What Are AIFF, AIF, and AIFC Files?

These are audio files that might or might not use compression, depending on the format

What to Know

  • AIF/AIFF files are Audio Interchange File Format files.
  • Open one with VLC or iTunes.
  • Convert to MP3, WAV, FLAC, etc. with FileZigZag.

This article explains what AIFF, AIF, and AIFC files are, how to open one, and how to convert one to a different format, like MP3.

What Are AIFF, AIF, and AIFC Files?

Files that end in the .AIF or .AIFF file extension are Audio Interchange File Format files. This format was developed by Apple in 1988 and is based on the Interchange file format (.IFF).

Unlike the common MP3 audio format, AIFF and AIF files are uncompressed. This means that while they retain a higher quality sound than MP3, they do take up significantly more disk space—generally 10 MB for every minute of audio.

Windows software typically append the AIF file extension to these files, while macOS users are more likely to see them end with AIFF.

One common variant of this format that does utilize compression, and therefore uses less disk space, is called AIFF-C or AIFC, which stands for Compressed Audio Interchange File Format. They typically use the AIFC extension.

AIFF Files

Some AIF files could instead be information files used by a Symbian application. These are used by the Symbian OS as needed, so they're not opened manually.

How to Open AIFF & AIF Files

You can play AIFF and AIF files with Windows Media Player, iTunes, QuickTime, VLC, and probably most other multi-format media players. Mac computers can open AIFF and AIF files with those Apple programs, too, as well as with Roxio Toast.

Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad should be able to play AIFF/AIF files natively without an app. A file converter (more on these below) may be needed if you can't play one of these files on an Android or other non-Apple mobile devices.

How to Convert AIF & AIFF Files

If you already have iTunes on your computer, you can use it to convert an AIFF or AIF file to other formats like MP3. Just right-click the file while it's open in iTunes, and go to File > Convert > Create MP3 Version.

iTunes Create MP3 Version

Similar to other file conversion tools, making an MP3 from an AIF file in iTunes won't delete the original. Both files, with the same name, will appear in your list of songs after the conversion.

You can also convert AIFF/AIF to WAV, FLAC, AAC, AC3, M4A, M4R, WMA, RA, and other formats using a free file converter. DVDVideoSoft's Free Studio is a great free audio converter, but if your file is relatively small, you can probably get away with an online converter like FileZigZag or Zamzar.

How to Open & Convert AIFC Files

Files that utilize the compressed version of Audio Interchange File Format probably have the .AIFC file extension. They have CD-like audio quality and are similar to WAV files, except that they use compression (like ULAW, ALAW, or G722) to lower the overall size of the file.

Like AIFF and AIF files, AIFC files can open with Apple's iTunes and QuickTime software, as well as with Windows Media Player, VLC, Adobe Audition, vgmstream, and likely some other media players.

If you need to convert an AIFC file to a different audio format like MP3, WAV, AIFF, WMA, M4A, etc., there are several audio converters to choose from.

Many of those converters require that you download the program to your computer in order to save the AIFC file to a new format. However, just like with the uncompressed Audio Interchange File Format we talk about above, AIFC files can also be converted online with FileZigZag and Zamzar.

Still Can't Open the File?

If these programs aren't opening your file, there's a good chance that you don't really have a file with any of these file extensions. Read the extension again and make sure you aren't mixing it up with another similarly named suffix.

Some file extensions look very much alike, but that doesn't say much for the file formats; they could actually be completely unrelated and therefore incompatible with the programs listed above. For example, AIT, AIR, and AFI could easily be misread as AIFF or AIF file. However, you can't open files with those three extensions in the same way that you can the other two.

The same can be said for many other file extensions, like IAF (Outlook Internet Account file), FIC (WinDev Hyper File Database), and AFF (Spellcheck Dictionary Description file).

If your file doesn't work as described on this page, double-check the file extension and then research the true suffix to learn more about the format and see which programs are able to open or convert the file.

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