Open Zip File on iPad: The Complete Guide to Opening Zip Files on iPads

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Ever need to open a zip file on your iPad? You're not alone. Zip files are generally the best way to store or transfer large files without taking up a lot of space. For that reason, they are commonly used for sending large files over the internet. But for most people, the problem comes with opening said zip files. If you are using an iPad, it can be an especially daunting process.

However, the good thing is that there are a lot of different ways you can decompress and extract the contents from zip archives without using an app. If your iPad has recently been released and has the latest Operating System, you can simply do this using the Files app.

On the other hand, there are also several free 3rd party apps like WinZip that will do this job as well. Let's take a look.

What is a zip file?

A zip file is a compressed archive that can be created and used to compress files.  By reducing the storage space required by the file, you get to lessen the bandwidth and transfer time sending them electronically.

Another common use of zip files is to combine multiple smaller files into one larger file. This way, you can send multiple items in a single attachment. Common examples include compressing text documents, images, archives of music or video, and much more.

There are many different tools available for creating zip files. These apps work on all kinds of devices, including Macs, Windows, Linux computers, and smartphones. This makes it easy to create them anywhere you may find yourself without needing access to any additional programs.

Zip files can also be uncompressed anytime you need to access them by removing the compression from the zipped data using these same tools.

How to open a zip file on iPad

There are a number of ways to open files on your iPad. As we mentioned, one way is by using the Files app, which can be found in the App Store for free. However, this is only available for iPads with the latest operating systems (iOS 11 and above).

Alternatively, you can use a 3rd-party app instead. In which case, we recommend WinZip. It's completely free and will allow you to see any type of file extension supported by iOS.

If you don't know how to do so from within Apple Mail or Safari, here is how you will go about it.

Step one

The first thing we're going to need is our zip archive (.zip) so let's start by locating it!  The most common method is by visiting Google Drive (or any other cloud storage service).

  • Click "File" in the top left corner and then select "Add new folder" under Folders.
  • After the new folder is created, put some files inside the folder and then go back to the main page.
  • Select the folder you just created and then click the download button. It will automatically download a zipped file named after the folder you created.

Step two

If you were using Safari or Chrome, the zipped file would be in the Downloads folder. If having trouble locating the file, you can sort the downloaded files by date, and it should appear among the most recent ones.

Step three

As soon as you locate the zipped file, just tap on it. The files should be automatically unpacked, and they will appear in a new folder next to the original zip file, especially if you sorted the files by date.

Step four

The last step is to simply open the new folder and access your files.


As you've seen, zip files can be helpful because of their ability to store multiple documents in one file while compressing them.  With a zip file, the file's size becomes manageable without sacrificing quality. Hopefully, you can now easily access and open zip files on your iPad using our guide above.

If you're looking for a way to compress and decompress files on your iPad, we highly recommend WinZip. It is an excellent, easy-to-use app with tons of features and tools. Easily compress those images from last night's party into a single, easy-to-access file and send them out to all your friends.

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