Open AAE File

Information, tips and instructions

AAE File Format

The AAE file is a text-based Apple XML property list (PLIST) document that describes all editing operations made on an image or video and effects/filters that have been applied to it. The name of each AAE file matches the name of the respective original JPG image or MOV video. The original photographs or videos remain intact. If there is no editing done and no effects/filters are applied, no AAE file is created. When images and videos are transferred to the computer (for example, by image capture), their sidecar AAE files are also transferred.

Below is an example of AAE file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">
[encoded editing data]

Currently, Photos in iOS 8 or later and Photos on Mac OS are the only applications that supports the AAE sidecar format. That means that on PC, AAE files are useless and can be deleted unless you plan to further transfer to another Mac or iOS device. However, AAE content (XML code) can be examined with any text editor. On the iOS device deleting AAE files will delete all edits, filters and/or applied effects and the images/videos will remain in their original state.

Below is a list of fields in a typical AAE file:

  • adjustmentData. Encoded data about all filters, effects applied to the image. Also contains crops, rotations and all other edits. This data could only be read by Apple native software which includes Photos on iOS and Mac OS devices.
  • adjustmentFormatIdentifier. Format of the file to which AAE file apples.
  • adjustmentFormatVersion. Version of the AAE file format.
  • adjustmentTimestamp. Time when AAE file was created.
  • adjustmentEditorBundleID. Photos app bundle identifier.