What is a ZIP file?

A ZIP file is a compressed folder containing multiple files. It allows you to transfer many files at once and takes up less storage space than the files would if they were not compressed. It’s also an easy way to distribute many files together in one folder. ZIP files are a common way to distribute content on the web.

Both Windows and Mac OSX are able to open and uncompress ZIP files without additional software. iPhones and iPads will require an additional app.

How to Open a ZIP File

The easiest way to open a ZIP file is to just double-click on it and let your computer show you the folders and files contained inside. In most operating systems, including Windows and macOS, ZIP files are handled internally, without the need for any extra software.

If your computer runs Microsoft Windows: 

  1. Right-click on the unopened ZIP folder.
  2. Choose “Extract All” from the menu that opens.
  3. Choose a destination. This is the place where you want to keep the unzipped files. You can choose “My Documents,” for example.
  4. Click “Extract.”

If your computer runs Mac OSX: 

Double-click the unopened ZIP — the file should extract automatically. If that doesn’t work, hold down the control key and click the ZIP file icon. Choose “Open With” and then select “Archive Utility.” The utility will extract the ZIP files, and you can find them in the same folder where you downloaded them.

What if I’m using a mobile iOS device, such as an iPhone or iPad, instead of a computer?

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, you’ll need to download and install an app. We recommend iZip, a popular and reliable option that is free in the App Store.

After you have the app installed, log in and go to your “My Purchases” page. Tap “Download Now” next to the zipped resource. When the download is complete, you’ll be redirected to a page where you can choose how to open the file.