If you send or download things on a frequent basis, you have probably encountered your share of “zipped” files.
A zip file is a reliable way to send a large amount of information in a compressed file. You may use these files often since they are an efficient way of transmitting your data. While you may have experience creating a zip file on a Windows-based computer, the process is slightly different on a Mac. This guide walks you through creating zip files on a Mac.
We can also help you compress files on Windows 10.
So, what is a ZIP file?
When you need to send lots of data, you might be distraught at how long it takes. This can be especially troublesome with music or video files, which, depending on the format, could take hours to upload or download. The way around this is to compress the files, either by eliminating redundancies in the files, which can then by recreated (lossless compression) or by cutting out unnecessary bits, albeit at the cost of a perfect replica (lossy). Compressed files are packed into various archive formats such as RAR and ZIP. When you download a compressed file, you will need to extract the contents — or “unzip” them — in order to access them.
How to create a ZIP file on a Mac
Creating a ZIP file on a Mac is quick and easy, as MacOS contains a built-in utility for compressing or unzipping files.
First, find a file or group of files you want to compress. For a single file, simply right-click it and select Compress [file name].
You will see a ZIP file appear in the same folder as the original, which will still be present.
To compress multiple files into one ZIP file, select them all, then right-click and select Compress X items, with X being the number of highlighted files.
A single archive file will appear in the folder the originals are in. If you want to rename the default Archive.zip filename, simply right click and select Rename. This is useful if you need to create multiple ZIP files or to make it easier for the recipient to know what’s in the ZIP file.
How to unzip a file
Unzipping a ZIP file is about as easy as creating one. Simply double-click on the file and it’ll automatically be unzipped. Alternatively, right-click the file in question, hover over Open With, and choose Archive Utility (or a third-party unzipping program, if you have one).
MacOS will automatically create a new folder containing the zipped files in the same location as the ZIP file. If you want to secure your ZIP files with a password, we have a guide for that, too.
Is compression not working?
If you can’t compress successfully, it may be related to your file permissions. Right-click on the file in question, and select Get Info to take a closer look. In the new window that opens up, go to Sharing & Permissions. Make sure that your specific account is logged on as administrator — if it isn’t, look for a lock icon to click and login with administrator information. Then make sure that the permissions for your login in are set to Read & Write or to Read Only. If they are set to anything else, you may not be able to compress the file.
Now back out and try again.
Sending compressed files to iOS
If you use both MacOS and iOS for file management, you may be worried about sending a compressed file to iOS for further work. Fortunately, as of iOS 13, there is an easy option to uncompress a file in iOS after it is sent. After your download, search for the compressed file in the Files app (which has been greatly expanded with recent iOS updates). When you find it, do a “long press” on the file, which will open a menu of options for it. Toward the bottom of this menu will be an option to Uncompress. Choose it, and your file will be uncompressed right there in Files. Easy!