What is .AAE file and should you delete it?

by Julie Splinters - -
12

Question

Issue: What is .AAE file and should you delete it?

Hello, I recently uploaded all my photos I had on my old iPhone to my Windows PC. I did use my phone to modify some of these pictures, so the .AAE files are included. However, I cannot view those files on Windows machine – do you know if it is possible at all? Thanks for the advice.

Solved Answer

.AAE is a file format created by Photos app on the iOS device and comprises of edit information about a particular .JPG file. Its main purpose is to transfer the edit information about the photo so that users could easily access the original version of the file if they would want so. .AAE are XML-based[1] files are used by iOS 8 + and OS X 10.10+ devices.

.AAE files are generally unique to Mac-based systems as they are created with the help of Photos app, although these files can also be copied to Windows or other operating systems. However, they are particularly confusing for Windows users, especially if they do not know what these files are used for.

As previously mentioned, AAE files hold file modification data, allowing the user to view its original form. Once copied from iOS or Mac device to Windows, however, these files appear without the extension and, as soon as users try to open them, they are presented with an error message

What is .AAE file and should you delete it?

The information held on the .AAE file can, in fact, be viewed via a text editor program, such as Notepad.[2] However, it brings no use for the user, as the data is not incorporated into the image. Thus, while you might be able to access the information on the file on older Mac OS X or iOS, as well as Windows operating systems, the modified version of the picture will not be accessible.

How can you open .AAE files or transfer them to another platform and retain the modifications on the image?

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AAE files cannot be opened on Windows

You cannot open .aae files on older Mac systems and Windows directly. However, there is a solution for this situation, and it can be easily solved. To open this file format and safely transfer the modified versions of the files, you will have to use your iPhone or Mac OS X/macOS first. There are several ways how to transfer the particular picture, which includes:

  1. Uploading the modified version of the photo on OneDrive or another hosting service.[3] Then, access the picture via your Windows or older Mac computer and download the modified version of it.
  2. Put the picture on the social media, such as Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Use another application on your iPhone to open the modified file and then save it. Transfer the file via the email or communications app.

Transfer .AAE files

Should I delete .AAE files?

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If you transferred the images from your iPhone to a Windows machine and you do not mind that modifications to those photos were not applied, you can safely delete .AAE files, they will not affect anything. However, be aware that if you delete or rename these files on your iPhone or Mac, you will not be able to retrieve these modifications.Should you delete .AAE files?

Note: if you renamed the .AAE file and still remember the original name, they will be in working order as soon as you rename them to default.

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About the author

Julie Splinters - Computer optimization specialist

When it comes to computer optimization, Julie Splinters is the expert. Whether it is a slow smartphone, Windows, Mac or Linux operating system, she will find a solution within minutes.

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