with a blank icon.


What is the .AAE file extension?

In previous versions of iOS, when you edit a photo, the original image was automatically overwritten.

iOS 8 (and later) and macOS 10.10 (and later) offer .AAE files via the Photos app. The original version of an image is not changed when changes are made in Photos. These changes are saved as separate files with the .AAE extension. This implies that the modified files are saved separately and the original file remains the same in its original directory.



Now, when you open an edited photo (.JPG file), the Photos app will refer to the associated .AAE file and display the edited version on the screen.


All .AAE files are saved in XML and to open them you need to use a text editor, such as Notepad.

Final report: .AAE files are available from iOS 8 and macOS 10.10 and later.

Is it safe to delete .AAE files?

Many users are unaware of .AAE files and are often confused about whether to keep or delete them. Whenever you transfer an edited image to Windows 10 or an earlier version of macOS, the .AAE files will also be transferred along with the original image.


1. As explained above, you can delete .AAE files from your system without deleting the original version.

2. When you delete an .AAE file, any changes made to that image also disappear automatically.

3. Always make sure that a connection is maintained between the original file and the edited file.

4. If the original file is renamed or moved to another location, the connection will be lost. Hence, it is useless to keep the modified file stored on the system.

5. Then, every time you change the original name of a file, you make the same change to the changed file.

How to open .AAE files in Windows

Suppose you try to open an .AAE file in a text editor, such as Notepad or Apple TextEdit, only XML data will be displayed.


Whenever you are having trouble opening .AAE files in Windows, the points given below will help you to solve. You can view file extensions on a Windows PC by performing the following steps:



1. Upload i your files (images) on Dropbox.

2. Collect all uploaded photos in original size by logging into your Dropbox account.

3. Send an email to yourself with all these photos as attachments (or) post the edited images on Instagram / Facebook.

Final report: after emailing or posting the images to Facebook / Instagram, the original file size of the photos will be reduced automatically.

4. Launch a photo editor application and import photos. It is recommended to use a suitable photo editor app.

5. Now save the images, without making any changes.

Suggestion: make sure the selected program does not insert watermarks / comments on the image or crop / compress the original image quality.

We hope this guide has been helpful and you have an idea of what is the .AAE extension and how to open .AAE files. Also, if you have any questions / comments about this article, feel free to post them in the comment section.


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