AAE, Sidecar Image Edit File (.aae)

The AAE Data file format

AEE is the file extension of image edits done in the Photos app that can be found on iOS devices such as the iPhone or iPad. They are used by iOS 8 and newer versions, as well as OS X 10.10 and newer versions. The file is always accompanying the JPG image file the edits were applied to. The purpose of AAE files is to transfer the image edits from the iOS device to other systems using the Mac OS.

Technical details of AAE files

As stated above, the AAE file only contains the image edits, saved in the XML format, and not the actual image data. Likewise, when transferring a JPG image from an iOS device, there will be no edits visible as they are stored in the separate AAE file and not the JPG image itself. The Photos app uses the respective AAE file when it is prompted to open an edited image. Deleting the AAE file will get rid of all edits but leave the image file intact, hence why the information inside is regarded as non-destructive. Since the data inside the file is saved in XML, any text editor can open and display the information.

More information about the AAE file format

File extension .aae
File category Data
Associated programs Apple Photos (Mac)
Apple Text Edit (Mac)
Microsoft Notepad (Windows)
Useful links More information on AAE from Apple
Developer Apple