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How to Unpack ZIP/RAR Archive Files on iPhone/iPad

Some people may zip files into one RAR or ZIP file for easier transfer and management. When you received email attachment in ZIP or RAR format on iPhone/iPad, you need to use a professional file manager app in order to open and view Zip and RAR files.

How to open and decompress packed archive files on iPhone/iPad

Option 1: Open and View ZIP/RAR Files in Mail or Messages

If you get a zipped attachment in Mail or iMessage, you can view it using Mail without leaving the app.

a zipped attachment

Locate to the ZIP or RAR file from your email or iMessage attachment, tap the Share button and pick the application you want to use. You will then get an Open in or send to a third-party app prompt, choose from the compatible apps list, then the selected ZIP or RAR file will be added to that app. You can open the zipped file to view its contents. iOS can display text files, pdf, images, Word documents, and even Excel spreadsheets.

Open in Excel

Mail and Messages are currently the only iOS apps that offers this Quick Look feature. If you want to actually extract a compressed file and edit it, you'll need an appropriate helper application. See in Option 2.

Option 2: Unpack ZIP/RAR Files with Archival Zip-unzip Apps

If you're downloading a ZIP/RAR file from Safari, AirDrop, or in any other place on iOS that can't handle opening zip files. You'll more likely than not be presented with an Open In command. You need to install third-party apps to extract zip, rar, and other files on your iPhone/iPad.

Step 1: Go to App Store, download archival zip-unzip apps.

There are a couple of applications in the App Store, which are equipped to handle zip files. It is highly recommend to use WinZIP, iZip Pro, Zip Viewer.

install Archival Zip-unzip apps from App Store

Step 2: Open compressed file in WinZIP.

Case 1 If your ZIP/RAR files store in cloud app, tap Share button.

From the Share menu, select Open in… to show a list of apps that can handle this type of file.

Open the compressed files in iPhone/iPad

Next, choose WinZip app, archive will be opened, you can view its contents.

Extract zipped file on iPhone/iPad

Case 2 If you are downloading a ZIP/RAR file from Safari, AirDrop, or in any other place on iOS.

Go to the location of zipped file, touch it and tap on Open in...., select Import with WinZip, the app opens and you'll see your files, unzipped and ready to be opened.

Import ZIP/RAR file with WinZIP

you will get a pop-up dialogue, saying "Would you like to extract all files?" Tap on OK, the ZIP/RAR file will be unzipped. 

Extract all zipped files