What is a zip file?
Sending big files can take a long time. Zip files are a way to compress your data to make it more compact and quicker to transfer. Compression can temporarily remove redundancies in the files, which can then be recreated (lossless). Compression can also permanently remove unnecessary bits, albeit at the cost of a perfect replica (lossy). Another popular form of compressed, or archived, data is RAR.
When you download a compressed file, you will need to extract the contents — or “unzip” them — in order to access them.
How to create a zip file on a Mac
Creating a zip file on a Mac is quick and easy, as MacOS includes a built-in tool called Archive Utility for compressing and unzipping files. You don’t need a third-party utility.
Zip a single file
Right-click or press Control + Tap on a file you want to compress and select Compress [File Name] on the pop-up menu.
As shown below, a new zip file appears in the same folder, while the original file remains.
Zip multiple files
Step 1: Hold down the mouse button or trackpad to draw a box around all the files you want to compress. Alternatively, press the Command button while tapping the trackpad or while pressing the mouse button to select specific files.
Step 2: Right-click or press Control + Tap and select Compress on the pop-up menu.
A new, single archive will appear in the folder. As before, the original files remain intact.
Step 3: To rename the default Archive.zip file name, simply right-click or press Control + Tap on the archive and select Rename. This is useful if you need to create multiple zip for mac files or to make it easier for the recipient to know what’s in the archive.
How to unzip a file
Unzipping a zip file is about as easy as creating one. Simply double-click on the file, and it automatically unzips.
Alternatively, right-click or press Control + Tap on a Zip file, hover over Open With on the pop-up menu, and then choose Archive Utility. You can also choose to use a third-party unzipping program, like The Unarchiver, if it’s not set as the default tool.
MacOS will automatically create a new folder containing the decompressed files in the same location as the zip file.
Is compression not working?
If you can’t successfully compress files, your file permissions could be the problem. Here’s a possible fix:
- Right-click or Control + Tap on the file in question and select Get Info on the pop-up menu.
- Select the arrow next to Sharing & Permissions to expand this option, as shown above.
- Ensure that your specific account is logged on as an administrator and that your permissions are Read & Write or Read Only. With any other setting, you may not be able to compress the file.
If you’re not signed in as an administrator, click the Lock icon and log in with administrator information. After that, change the permissions to Read & Write or Read Only and try to compress the file again.
Sending compressed files to iOS/iPadOS
If you use both MacOS and iOS/iPadOS for file management, you may be concerned about sending a compressed file to your phone or tablet. After all, you probably suspect it’ll take additional effort to uncompress files.
Fortunately, there is an easy option to uncompress a file in iOS and iPadOS after you send it.
Step 1: Locate the archive in the Files app.
Step 2: Long-press on the file and select Uncompress on the pop-up menu. Your file will uncompress immediately.
Compression is a handy technique if you want to share large files over the internet or running out of storage on your device. When you compress a file, unnecessary elements are removed from it to make its size smaller than the original form. Zip is one of the most commonly used file archive formats because of its universal presence and ease of compression.
If you want to create a zip file but don’t know where to begin from, here is a guide on zipping and unzipping files on Windows and Mac operating systems.
How To Zip A File In Windows 10? [Using In-built Zip Tool]
To zip a file in Windows 10, perform the following steps:
- Go to File Explorer and select the file/folder you want to zip.
- Right-click and under the ‘Send to’ option, choose ‘Compressed (zipped) folder’ option.
- You will be prompted to enter the name of zip file or folder.
- Enter the name and press enter to create a zip file.
Using Third-party zip program
Besides using the native Windows zipping tool, you can also use third-party file zipping software like WinZip. There are multiple options available out there. If you are confused between choosing the best, you can check out our list of best file compression software.
How To Unzip A File In Windows 10?
After zipping a file, now you want to unzip it and view the contents of the file/folder then you need to unzip it.
To unzip a file in Window, you simply need to double-click on the file. Windows operating system will automatically unzip the file for you. If you want to unzip a folder, right-click and select the ‘Extract all’ option to view its contents.
How To Zip A File In Mac?
Similar to Windows, macOS also has in-built zip tool that makes it easy for users to zip a file. There are following steps to zip a file in macOS:
- Select the file or folder you want to zip.
- Right-click and select the ‘Compress “file_name” option.
- A zip file with the same name will be created.
- To compress multiple files, select all the files and follow the above steps.
How To Unzip A File In Mac?
Unzipping a file in a Mac device is a fairly easy process. Similar to Windows, you need to double click on the file to decompress it and view its content. You can also unzip a file by selecting the zip file > right-click > Open With > Archive Utility.
Note: Archive Utility is the default zip software in Mac devices that zips and unzips files/folders.
Zip, Unzip Files Online
In a situation where your operating system’s default zipping software fails to work, you can install third-party software or visit websites that compress files. There are many websites where you can zip, unzip files online. You just need to upload the file you want to compress and select the format in which you want it to compress. Many online file compression websites also offer advanced tools for file compression that you can use.
How to Zip a File on Mac
People compress or “zip” electronic files for different reasons – to make them easier to transport electronically, to organize their backups, or to save device storage space, for example.
Whatever your use case, the good news is that there’s no need to download additional software to compress files in macOS. That’s because Apple includes a built-in ability to zip files on your Mac, allowing you to quickly compress single files, groups of files, or entire folders. Keep reading to learn how.