Working with multiple large files can be burdensome while consuming a massive amount of space on your hard drive. Zip files are a compressed, archive file format that typically contains multiple files, folders, or downloads from the Web.

These files can save a lot of space on your Mac while making it easier for you to save or share the files with others. Originally, zip files were most commonly stored on Windows; however, you can also create, save, and extract zip files on Mac. You may be wondering how you can open that zip file on your Mac. This tutorial will show you how to unzip and open the zip file on Mac.

Locate the Archive Utility on Your Mac

The Archive Utility can create and compress the zip file. Compressed files and archives are very similar; however, they aren’t the same. Both compress the size of the file(s) to save space. You can store many files in the archive also to make them easier to transport. Email large files as small, compressed attachments to save space. MacOS features the Archive Utility, a small app that is typically a hidden system folder.

Access the Archive Utility on your Mac by following these steps:

1. Go to /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications

Archive Utility

2. Scroll down the list of applications and choose the green Archive Utility icon from the list of apps (The list should apps like the Network Utility, About This Mac, and Wireless Diagnostics).

Customize Your Archive Utility

Once you access your Archive Utility, you can customize it with your personal preferences:

1. Launch the Archive Utility

2. Go to Archive Utility > Preferences. An Archive Utility Preferences window will appear.

3. Choose how you want to save expanded files and if you want the archives to be moved to the trash. Define whether the expanded items should appear in Finder by checking the checkboxes. You can also choose how you want save your archives, in what format (a zip), and what to do with the files once they are archived.

Customizing your Archive Utility makes managing your zip files more easy because it’s based on your personal needs. If you don’t want to customize the Archive Utility, you can leave the all of Preference settings at the default.

Open A Zip File On Mac

Zip files can be opened on Mac by the Archive Utility or from a third-party unarchiver tool. Both methods allow you to open a zip file and save the contents to your Mac. When you download zip files, the archive Utility will automatically open the contents and save them to your computer. You can choose to open them or save them for later.

Opening zip files on Mac is pretty simple:

1. To open the file using the built-in Archive Utility, just double click on the file to open it, or use the File > Open option from the menu. The Archive Utility will automatically open the zip file. Once the zip file is opened, the Utility will place the files on your desktop in the same folder. You can rename the files/folders once after they have been created. You should also be able to locate the file(s) in Finder.

2. You can also open the zip file instantly with a third-party unarchiver tool. WinZip for Mac is a free, file management tool used to open zipped files on Mac.

3. At the top of the WinZip menu, a drop down menu will contain an Unzip button. This option will allow you to unzip to your Mac or to a cloud service. Select Unzip Entire Zip File.

4. After you select unzip, select the Options button to customize the zip file storage or sharing. After you unzip the file, an unzip drop down menu will ask if you want to save to iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or to your Mac. Select the Show unzipped files in Finder option. WinZip will also encrypt your files with AES.

5. Configure your Mac to use either the Archive Utility or the third party tool as the default archive utility.

Compress Files Using Archive Utility

Ideally, you wouldn’t launch the Archive Utility to create or open zip files. While you are working, you can simply select a file, folder, or some group of items to compress.

1. If you want to select files that are grouped together, you can select multiple files on Mac using Click + Drag. Select files that are next to each other in a file list. Using this method, you click and hold while you drag across a window.

Compress file

2. In this case, you would right click on the item and select Compress.

3. The Archive Utility would automatically launch and compress the item(s). You can archive the compressed files in .cpgz, .cpio, or .zip formats.

4. After the file has been compressed, the Archive Utility will automatically quit. If there is an existing zip file that you want to expand from compressed, you can double click the archive. The Archive Utility will automatically open, decompress the archive, and quit. You can also use third-party apps to perform these tasks.

Contact Apple Support

If you were not able to open your zip files on Mac after following these steps, you can contact Apple Support or the Genius Bar for assistance.