Explanation of AAE files and instructions for opening or converting them

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Explanation of AAE files and instructions for opening or converting them – If you have ever encountered the issue of not being able to open an AAE file attachment in an email, you are not alone. Opening AAE files can be a challenging task, but this guide aims to provide you with a clear understanding of what they are and how to access them.

Have you attempted to open your AAE files on a Windows system, only to encounter an error? Windows will display an error message if you try to open these files directly. This is because AAE files are XML-based photo formats specific to iOS devices. However, there are a few techniques you can employ to view these files on your PC. Before delving into those methods, let us delve deeper into the nature of AAE files.

Explanation of AAE files

What is the origin of AAE Files and how are they created?

The AAE file extension is used to represent Apple Aperture Edits. It is generated when an image is edited on an Apple device. This file is in Extensive Markup Language (XML) format and contains comprehensive metadata about the modifications made to the image. It encompasses all the details of the editing process. AAE files can be found on various Apple devices, ranging from iPhones to MacBooks.

One of the advantages of AAE XML files is that they allow users to undo any edits made to a photo. In the past, older versions of iPhones used to create a copy of the original photo and perform edits on that copy. This method preserved the original file, but it lacked the ability to revert changes. Once the copy was edited, there was no way to go back if you changed your mind about a particular modification. However, with AAE files being saved in XML format, the device can easily revert any edits made to the image.

These AAE files are stored in the same folder as the output image. On newer Apple devices, the original image is typically in HEIC format. The AAE file will have the same name as the JPG or HEIC file, but with a different file extension. However, it’s important to note that a Windows device cannot open or read the AAE file, thus unable to access the edits made to the image.

Instructions for Opening AAE Files on Windows

The AAE file comprises XML code lines that provide information about the modifications made to images. Apple devices possess the capability to interpret this code and apply the corresponding image edits. A variety of source-code editors, including Notepad++ or VS Code for Windows, Linux, Chrome, Android, or macOS, can effortlessly open AAE files. Additionally, the code can be viewed using the Microsoft Notepad application or any other text editor.

  • When you transfer the AAE file to your Windows PC, right-click on it and select Open With.


  • Choose More apps.


  • From the list of offered apps, choose Notepad and press OK.


  • Notepad will open the file and display the XML code so you can view it.


Opening the XML file serves no practical purpose unless you intend to modify the code directly. The AAE file, utilized by the Apple Photos app on iPhone or MacBook, operates in the background, eliminating the need for manual access. As long as the AAE file remains in the same folder as the output photo, the Apple device will seamlessly apply the desired edits to the image.

Converting the AAE file extension to JPEG or JPG format is ineffective since the AAE file does not contain the actual image. It solely stores information regarding the applied edits, such as contrast, saturation, brightness, or exposure. The only file that can be viewed as an image is the original photo captured on your iOS device.

How to Open the Image File on Windows

To view the original photo that’s associated with its AAE file, you’ll have to transfer your files via USB. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your PC and copy all the photos you’re interested in. They will be automatically converted from the HEIC format to the JPG format, which Windows can read.

How to Open the Image on Windows by Using Google Drive

If you prefer not to transfer files between drives, an alternative option is to utilize cloud storage. By uploading the images to platforms such as Google Drive or Dropbox, you can conveniently access them from any device.

Alternatively, you may choose to upload the images to Facebook or Instagram and subsequently download them from there. Nevertheless, it is important to note that these social networks compress the size and quality of photos to optimize them for web viewing.

Should AAE Files Be Deleted?

Your iOS device will automatically scan the AAE file and apply the edits to an image when you open it. However, in order for this to function properly, the AAE file must have the same file name as the original image. Your iPhone or Mac will automatically assign the file name to match the image you were editing. If you decide to rename the AAE file, the edits will not be applied to the photo you are attempting to open.

If you choose to delete the AAE file on your iOS device, please be aware that any changes made to the corresponding image will be lost. It is ultimately your decision to determine the importance of the edits and whether the AAE files should be saved. Losing the AAE file after spending hours enhancing an image is certainly not ideal.

If you do not make any alterations to the photos taken with your iOS device, there will be no AAE files generated. Fortunately, there is no need to be concerned about AAE files taking up excessive storage space on your iOS device, as they occupy minimal storage capacity and can be retained without issue.

Are AAE Files Safe?

Numerous individuals who have not come across AAE files often mistake them for being associated with a virus. However, these files are commonly found on various Apple devices, and it is important to understand that they are secure. Nevertheless, it is crucial to note that AAE files can also be affected by malware originating from infected devices. Therefore, it is advisable to utilize an antivirus program to ensure the constant safety of your device.

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