How to Unzip a .Zip File on a Mac

If you’ve ever downloaded a large amount of data onto your computer, you’ve probably come across a .zip file or two. .Zip files are compressed files, so they're quicker to download and easier to access. However, you do have to unzip them to get to the actual information on your computer. There are 3 main ways to do this on a Mac: double clicking, using your terminal, and using an extension. If one method doesn’t work, move onto the next one until you find the one that does.

Double Clicking

Find the .zip archive file in the Finder.

Open up your Finder and locate the .zip archive file that you’ve downloaded. It should be named something like “”

Double click the .zip archive.

This will start the unzipping process.

  • If you want to unzip multiple folders, shift-click to highlight all of the folders.

Click on the contents of the .zip archive to open them up.

The unzipped folder should be in the same spot that you found the folder.

Unzipping .Zip Files on Mac Terminal

Open Spotlight Search.

Click on the magnifying glass on the top right corner.

Drag the .zip file to your desktop.

Type in “Terminal” and open the application.

Type in “cd desktop” and click Enter.

Type in “unzip file name” and click enter again.

Where the template say file name, type the full file name including the .zip.

  • For example, if the file is titled “”, type in cd desktop, click enter, type in unzip and click enter again.

Open the new unzipped file.

You can double click on it to open up the contents.

Using Third Party Extraction Tools

Download a third-party extension.

You can do a quick Google search to find free downloads of third-party extensions to use. On Mac, there are a few to choose from, including:

  • The Unarchiver
  • WinZip (Mac Edition)
  • Keka
  • Better Zip 4

Find your file.

It should be in your Mac Finder where you downloaded it.

Click File, then Get info menu.

This will open up a drop down box where you can choose from a few different options.

Scroll to Open, then select your third-party extension.

If you’ve downloaded it onto your computer, you should be able to use it right away.

  • If the third-party extension isn’t showing up, try restarting your computer.

Select “Change all.”

This will start the process of unzipping your files. Your unzipped content will show up in the same spot as your folder.


  • If you can’t unzip your file by double clicking, try using the Mac Terminal. If that doesn’t work, move on to a third-party extension.

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