Zipping files on Mac is one of the simplest ways to free up storage, secure sensitive files, and send groups of files to friends and coworkers. In this article, we’ll walk you through zipping files on Mac that you need to send out or unzipping files that you received. We’ll also cover what to do in a situation where the standard Mac tools for compression aren’t working as they should.
How To Zip Files On Mac
Zipping and unzipping files is a built-in feature on your Mac thanks to the Archive Utility app. On Windows, you typically need a third-party app for the job, but every Mac has this feature built-in, making it a super simple process.
First, navigate to the file you want to zip in the Finder app. Then right-click/control-click on that file to bring up the context menu.
From that menu, choose Compress. This will instantly create a zipped version of the file in the same folder as the unzipped version of the file.
And that’s it! To compress multiple files into one zipped file, just select all of them at once before choosing the Compress option. When you do this, the zipped file will be called “Archive.zip”.
How To Unzip Files On Mac
Unzipping a zipped file on Mac is (usually) just as easy as zipping one. First, navigate to the file’s location in Finder. It should look like a piece of paper with a zipper going through it.
To unzip it, just double-click it. All of the compressed files should instantly appear in the same folder unzipped.
Alternative Method: The Unarchiver
If you run into an error when trying to unzip a file, such as “Operation not permitted” or “Decompression failed”, this most likely means that the zipped file is using a compression format that the Mac Archive Utility app doesn’t support. Though this isn’t too common, it does happen from time to time.
That’s where The Unarchiver comes in. It’s a free app that most Mac users end up downloading at some point or another to fill in the gaps when the Archive Utility fails. You can find this app for free (no ads or anything) on the Mac App Store.
Similar to the Archive Utility, The Unarchiver doesn’t do a whole lot. Opening the app doesn’t reveal many options, and it’s not a tool that you’re going to be using frequently. It’s just a simple app that sits in the background of your Mac for whenever you need it.
After you’ve installed the app through the Mac App Store, you can use it by navigating to the file you want to unzip and right-clicking that file.
From the right-click menu, select Open With and click The Unarchiver from the available options. If you don’t see it listed after you’ve installed the app, just click Other… and choose The Unarchiver from your list of applications.
The first time you use The Unarchiver from the right-click menu, a pop-up will appear asking you for permission to extract the file. Just click Extract to extract the file. From here on out, you should be able to extract any file without having to click the Extract button again.
And that’s it! A failsafe way to unzip any file, even if your Mac can’t do it by default.
What is a zipped file?
A zip file is a version of a file or group of files that have been reduced (or compressed) into a single file. This is helpful when you need to send someone several files at once without using a folder (like when emailing a batch of files). Zipped files also reduce file size, which is helpful when moving files or videos around, and they can be encrypted, which is helpful when sending sensitive files over the internet.
I can’t unzip a compressed file on Mac?
If you can’t unzip a compressed file on your Mac because the Archive Utility doesn’t support the file format, there are free apps like The Unarchiver that can be used with most file formats.
If you can’t unzip a compressed file on your Mac because you don’t have the right permissions, right-click the file, click Get Info. In the pop-up that appears, click the triangle beside Security & Permissions: to expand the permissions options, and in the Privilege column, click the permissions beside your username and change them to Read & Write. You may have to enter your admin password to do so.
How do I change my zipped file preferences?
If you would like to set advanced preferences for your zipped file functions on Mac, open up Spotlight by pressing command and spacebar, type “Archive Utility”, and press enter. In the menu bar at the top of your Mac screen, you will now see Archive Utility next to the Apple logo. Click Archive Utility in the menu bar and choose Preferences to edit your zipped file settings.