How to Unzip Files on Android Devices

Who needs a computer? Learn how to unzip files on your Android device

How to unzip a zip file on Android: Image of a lock and data extracting.

Donald Iain Smith

ZIP files provide a way to send multiple files in one tidy digital package. You need to download a special app to unzip files on an Android device.

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android device: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

How to Unzip Files on Android

In the context of ZIP files, unzipping means extracting the files from a compressed folder. Unzipping files on an Android tablet or smartphone used to require a special third-party app, but it can now be done with the official Files by Google app.

Files Go was rebranded Files by Google in late 2018. If you haven't updated your OS in a while, the app may still be called Files Go on your Android device. Update your version of Android before proceeding.

  1. Go to the Google Play Store and install Files by Google.

  2. Open Files by Google and locate the ZIP file you want to unzip. If you downloaded the ZIP file from a website, it may be in the Downloads folder.

    ZIP files always have the .zip extension.

  3. Tap the file you want to unzip. The list of files in the compressed ZIP folder appears.

  4. Tap Extract to unzip the file. After the files are extracted, a list of the unzipped files displays.

  5. Tap Done.

    In the Files by Google app, tap the file you want to unzip, then tap Extract and Done.
  6. All of the extracted files are copied to the same location as the original ZIP file.

What Are ZIP Files Used For?

Files that use the .zip extension are referred to as ZIP files. ZIP (pronounced like the word "zip") files compress and bundle many files together to make it easier to send, upload, and download a group of files. ZIP files are used on websites to help visitors download a large number of documents or media at once without having to manually download each file individually.

RAR is a similar format for compressed files. Programs that can extract content from ZIP files can also unzip RAR files (files with the extension .rar).

Do ZIP Files Work Differently on Smartphones and Tablets?

There is no difference between how ZIP files are managed on Android phones or tablets. ZIP files are compatible with all devices running modern operating systems such as Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.

Do I Need to Use ZIP Files on Android?

If you use your Android tablet or mobile phone for business, you may encounter ZIP files that you'll need to extract, or unzip, to view the contents. If you want to create your own ZIP files, then you'll need to download a different app.

What Are Some Popular Unzippers for Android?

While opening ZIP files on Android can be done with the Files by Google app, there are several alternative ZIP file extractor apps if you want a dedicated solution. You'll need one of these apps if you want to create ZIP files on your Android smartphone or tablet.

  • ZArchiver: The ZArchiver app is one of the best free ZIP file extractor apps on Android. It features an easy-to-use interface and supports over 30 different types of files including ZIP and RAR.
  • WinZip: Easily the most-famous ZIP app, WinZip's official Android app opens and creates ZIP files and supports ZIPX, 7X, RAR, and CBZ file types. Extra features, such as Google Drive support, require a paid upgrade. WinZip apps can be glitchy and feature ads.
  • RAR: The RAR Android app creates and extracts ZIP and RAR files on any Android device. It also opens TAR, GZ, BZ2, XZ, 7z, ISO, and ARJ files.

Do I Need to Use a ZIP Files App at All?

The advantages of using ZIP files comes down to personal preference. Some people love using them while others find them inconvenient and prefer to download individual files.

As an alternative, emailing files as attachments is still a reliable way to send media and documents to people. Another way to send someone a file is to upload it to a cloud storage service, such as OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox, and email the person a link to the file location in the cloud. It's also possible to send files using a chat app like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Line, and WeChat.