Compressed files take up less disk space than uncompressed files, so compressing is useful for making backup copies of your data or for sending information over the internet. Compress or uncompress files and folders on Mac
The allure of zipped files is simple: they allow you to directly send and receive files, or batches of files, without encroaching on file size limits. Often, email providers have limits on how large attachments can be. Zip files make it easy to bypass that limitation without sending multiple emails.
Zipping files can also be useful for compressing files for storage on your Mac, or an external hard drive.
How do you open a zip file on a Mac? Or what’s the best way to do that? There are, of course, several methods for creating archives, such as built-in utilities, Terminal, and third-party apps. Below, we are going to explore how to unzip files on Mac, how to create zip archives, and showcase some archivers that make it really easy to zip and manage zipped files.
What is a Zip file?
A zip file is a lossless way to compress and archive files and folders. You often encounter zip files in emails, as mentioned, but also when downloading from the internet. If you’ve ever downloaded an app or extension directly from a developer website, chances are it was a zipped file.
It uses the ‘.zip’ filename, and its icon is typically a folder with a zipper running up the middle. Zipping files is a time-tested method, and is largely unchanged. Its use-cases have expanded, though. We use zip files for sending large files and bundles of PDF or text files, but it’s now used as a method to send large folders of images as well as for downloading applications or games from the internet.
How to zip files on a Mac – Compress or uncompress files and folders on Mac
Before we talk about some special apps and tools, we need to mention built-in macOS’s utility that allows you to compress and decompress files and folders. Your Mac’s simple Archive Utility, stored in the Applications > Utilities folder, is a simple, direct way to zip files. Its functionality is limited, but it’s a decent option for quick zipping and unzipping of files and folders when you need to open zip files someone has sent you.
Here’s how to zip a file on Mac with the Archive Utility:
On your Mac, do any of the following:
- Compress a file or folder: Control-click it or tap it using two fingers, then choose Compress from the shortcut menu.If you compress a single item, the compressed file has the name of the original item with the .zip extension. If you compress multiple items at once, the compressed file is called Archive.zip.
- Uncompress (expand) an item: Double-click the .zip file.