AIFF is short for Audio Interchange File Format, which is an audio format initially created by Apple Computer for storing and transmitting high-quality sampled audio data. It supports a variety of bit resolutions, sample rates, and channels of audio. This format is quite popular upon Apple platforms, and is commonly adopted in professional programs that handle digital audio waveforms.

It has been used as a standard audio format by the OMFI (Open Media Format Interchange) group for cross-platform media exchange, which contains Silicon Graphics, Avid Technology and others. AIFF files typically use the .AIF or. IEF extension. Although the AIFF format was developed by Apple, audio programs on both the Mac and PC can generally read the files. AIFF files are more widely used as .AIF on Windows systems.

This format is the result of a few meetings held with music developers over a period of ten months in 1987-1988. AIFF is an interchange format originally, though application developers should realize that it is quite flexible and can be also adopted as a data storage format. This format is very flexible, supporting to store monaural or multi-channel sampled sounds at all sorts of sample rates and sample widths.

AIFF contains a great variety of chunks, each with a header that offers technical information; text chunks as defined from the super type IFF format contain name, author, copyright, and annotation.

AIFF files have the similar size and quality with that of Windows WAVE files. As both AIFF and WAVE files can support CD quality audio, they can be burned onto an audio CD.

Mac-based professional digital audio recording systems and multimedia applications, including Macromedia Director, Adobe Premiere and Movie Player, support importing and exporting of AIFF files. Utilizing this format, audio can be stored at various sample rates as 16-bit or 8-bit mono or stereo.

The AIFF format does not enable to compress data so AIFF files are generally large. A 30-second stereo 16-bit, 44kHz (CD-quality) AIF file would be 5.4 MB. However, another format named AIFF-Compressed (AIFF-C or AIFC) supports to compress ratios as high as 6:1.

There are many programs that can be used to open AIFF files:
Windows operating system: Apple iTunes or QuickTime Player, Microsoft Windows Media Player, Roxio Creator 2010
Mac operating system: Apple iTunes or QuickTime Player, Microsoft Windows Media Player, Roxio Toast 10 Titanium