How to Save Zip Files to iPhone or iPad

Jun 22, 2018 - 17 Comments

How to save zip files on iPhone or iPad

The latest versions of iOS make it easy to download and save Zip files to an iPhone or iPad. This is achieved thanks to the new Files app, which allows an iOS device to interact with files and data directly stored on a device, as well as to access iCloud Drive data.

To use this approach, you must have the Files app on iOS to be able to save and download zip files directly to an iPhone or iPad, as all modern releases do. If your version of iOS does not have the Files app you will need to update it to a newer version that does to use this method. Older iOS devices without Files app can use an alternative method to open zip files in iOS however, though that approach requires a third party app whereas the Files app is native and does not require any other app downloads to iOS in order to interact with zip archives.

Without further adieu, let’s jump into downloading and saving zip files to iOS devices.

How to Save Zip Files to iPhone or iPad

Want to download and save a zip file to an iPhone or iPad? Here is how you can do that directly on your iOS device:

  1. Open Safari on the iPhone or iPad and navigate to the zip file you want to download and save
  2. Tap on the link to download the zip file as usual
  3. A screen will appear in Safari that shows a “zip” archive identifying the file as a zip file and then giving you options for what to do with the zip file, depending on what apps are installed on your iOS device:
    • Tap on “Open in ‘Files'” text button and then choose a save destination to download and save the zip file to that location in the Files app, as seen here on iPhone
    • How to save a zip file on iPhone

    • Alternatively, tap on the “More…” text button and then select “Save to Files” from the options available there as seen here on iPad
    • How to save a zip file on iPad

That’s all there is to it, now your downloaded zip file will be saved to the iPhone or iPad at the location in Files app of your choosing.

You can often preview zip files in the Files app of iOS, so if you’re interested in doing that then launch the Files app directly on the iPhone or iPad and you can check out the zip file you just saved and downloaded to the device, or to iCloud Drive.

The Files app in iOS allows you to save and access zip files on Iphone and iPad

While this allows you to download and save zip files to an iPhone or iPad, unfortunately the iOS Files app and does not include a native unzip or zip function, meaning you will still need to rely on a third party app like WinZip or Zip Viewer to be able to open and extract zip files on an iPhone or iPad. Perhaps one day iOS for the iPad and iPhone will gain native zip archive extraction technology, much like what is available in the highly productive Mac OS environment by default with zip and unzip capabilities on the Mac directly in Finder, but until (or if ever) that happens, third party tools will be required to perform these common zip archive management activities in the iOS side of things.

Remember, Files app has direct access to iCloud Drive, so if the iPhone or iPad is sharing an Apple ID and iCloud account with another device using iCloud Drive the files would be accessible from there too, like on a Mac or another iOS device.

Saving zip files onto an iPhone or iPad is somewhat similar to saving email attachments from the iOS Mail app, as well as saving files from other locations and other file types, unless the file type in question is a movie or a picture, in which case if you’re attempting to save an image file from Safari on iPhone or from the web to an iPhone or iPad, then the image file would default to being saved into the Photos app where it would remain inaccessible from Files app, or if it’s a .mov video file then that would be saved into the Photos app too but in a Video folder, which is also inaccessible from the Files app of iOS for whatever reason. That doesn’t mean you can’t save images and videos to iCloud Drive and in Files app however, and if you save a zip file full of images or movie files into Files app or iCloud Drive then those images will stay within Files app too, but it just means the Files app and iCloud Drive can not access the Photos app photos and video files, and vice versa. Perhaps a future release of iOS will link the two file storage locations in iOS, but for now that is not the case.

Do you know of another approach to saving and downloading zip archives to the iPhone or iPad? Do you have any helpful zip file management tricks for iOS? Let us know in the comments!


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Kuldip says:

    Nice zip file

  2. David Cumberland says:

    Sorry, but I don’t use a credit card.

  3. Joshua Mohni says:


  4. Doc says:

    I’ve had Pocket Drive on my iOS devices for several years. You can save or download any file type, including zip. It will unzip a file as well. And it can exchange files with my Mac. Much more useful than I find the iOS “file” app to be. Of course it’s not free, but worth it..

    • Louie says:

      Yeah, goodreader can also zip and unzip files. However, we don’t really need a 3rd party app because support is actually built in. When you tap on a zip attachment in mail or a zip file in the iOS files app, it will show the file icon and a link called “preview content” which allows to individually view and share each of the files inside the zip.

  5. Hoagie Commander says:

    It’s not further “adieu” which would translate to “without further goodbye” or “without further farewell”. It’s “ado” as in fuss.

    • Ian T says:

      Absolutely correct. Lots of people make that mistake. Although some might argue that your comment is much ado about nothing😀

    • Bingleburt the 4th says:

      Zip file management is not about translations or fuss as you describe, you are not translating a file from a zip file, a zip file is an archive containing other files, thus I am not sure of which you discuss Hoagie, but this is about zip files and the download of them from the internet to the iPhone, or even iPad if you like iPad, maybe iPad Pro is pro with zip files. You tell a great story Hoagie, but did you save any zip files?

      Personally I find saving and working with zip files to iPhone to be cumbersome, why is there no Archive Utility on the iPhone? Is Hoagie hoping for a translation from zip files to unzipped files? I believe the fuss is about frustration with lacking Archive Utility for iOS edition? That is my best guess.

      • Louie says:

        I guess Apple thought the basic support they provide in iOS (the preview contents link found when opening a zip within mail or files) was enough to start with. For a 3rd party app, I recommend Goodreader. Not only can it unzip, but it can also create new ZIP archives. It’s also an excellent file manager.

  6. Bob chase says:

    I’m puzzled. Why would one want to save a zip fil on an iOS device anyway?

  7. Marst Urdanne Katchop says:

    It’s nice that we can save zip files on the iPhone and iPad now, but I am puzzled that iOS does not have an extraction capability, or a new archive creation capability. That seems like the kind of thing you’d need.

    • Dan Uff says:

      I can see why. Apple wants to ensure that the device doesn’t get any malware or trojans that maybe included in a ZIP file.

      As with opening attachments via email, may I suggest that users do this with caution.

      • Louie says:

        Speaking of email attachments, the iOS mail app does offer a “preview content” option for zip files. By tapping on that, one can view what’s inside the zip and extract and share each of those files to the files app or any other app.

  8. Horatio says:

    Cool, we can save zip files to the iPhone now! And iPad too? Very Pro! No wonder they call it iPad Pro, it can save zip files! What’s a computer? iPad Pro can save zip files now! Wow!

    OK I saved a zip file, how do I open the zip file? Can I make a new zip file? How do I do this on iPad Pro? What’s a computer? I thought iPad Pro was better than a computer? Is file management real?

    • Louie says:

      Actually, there is a way to view zip files in iOS 11 without a 3rd party app: the iOS mail app. Just attach the file to an email and send it to yourself. Then open the attachment and tap on “preview content” to view each of the files contained in the zip. For each file you view within the zip, you can use the share button to save it in the files app or any other app where it could be opened.

      • Louie says:

        UPDATE: I just noticed that the “preview content” option for zip files is also available from the files app upon tapping on a zip file.

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