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How to unzip files on Mac easily and quickly

ZIP is a file archiving and data compression format that makes it easy to store and transport information. However, to view and use the files stored in the archive, you need to open ZIP files on Mac, that is, extract the files to a regular folder.

There are several ways to open zipped file on Mac, where Commander One is the most convenient one. In the following article we have gathered interesting information about ZIP archives as well as several ways on how to unzip files on Mac. Enjoy the reading.

File manager for Mac - Commander One

Table of contents

What is a ZIP file?

ZIP file is a common compression format used by various archivers. The ZIP extension was developed by PKWARE founder Phil Katz in 1989 specifically for use with PKZIP software. Basically, the archive is written in capital letters, this is due to the original limitation in the DOS system.

Such an archive may contain data with varying degrees of compression. The advantage of the file compression technology used by the ZIP format is that there is no loss of information. The archive contains both one and several files or directories, the most used compression algorithm is Deflate.

It is noteworthy that, if necessary, ZIP archives can be connected to the modules responsible for unzipping files on Mac, in this case, the user receives a single executable file bearing the EXE extension. Operating systems such as Windows, macOS and Linux, as well as free platforms, support the format normally.

The technology is generally recognized and is included in the TOP of the most popular archiving methods; it is available for an impressive number of applications that perform backup, compression, and data exchange functions. Even taking into account more innovative technologies, at the present time the described archive format is still relevant.

How to unzip files on Mac computer

If you receive an archive, you might be wondering how to open a ZIP file on Mac to see what it is and extract the internal components of the archive. No more questions, it turns out that opening a ZIP file on Mac is very easy thanks to the built-in archive utility. Let’s take a look at how to open ZIP files on Mac using the Archive Utility:


Navigate to the destination folder where your ZIP file is located.

destination folder
The Archive Utility is integrated into the Mac by default. So, you do not need to search for it and open it in advance.
Double-click this zipped file to unzip a file on Mac.

The archiving utility built into macOS will open the ZIP archive and extract the files, usually placed in a folder with the same name as the ZIP archive, without the .zip file extension.

destination folder
Also to unzip files Mac users need to right-click the .zip archive and choose Open from the context menu. In addition, if you've installed a third-party unzip Mac utility, you can select Open With and select a different archiving tool.

If you are a regular command line user, you may find it convenient to open zipped file on Mac via Terminal. Since the unzip command is available in the Terminal to unpack archive ZIP files.

  1. Launch the Terminal application. You can find it by going to Finder> Applications> Utilities> Terminal.
  2. Move the zipped file to your desktop. If not, you need to enter the location in the Terminal too. To do this, use the cd command to navigate to the folder that contains the ZIP folder.
  3. Enter unzip
  4. Press Enter to unzip ZIP file on Mac. As with double-clicking, an uncompressed copy of the archive is created in the current folder.

Advantages of using a third-party software for opening a ZIP file on a Mac

It is undoubtedly much more convenient to have a built-in tool that allows you to perform compression or decompression tasks. But the built-in Mac unzip tool is not ideal. It has some very important disadvantages that are very inconvenient when it comes to productivity. First of all, the disadvantage is noted when it comes to working with different file extensions, since they are not fully compatible. This is undoubtedly a big problem in this regard.

For now, the native zipping program for Mac only unpacks files that have the .zip extension. This is a serious flaw that forces you to use third-party tools that are open to other extensions. It is true that ZIP files are the most common ones you find on a daily basis, but in some situations you may have to work with other files and this is where you have an important issue that you run into not only how to unzip a file on Mac but also how to deal with other archive formats.

powerful ZIP extractor

For instance, Commander One – powerful file manager as well as ZIP extractor for Mac.Thanks to this unzip for Mac solution you can not only on Mac but also pack files and folders into different archives, go through the content of the archive without extracting it. Besides that, you do not need to open Terminal if you wish to protect your archive with a password as this feature is already implemented in Commander One. Besides that, the app can boast about other handy features, such as support for online connections, built-in Terminal, work with MTP and iOS devices and many more.


ZIP files are archives, which are a compressed folder with multiple files, just a folder, or a single file. They are common when you download something from the Internet. Previously, ZIP format was limited only to the Windows OS world, but now such archives are often created and used in macOS. In this article we have gathered useful information about how to unzip a file on Mac as well as other interesting facts. Hope you found it rather informative.

Frequently Asked Questions

To unzip files on Mac you need to double-click the file. Thanks to the built-in unzip utility for Mac, you can seamlessly handle ZIP files without installing any third-party apps.
There is no unzip button on your Mac computer. If you need to open zipped files on Mac you simply need to double-click the zipped folder.
You can find an impressive list of Mac ZIP extractor tools. Choosing the best unzip for Mac is not difficult. Think about all the features you may need and expect from this tool, take into account the price and decide which one will fit your requirements. However, we recommend Commander One that perfectly combines all the necessary features and supports a wide range of archive formats.

There are several reasons why ZIP files cannot be opened correctly:

  • If they are not properly downloaded;
  • Incomplete downloads;
  • Inconsistency in network connection.
You can use the context menu to open multiple ZIP files on Mac, double-click option or third-party Mac OS unzip tools.
Right-click the zipped folder or file you'd like to unzip. Select Open with. Select Archive Utility. Or you can double-click the folder to unzip folder on Mac.

Commander One

This dual panel file manager for Mac is fully compatible with MacOS 10.12 and later. Requires 58.68MB of free space, latest version 3.3(3508). Released 4 Sep, 2021.

4.5 rank based on 90+ users, Reviews (15)
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