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How To Unzip Files On MacOS

Unzipping is the reverse process of zipping a file. In this guide, you will learn about different ways to decompress zip files on MacOS.

How to unzip files on MacOS

The following guide outlines steps involved when unzipping a file with the utilities provided by MacOS.

  1. With Finder, locate the zip file which you wish to decompress/unzip.
  2. Double click it.
  3. This will create a folder with the same name as the zip file in the current working directory and extract the content of zip file into it.

How to unzip using WinZip in MacOS

If you don’t want to work with zip files through MacOS built in utility, download WinZip application and install it.

  1. Open WinZip.
  2. Click on unzip button.
  3. From the dropdown list, choose unzip this zip file to your Mac, iCloud drive, Google Drive or Dropbox.
  4. Now, select the contents of zip file you want to unzip. You can also use Finder to view contents of zip file.

Unzip with WinZip using the context menu

This is an easier method to launch the application and decompress the files.

  • Choose all zip files by pressing CTRL + A, or choose some of them by pressing CTRL + Right click and choose services from the context menu.
  • Click on Unzip. This will extract zip file contents into the present working directory.

Unzip using Command Prompt in MacOS

If you want to unzip like a pro, then command prompt is the way to go!

  1. Open the command prompt with terminal
    • Open Applications folder followed by the Utilities folder. Double click on Terminal.
    • Alternately open spotlight. Press Command+Spacebar and type terminal.
  2. Go to the correct directory where the zip file is located. E.g. If the zip file is located in your Documents folder, enter the following command in the command prompt:
    cd ~/Documents
  3. Now type following command
    unzip zipfile.zip
  4. The contents of the zip file will decompress into your Documents folder.

Additional useful unzip command options

  • Only list the contents of the zip file. No file will be extracted.
    unzip -l zipfile.zip
  • Extract only certain files from the zip archive. E.g. Only file1.txt and file3.txt
    unzip zipfile.zip file1.txt file3.txt
  • Extract every file EXCEPT the ones listed. E.g.: Don't extract file2.txt
    unzip zipfile.zip file2.txt
  • The above commands accept wildcards as options too. The * is a wildcard for multiple characters. ? is a wildcard for a single character.
    unzip zipfile.zip "file*.t?"
  • Unzip the files to a different directory
    unzip zipfile.zip -d ./other-directory