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How to Unzip Files on Mac Easily and Quickly

When it comes to how to unzip files on Mac, there are several ways to get the job done. In this article, we have gathered the most common solutions for unzipping files on Mac, as well as interesting information about ZIP archives.

Top choice
Commander One
4.7 Rank based on 889+ users, Reviews(524)
Let's find best way how to unzip files on Mac easily.

ZIP is a file archiving and data compression format that makes it easy to store and transport information. 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.

The unpacking process on macOS devices is quite straightforward, there is the built-in archive utility Mac users can rely on, as well as dedicated apps. Below, we'll look at how to unzip files on a Mac and review some of the solutions to help you manage zipped files.

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.

A ZIP file can upload files of any format and size.

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:

You can customize archiving just the way you need it.
Navigate to the destination folder where your ZIP file is located.
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.

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.

The Terminal can be found in the Launchpad or by Quick Search.
Launch the Terminal application. You can find it by going to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
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.
Enter unzip
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.

With one click, you can select any third-party program and open the file.

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. And that's where a reliable Mac OS unzip solution comes in handy.

Unzipping Files on Mac: Third-Party Apps

Below we list the best archiving software for Mac that you can use to compress or decompress files.

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Top Features
Commander One
StuffIt Expander
File Preview
File Preview
Customizable Hotkeys
Customizable Hotkeys
File Protection
File Protection
Drag and Drop
Drag and Drop
Integration with Cloud Services
Integration with Cloud Services

Commander One

Commander One
4.7 Rank based on 889 + users Reviews(524)
Requirements: macOS 10.13
Version: v3.7(3831), Released 25 Sep, 2023 Release notes
Category: Utilities

Being a powerful file manager and ZIP extractor for Mac, Commander One allows you to not only open .zip on Mac but also pack files and folders into different archives, and go through the content of the archive without extracting it. With this unzip for Mac solution, you do not need to open Terminal if you wish to protect your archive with a password as this feature is already implemented.

Besides that, the app can boast other handy features, such as support for online connections, built-in Terminal, work with MTP and iOS devices and many more.

Free dual panel file manager for Mac.

Key Features:

  • Comes with a dual-panel interface
  • Convenient toggling option to display hidden files
  • The ability to set up hotkeys for any action
  • Work with .zip, .rar, .tbz, .tgz, .7z files.

icon pros Pros

  • Built-in search function
  • Supports many archive formats
  • Work with both local and remote drives
  • Allows searching with Spotlight.

icon cons Cons

  • To enjoy advanced features, you need to upgrade to the PRO version.


Most likely, you have come across WinZip, an all-in-one utility for creating archives and managing compressed files. It supports over 17 common formats. WinZip archiver provides the ability to archive files by drag and drop and allows users to share files directly with cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive right from the application.

WinZip is a trialware file archiver and compressor for Windows and macOS.

Key Features:

  • Integration with cloud services
  • Easy and fast unzipping of any compressed files
  • Allows extracting selective files and modifying existing archives
  • Protects compressed files with AES encryption.

icon pros Pros

  • Support for common archive formats
  • Works with Windows, macOS, iOS, Android devices
  • Easy transferring of files between different platforms.

icon cons Cons

  • It's not available for free.


If you are wondering how to unzip RAR files on Mac, WinRAR handles this with ease. WinRAR is one of the widely-used file archiving utilities for Windows. It is also compatible with Mac and Linux, however, WinRAR products for these operating systems are available in the command line. Using WinRAR, you can quickly and easily create and unpack .rar, .zip files, as well as other popular archive formats like .tar, .jar, .7z.

WinRAR has a great free version with many useful features.

Key Features:

  • 128-bit password encryption feature that allows you to protect archive files with password
  • Provides many features for editing, opening and creating compressed files
  • Comes with built-in virus scanner
  • Advanced backup features.

icon pros Pros

  • Drag and drop functionality supported
  • Works with all the common file types
  • Allows recover broken archives
  • Ensure document and file security.

icon cons Cons

  • Since WinRAR for Mac OS has no GUI, it is available only through the command line.


BetterZip is another way to unzip files on Mac. Archiving and managing files are also included in the app’s functionality. BetterZip handles the following formats: ZIP, TAR, TGZ, TBZ, TZ, etc. With this tool, you can easily unpack only selected files, as well as open a zipped folder without even extracting it.

The application is constantly updated and bugs are fixed.

Key Features:

  • Comes with Preview option: you can preview files stored in archives without extracting them
  • Provides AES-256 password encryption feature to avoid unauthorized access
  • Has a built-in password generator that suggests strong passwords
  • Can be integrated into workflow. You can script BetterZip using AppleScript.

icon pros Pros

  • Wide range of formats supported
  • Comes with a fully-fledged interface
  • Allows creating presets
  • Integrates well with the Finder interface.

icon cons Cons

  • BetterZip can be scripted with AppleScript, however, the system is not yet stable.

StuffIt Expander

StuffIt Expander continues our list of the best unzipping apps for Mac. The tool is fully compatible with a variety of formats including ZIP, RAR, TAR, GZIP so that you can open almost any compressed file without problems.

Installing the application is very simple, it can be done in two clicks.

Key Features:

  • Comes with drag and drop functionality
  • There are several options for compressing and unpacking files
  • Allows editing ZIP archives without expanding
  • Supports comments so that you can mark information about the contents of the archive.

icon pros Pros

  • Is lightweight and does not require much space for installation
  • Compatible with many formats
  • Works on all popular operating systems, including macOS, Windows.

icon cons Cons

  • Some users have reported that they can’t open .sit files.


The Archiver app allows you to compress files and extract archives on a Mac. Among the supported formats are RAR, StuffIt, ZIP, 7-ZIP, and more. With Archiver, you can preview archives as well as extract only those files you need by simply dragging and dropping them. You don't have to worry about your files as Archiver can pack all your sensitive files in an encrypted archive.

The app does not have a free version.

Key Features:

  • Splitting files in just a few clicks
  • Password protection
  • Drag and drop functionality
  • Allows unzipping selective files
  • Customizable interface.

icon pros Pros

  • Supports more than 30 formats
  • Fast extraction and archiving
  • When creating an archive, you can choose the name, compression level and protect it.

icon cons Cons

  • Is not free.

Previously, the ZIP format was limited only to the world of Windows OS, but now such archives are often created and used in macOS. Zipped files can be unpacked using the built-in archive utility, but it only supports multiple formats and offers quite a few features. Therefore, many begin to look for more powerful applications.

We've covered the most common tools, and now that you know how to unzip file on Mac, you shouldn't have any problems with unpacking. All of the above applications will help you easily open the desired file.

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. If you want to unpack RAR files on Mac, you’ll need third-party software.
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 the best archiver for Mac should have 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.
When it comes to how to extract files on Mac, 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 10.13 and later. Requires 51.85MB free space, latest version 3.7(3831). Released 25 Sep, 2023.

4.7 rank based on 889+ users, Reviews (524)
Editor's Choice

Get the Best File Manager for Mac – Commander One