Mobile Phones iPhone & iOS How to Open Zip Files on iPad or iPhone Open .zip files you receive and create .zip files to send on iOS by Andy Wolber Freelance Contributor Andy Wolber is a former Lifewire writer who has been writing about technology for 15+ years. His focus is G Suite, iOS, and nonprofit sector apps. our editorial process Twitter LinkedIn Andy Wolber Updated on July 02, 2020 iPhone & iOS Switching from Android Tweet Share Email The .zip file format solves two problems. First, it compresses files to reduce the storage space they require, which decreases transfer time and bandwidth when you send them over the internet. The format also lets you bundle a set of folders and files into a single file so you can send several items as a single attachment. In June 2019, Apple announced support for opening and creating zip files within the Files app as of the launch of iOS 13. Instructions in this article apply to devices running iOS 11 through iOS 12.4. Open and Extract Zip File Content You can preview and extract the contents of individual zip files with Apple Mail on iOS, as well as with any other iOS app that supports preview contents of zip files. To open a zip file you receive as an email attachment in Mail: Open the email containing the attachment. Select Tap to Download in the file attachment box. Once the file downloads, tap it again. The system will display information about the zip file and the contents. For example, it may display the number of files and approximate size, along with the file name. Tap Preview Content to show a preview of the first item in the zip file. Tap the three lines, each with dots to the left, to display a list of all items in the zip file. Tap an item name within this list to preview it. When you see a file you want to unzip and save, tap the Share icon (the box with the arrow pointing up) in the upper-right corner. In the options that appear along the bottom, tap Save to Files. You may need to scroll a bit to find this option. The system will display available locations. For example, most people will see iCloud Drive, On My iPhone, or, if you use an iPad, On My iPad. Tap whichever location you prefer. Once you’ve selected a location, tap to navigate to the folder into which you want to extract your file. Tap Add in the upper right to extract the selected file and save it in unzipped format to the selected folder. Zip and Email Files With Shortcuts The Apple Shortcuts app, which came with iOS 12, added a “Zip and Email” shortcut that lets you create and send zip files. Open the Files app. In the left menu, tap any available Location, such as iCloud Drive, On My iPad, On My iPhone, or other connected storage (e.g., Google Drive). On the right, tap to navigate to the folder that contains the file or files you want turn into a zip file. Tap Select in the upper right corner. Tap one or more files or folders to include in the zip file. Tap Share near the bottom of the screen. Tap Shortcuts from the options that appear. If you don’t see Shortcuts in the bottom row of options, swipe, tap More, and then enable the slider next to Shortcuts and then tap Done. Select the Zip and Email shortcut. If you don't see the option, tap Get More Shortcuts and type zip in the search box. Select Zip and Email and then Get Shortcut to add it to your library. The shortcut will create a zip file and attach it to a new email message. Add recipients, a subject, and a message, and then send the email. Other Zip File Management Options Many people install third-party apps to compress, open, and extract zip files on iOS. For example, Documents by Readdle lets you easily select several items, then tap zip to compress these items into a zip archive file. Other apps, such as iZip Pro -Zip Unzip Unrar Tool, offer support for advanced zip features, such as the ability to create and open password protected zip files. Additionally, some people use Shortcuts, Apple’s iOS workflow automation app, to work with zip files. Shortcuts offers the ability to add Make Archive and Extract Archive as an action. For example, you could create a Shortcut that takes a zip file, extracts the contents, and automatically saves the contents to a folder you choose. People who prefer programmatic, step-by-step control over automated sequences will likely want to explore Shortcuts automation to work with zip files.