How to Unzip and Extract Files on Mac

ZIP is a popular archive file format that allows users to easily send or share multiple files in a single folder using advanced compression techniques. So, rather than attaching a bulk of attachments while sending an email or sharing data, you can simply use a ZIP file instead to get the job done. A ZIP file usually contains a batch of files and data that have been compressed so that you can even send large-sized files in one go at a comparatively faster speed.

Extract Files on Mac

So, what would you do if you received a ZIP file on your email or while you’re downloading software from any website? Confused about what to do next? We’ve got you covered. Well, the unzipping or decompressing process on Mac is pretty simple.

Also read: How To Create And Open Zip Files On iPhone?

How to Unzip Files on Mac

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to unzip files on Mac without using WinZip or any other third-party compressor software.

Let’s get started.

How to Unzip files on Mac without WinZip

Unzipping is the process that is followed when you decompress a ZIP file. It allows you to extract the file’s content that is packed in a compressed folder (ZIP file). Here’s how you can extract files on Mac without using the WinZip tool.

Navigate to the file location. Now, double-click on the Zipped file. As soon as you double-tap on the ZIP file, Mac will automatically create a new folder at the same location with the same nomenclature.

How to Unzip files on Mac without WinZip

Hence, all the content that the ZIP file contains will be automatically moved to this new folder. This new folder contains all the files and data in an uncompressed format.

When you double-click on the ZIP file, the new folder is created right beside it so that you don’t have to browse much to locate the file’s content.

Also read: How to Zip and Unzip Files in Windows 10 for Free

How to Unzip Files on Mac using the Archive Utility Tool

Can't Open Zip file on Mac

An alternative way to unzip files on Mac is by using the Archive utility tool. Archive Utility is a default compressor tool that comes preloaded on macOS. Here’s what you need to do.

Navigate to the file location and then right-click on the ZIP file. In the context menu that appears on the screen, select Open with> Archive Utility.

You can even manage settings and preferences on the Archive Utility tool to control the compression.

Press the Command + Space key to quickly launch the Spotlight Search. Type “Archive Utility” and hit Enter.

unzip files on Mac

The Archive Utility tool doesn’t have an interface of its own. You can simply slide through the menu to make some quick changes.

Archive Utility tool

Tap the “Archive Utility” option placed on the top menu bar, select “Preferences”.

Archive Utility

The Archive Utility Preferences window will now appear on the screen. Explore the options as here you can easily manage advanced settings of the Archive Utility tool.

Also read: How To Password Protect A Zip File and Folder

How to Unzip Files on Mac Terminal

You can even use Mac’s Terminal to unzip files on Mac. Follow these quick steps to get started.

1. Move the File/Folder to Desktop

Before we execute the unzipping commands on Terminal the first step is to move the file/folder to the desktop for easy access.

If the folder is stored at a different location, it will be comparatively tedious to mention the source location in Terminal. So, make sure that the ZIP folder is saved on the desktop, and then let’s move to our next step.

2. Use Terminal

Navigate to Applications> Utilities and then launch Terminal.

In the Terminal window, execute the following command.

cd/ .desktop.

3. Run the Unzip Command

The syntax of the unzip command is pretty simple.

Unzip <Filename>

For example, if the file name of the ZIP folder is “Hello World” then you need to type:


And that’s it!

Also read: How to Zip/Unzip Files Using Powershell on Windows 10

Can’t Open Zip file on Mac? Here are a Few Things to Try…

Well, there may be a few instances where you may be unable to unzip files on Mac. This can probably be due to the following reasons:

  • The file is corrupt or damaged.
  • An authorization or access issue on macOS.
  • Not sufficient storage space to load the ZIP file’s content.

Unzip Files on Mac using the Archive Utility Tool

To make sure that you never run into any trouble while unzipping a compressed file, try using a third-party compressor tool like WinZip or The Unarchiver that can smoothly lead you through the process.

Alternatively, you can also use Terminal to unzip files on Mac if you’re facing any issues. (Refer to the above section)

Also read: How To Find A Compressed Zip Folder On Your Hard Disk?


Here was a quick guide on how to unzip files on Mac without using third-party compressor software. We’re sure the above-listed steps will guide you thoroughly to easily decompress files on macOS.

For any other queries or assistance, feel free to use the comments space!

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