The AAE file type, with its roots in the world of Apple, is a relatively modern development associated with image editing. These files, which bear the .AAE extension, emerged alongside iOS 8 and OS X 10.10. They represent a method of non-destructive editing for photographs. The evolution of this file type correlates with the growing importance placed on digital photography and the demand for reversible edits.
How AAE Files Work
AAE files are XML-based sidecar files that store editing instructions for corresponding JPEG images captured on Apple devices. When a photo is edited on an iOS device, the changes are saved in an AAE file, while the original JPEG remains unaltered. This strategy allows users to revert to the original image at any point, thus preserving the integrity of the original capture.
While AAE files are native to Apple's ecosystem, they can be read by software that supports this non-destructive editing process. This includes Apple's own Photos app as well as certain third-party applications that have adopted compatibility with the AAE format. However, the AAE files are often ignored by non-Apple operating systems, causing potential issues in cross-platform image editing and sharing.
Alternatives to AAE Files
For users operating outside the Apple ecosystem or looking for broader compatibility, various alternatives exist. Adobe's XMP sidecar files offer a similar non-destructive editing process, widely accepted across various platforms and professional photo-editing software. DNG files, yet another alternative, combine raw image data with an embedded XMP sidecar, allowing for extensive editing while preserving the original image data.
With the increasing prevalence of multi-platform environments, the importance of universally compatible non-destructive file types is evident. The creation and adoption of AAE files highlight the continuous evolution to meet this demand, ensuring that image integrity and flexibility in editing are maintained.