How to Compress and Extract ZIP Files on iPhone and iPad

In Apple’s recent update for iOS and iPadOS, you will find a lot of file management features. It can be viewed as Apple’s new effort to make its devices even more productive and useful. With the release of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, Apple has added functionality to extract ZIP files on your device. Besides extracting the ZIP file, you can also create ZIP files right from the Files app. In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to compress and extract ZIP files on iPhone and iPad. We have also explained other method that allows you to work with other archive formats as well as use it on iOS 12. Let’s get started.

Compress and Extract Archive Files on iPhone and iPad

As mentioned above, with iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, you can manage archive files natively using the Files app. But, it supports only two file formats (ZIP and RAR) and there are some limitations for compressing files. So, if you are willing to extract other archive formats like TAR or 7z without any restriction, you have to use the Shortcuts app method as explained below. If you are using iOS 12, you can use the Shortcuts app method to zip and unzip files seamlessly. Let’s get through this for iOS 13 & iPadOS 13 first.

1) iOS 13 and iPadOS 13

With iOS 13 Apple has provide native support for extracting both ZIP and RAR files. However, when it compressing, you can only compress a folder to the ZIP file format not RAR. While it’s adequate for most purposes and works pretty great. If you want more options, you can move to the next section. Let’s see how to extract and compress ZIP files on iOS 13 and iPadOS 13.

Uncompressing or Extracting Files

To extract (uncompress) a ZIP or RAR file on iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, open the Files app on your iPhone or iPad and go to the file you want to unzip. Now, tap and hold the compressed file to see options. At the bottom of the list, tap on Uncompress. Selected archive will be extracted to a new folder right there in the same folder.

select uncompress to extract selected zip file

Compressing Files

Similarly, to compress a folder on your iPhone or iPad, tap and hold the folder icon that you want to compress and select Compress option at the bottom. A ZIP file will be created in the same folder.

select folder to compress zip files

2) iOS 12 and other Archive Formats

Step 1

First, open the Shortcuts app and tap on the [+] icon on the top-right corner. Now, search for “zip” and tap on Make Archive for compressing files. You can also add Extract Archive for uncompressing or extracting files as another shortcut.

create shortcut make archive extract archive

Step 2

Now, tap on the edit icon on the top-right corner and enable the toggle for ‘Show in Share Sheet’. You can also change the name of this shortcut here.

create shortcut compress extract zip files

Step 3

Next, change the format to Ask When Run. Now, you can choose your preferred archive format while creating the archive. Finally, tap on the Done button on the top-right corner to save the Shortcut.

make archive set to ask format when run - compress and extract zip files

Step 4

Our shortcut is ready. It’s time to test it. First select the file and choose Share with the Shortcuts app and select the Shortcut that we have just created.

select shortcuts and then select zip files

Step 5

You will be prompted with Make Archive dialog box. Here, you can change the file format. To change the file format, tap on the format selected, you will see the list of supported formats. Select desired format and then tap on Done to start compressing the file. You can find the compressed file in the Files app.

make archive select zip format to zip or unzip files

Zip and Unzip Files on your iPhone and iPad

Above tutorial explained how you can compress and uncompress (extract) ZIP, RAR and other formats on your iPhone and iPad. While on iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, you will see native option for compressing and uncompressing the archives but it supports only ZIP and RAR formats. If you are willing to compress and uncompress archives in other formats, you can use Shortcuts app method instead. Hope you liked the tutorial. Feel free to write your suggestions and queries in the comment section down below.

About Aslam Khan

Hi there, I am a blogger, engineer and a computer geek. I love kittens. I spend some of my time blogging besides full time job as Senior Windows Administrator. I like to learn new things.

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