You may have seen a file with AAE extension when you connect your IOS devices to the PC. On opening them, windows gives an error message that says Windows cannot open the file extension. You will need a different application to open this type of file.
An AAE file is just an XML (extensive Markup Language) file that contains edits made to an image file on an Apple device. You will need a different application to open this file. This is why PCs pop-ups an error message when you try to open them.
Below, we have explained more about the AAE file and any queries users might have about the file extension. So, let us get right into it.
What is an AAE File?
The AAE extension stands for Apple Aperture Edits. When you edit an image on any Apple device, it creates an XML file with the extension AAE. The AAE file details on all the changes made to the image while editing. You can find files with AAE extensions mostly on Apple devices, especially on iOS 8 and above for iPhones, Mac OS 10.10 and more for MacBooks.
When you have an XML file with the AAE extension, users can revert any changes made to the image. In older devices, edits were made to a copy of original images. This was a problem because users were not able to roll-back specific changes made to the image.
AAE file fixed this issue by saving all the edits on XML format. The device only changes the values in the AAE file to roll-back any changes to the image.
The device saves the AAE files in the folder containing the image file with the same name and AAE extension. This is why you will see files with AAE extension corresponding to the actual image file.
Although Windows can recognize and open the image file, it cannot read the edits made to it. And hence, Windows cannot show any edits made to the file from an Apple device. You need to view the AAE file using a different application.
How to Open And Convert AAE File in Windows?
When you connect iOS device to the PC, you will see the image and the AAE file corresponding to it. Original image file does not have any edits made to it. All the edits data are on the file with AAE extention.
Open AAE file
File with AAE extension contains multiple lines of XML code. Your Apple device uses this code to add the edits made to the original image. You can open the AAE file with any source-code editor like VS code or Notepad++, or you can simply use Notepad to open this type of file.
- Right-click on the AAE file and select Open With.
- Click on Choose another file.
- Now, select Notepad or any source-code editor.
- The file should now open, displaying all the XML code inside the file.
Open Edited Image on PC
When you view an image in iOS device, the system checks the edits made to the image and displays the image with edits using the AAE file. However, PC cannot display the image with edits made to it. Therefore, it only displays the original image, the one without any edits.
This does not mean the hours you spent on editing is wasted. You can view the image along with edits on a PC by following steps we mentioned below in the article.
Before we start, remember that the file with AAE extension is not an edited image. It only contains data about the changes made to the image such as exposure, contrasts, saturation, etc. Therefore converting the file with AAE extension to JPEG format will not work.
Follow the steps below to access modified image file from iOS device in Windows.
- Download Snapseed or Darkroom from the Apple Store.
- Open the edited image in the application. The image will open with all the edits that you made previously.
- Export the image in without performing any further edits. The image file will now save creating a file with JPEG extension.
- Connect the iOS device to the PC to access the modified image file.
If the above method does not work, you can try uploading the image file to Google Drive or any other cloud storage. Now, download the image on your PC. The downloaded image should contain all the edits made.
Is It Safe to Delete an AAE file?
When you connect an iOS device to a PC, you may have seen the image file and another file with the same name but an AAE file extension. This AAE file contains edits made to an Image file. Once you delete the file, any changes/edits made to its corresponding image will be removed.
Depending on the changes you made to the image file, the AAE file may or may not be important. If you have worked hard on an image for it to look better, deleting the AAE file to that image will delete all your work.
Once you change the image, the iOS device will automatically create another file with the same name as the image but with the extension AAE. If you have not made any changes or if the changes are insignificant, you can delete the AAE files.
Is the AAE File a Virus?
The AAE file you find on most Apple devices is not a virus. It is an XML file that contains any edits made to an image file. However, malware from infected computers may affect the file when you connect the apple device to it.
To check this, you can check the file integrity using Windows Defender or any antivirus application.
I am a 72 yr old female who had a computer (all-be-it for the simple-minded) in the early 90’s – probably before you were born! By the year 2000 I was treading water and by now am clearly sinking in all this technology.
THANK YOU for writing this article to my understanding. I went into “Pictures” today, only to find the “aae” designation on photos, that are years old, for the first time. I can only surmise this is yet another little conspiracy cooked up by Apple and Microsoft. I prefer the K-I-S-S theory, however it just doesn’t apply to this aspect of life anymore!
Thank you so much for you kind words and I am glad that I could be of help.