How to Unzip Files

How to Unzip Files from Your Computer or Devices

File compression is extremely common in 2022 because it allows you to send large files in very small packages. This is commonly referred to as a “zipping a file”, yet despite this being common, a lot of people do not know how to unzip a file.

And that’s because it can be a slightly different process depending on the device you are using. The good news is that regardless of the device, the process is pretty simple.

Today, I will cover how to unzip files on multiple devices and operating systems.

What Is A Zipped File?

Have you ever tried to send someone a large file in an email?

If so, you were probably told you needed to compress the file or zip it. The large file itself is still intact, but it is in a much more compact form that is easy to move around. That’s exactly what zipping a file means.

Once the file is delivered, it is still zipped. The user must decompress the file, or unzip it for it to be usable. Although there are some cases where a zipped file can’t be used, it’s quite rare.

Let’s take a look at how to unzip files across multiple devices and OS.

How to Unzip Files

Method 1: Windows

Zipping and unzipping files in windows is really easy as it is built into the OS. You won’t need any other tools, but they do exist.

Locate the zipped file within your computer. Click on the file once. You will now notice an extract option at the top of the window. Click on the Extract option.

Extract Option

Click on the Extract All option.

Extract All

A small pop-up will appear asking the location you want to send the unzipped file. Choose a location on your PC and click on the “Extract” button.

Extract Button

The file will become unzipped in the specified location.

Method 2: Mac OS

Similar to Windows, Macs can also compress or uncompress files without any additional tools. And it’s even easier than Windows. Also, just like Windows, software does exist that you can use but are unnecessary.

Locate the zipped file on your Mac. Double click the file. The Archive Utility tool will automatically unzip the files.

Alternatively, you can also CMD-click, or right-click, the file and choose to open the file. As long as the Archive Utility tool is set as the default, it will uncompress the file and open it.

If not, you can choose the “Open With” option and select the Archive Utility tool.

It’s really that easy.

Method 3: Linux

Unlike both Windows and Mac, Linux does not natively support the unzip function. However, it’s pretty easy to add it in a few lines of code. That said, the command changes depending on what you are using.

To install the unzip function on Ubuntu and Debian, enter the following code:

sudo apt install unzip

If you are using CentOS or Fedora, use the following line of code:

sudo yum install unzip

After this, you can now use the Unzip function within Linux. If you would like to unzip a file within the same directory, all you need to do is enter the following:


Another useful command is to unzip the latest file:


There are other unzip commands you can utilize, but the above two are the simplest.

Method 4: Android Devices

Android devices are no strangers to zipped files. As you can probably already guess, there are multiple phone apps that can help you manage zipped files on your Android device. Let’s look at the most popular option, Files by Google.

Once the app is installed, open it.

With the app open, click on the Browse option at the bottom. And use this to travel to the folder that contains the zipped file. Once there, select the zipped file and a small pop-up window will appear.

Click on the Extract option.

It will show you a preview of the file. There will also be a checkbox that will delete the .zip file after it has been extracted. You may check the box if you want.

After that, click on the Done option, and the files will be extracted and saved within the same folder as the .zip file. That’s it.

There are actually a crazy amount of file managers and zip file apps for Android devices. This is just the most popular option with over 1 billion downloads.

Method 5: iPhone/iPad

Similar to Android, there are a ton of apps that can handle .zip files on iPhone. As long as you are running iOS 11 or later, you will have the Files app installed on your device by default.

If you deleted it, just download it again.

This section applies to both iPhones and iPads.

Note: If you are still using an older model, you will need to use the iCloud Drive app or an alternative off the store. It’s a bit different but still intuitive.

Open the Files app and locate the zipped file on your device. Simply tap the zipped file and a new folder will be created and contain all of the unzipped files.

That’s it.

Does Zipping a File Lower the Quality?

You may be afraid that a stylish photo will lose some of its quality or a file just won’t work after being zipped, but fear not, that’s not the case.

No file will ever suffer from being zipped. When a file is unzipped, that file is an exact duplicate of the original byte for byte. Therefore, there is no loss in quality regardless of the file type.

And you can send multiple files in one zipped folder. Again, there is no quality loss for compressing a single or group of files.

This is why .zip files are the most common form of compression used today.

Is It Worth Using A Dedicated Zipping Application?

Regardless of what device you use (minus Linux), there is typically a default option for zipping and unzipping files. It’s a very standard thing nowadays. That said, there are a ton of premium and free options available.

For example, WinZip is a premium compression software that you can try for free. It has a ton of extra features that go way outside of what someone looking to zip or unzip a regular file needs, but there are cases where you may want a premium tool.

Especially if the file contains important data, you may want to encrypt it. However, this isn’t necessary for the average user.

Thus, I always recommend using the default option, or a free alternative.

Send and Recieve .zip Files Regardless of Your Device

In today’s internet-driven world, sending files between devices is common and for many, is a daily activity. The good news is regardless of what device or OS you use, you can safely send files to anyone on any device.

They will have access to free tools they can use to unzip the files without fail.

How often do you deal with .zip files? Do you use tools outside of the default tools, and if so, why?

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