Anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templates have been intensively investigated during the past decades and have meanwhile been widely applied through both sacrificial and non-sacrificial pathways. In numerous non-sacrificial applications, the AAO membrane is maintained as part of the obtained composite materials; hence, the template structure and topography determine to a great extent the potential applications. Through-hole isotropic AAO features nanochannels that promote transfer of matter, while anisotropic AAO with barrier layer exhibits nanocavities suitable as independent and homogenous containers. By combining the two kinds of AAO membranes with diverse organic and inorganic materials through physical interactions or chemical bonds, AAO composites are designed and applied in versatile fields such as catalysis, drug release platform, separation membrane, optical appliances, sensors, cell culture, energy, and electronic devices. Therefore, within this review, a perspective on exhilarating prospect for complementary advancement on AAO composites both in preparation and application is provided.