Data inside Apple’s AAE files

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An AAE file is an XML text file saved next to your JPEG images or MOV videos that describe adjustments to that file. For instance, I have a “Slo-mo” video I took with my iPhone 6 Plus, and the AAE file looks like this:

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

All the interesting bits are in the opaque hex code inside the “data” tag. If you decode that as base64, you get a binary plist file, and converting that to ascii gives you this:

    slowMotion = {
        rate = "0.125";
        regions = (
                timeRange = {
                    duration = {
                        epoch = 0;
                        flags = 3;
                        timescale = 600;
                        value = 737;
                    start = {
                        epoch = 0;
                        flags = 1;
                        timescale = 600;
                        value = 268;

So there you go – you can probably edit that data and write it back after encoding it to base64.

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About rae

I'm a long-time Mac and iOS developer. I'm also a big fan of Ruby on Rails and relational databases. I tend to work remotely, in my basement with occasional trips to the office. I'm also a big videophile, both TV and film, and can't wait for a good, inexpensive home 4k solution.

4 comments on “Data inside Apple’s AAE files

  1. Doron

    Hi Rae,
    Stumbled on your post and was happy: I have an AAE file from an iPhone 6 (IOS 9) and I need to know its content. However while your method works for your file (I tried too…), it doesn’t for mine. So if I have a “data” tag with the info pasted below – how do I convert it to ASCII? What does this contain?


  2. EJ

    This is great! I have some AAE files that I want to examine further. I see the Base64 blocks in each, but I can’t quite figure out how to went from that to the ASCII file. I tried a few different things, but I came up against a wall. Can you describe the steps?

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