Both RAR and ZIP files are commonly used by people these days since they help in minimizing the file size as much as possible with file compression. As a result, users who store files using this format save a considerable amount of storage space. Not just that, RAR or ZIP files can be transferred faster than uncompressed files due to their reduced file size.
Most people have a file archiver like WinRAR or 7-Zip installed on their computers to extract and view the contents of these RAR or ZIP files. But what if you’re using an iPhone or iPad? Sometimes, you may want to open the RAR or ZIP files that were mailed to you, or you downloaded some important files from the web on to your iPhone.
Until recently, both iOS and iPadOS users had to rely on third-party apps to open compressed ZIP and RAR files. However, this changed when Apple added native ZIP support to the built-in Files app. Now, we have multiple ways to access this kind of compressed file formats on Apple devices. Here, we’ll be covering three different methods that you can use to open RAR or ZIP files on an iPhone and iPad.
1. Open ZIP Files Using the Files App in iOS 13, iPadOS, or Later
If your iPhone or iPad is running iOS 13/iPadOS 13 or later, you can use the stock Files app to natively uncompress ZIP files. You don’t need to install any additional app or software. Let’s check out what you need to do:
Step 1. Launch the Files app on your iPhone or iPad and head to the directory where the ZIP file is stored. If you downloaded it from the web, it should be located in the Downloads folder under iCloud Drive. Now, long-press on the ZIP file and tap on ‘Uncompress’ from the context menu.
Step 2. The ZIP file will be immediately extracted, and you’ll be able to see its contents in the same folder or directory. Tap on the folder to access the files.
Step 3. In most cases, you should be able to tap and open these ZIP files on your iPhone. However, you won’t be able to open certain file types that aren’t supported by iOS and iPadOS.
Note that the above procedure only works for ZIP files. You cannot use the Files app to decompress WinRAR’s RAR files. For that, you’ll need to use a third-party app, which we’ll discuss below.
2. Open RAR Files Using A Third-Party App
Since there’s no native support for RAR files on iOS and iPadOS just yet, we’ll have to use a third-party app for opening RAR files on iPhone. Thankfully, there are several apps on the App Store that let you do this. Here, we’ll be focusing on one of the most popular ones called iZip. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the necessary steps:
Step 1. Install the latest version of iZip from the App Store and launch the app on your device. Once you’re in the main menu, tap on ‘Document Browser’ to proceed.
Step 2. This will open the file browser on your iPhone or iPad. Simply browse for the RAR file and tap on it to import the file to iZip.
Step 3. Once the app is done importing the file, you’ll be asked if you want to open the RAR file right away. Select ‘Yes’ to continue.
Step 4. This will give a preview of the RAR file’s contents. When you’re prompted to unzip all the files, tap ‘OK.’
Step 5. The extracted file or folder will show up in iZip, as shown below. Simply tap on the file to open and view it.
Although we were focusing on RAR files for this method, you can also follow these exact steps to open ZIP files and view their contents. This method would be necessary if your iPhone or iPad is running an older version of iOS where ZIP files aren’t supported by the Files app.
3. Open RAR and ZIP Files through the Mail App
More often than not, you may receive some important work-related files in compressed format via email. The good news is that Apple’s Mail app makes it easy to preview most ZIP files, as long as its underlying contents are in a supported format. As for RAR files, you’ll need to have a third-party app like iZip installed so that you can import them directly from the Mail app.
Step 1. Launch the Mail app and open the email with the ZIP file. Tap on it to open the attachment.
Step 2. Now, tap on the ‘Preview Content’ option that shows up right below the file name.
Step 3. If the files included in the ZIP archive are supported by iOS/iPadOS natively, you’ll be able to preview the file as shown below.
Step 4. If the ZIP file isn’t previewable or if it’s a RAR file that you received, you can tap on the share icon at the top-right corner to bring up the iOS share sheet.
Step 5. Now, scroll down to the bottom of the share sheet. Depending on whether it’s a ZIP file or RAR file, you can choose to save the email attachment to the Files app or the third-party app (iZip in this case).
Once you’ve saved the RAR or ZIP file, you can use the respective app to uncompress it and view its contents by simply following the other methods that we just discussed above.
Whether you have a ZIP file or a RAR file, you can certainly use these methods to extract and view the contents on your iPhone and iPad. Keep in mind that regardless of what iOS or iPadOS version your device is running, you will still need a third-party app like iZip or Unzip to extract RAR files since the native Files app is not capable of uncompressing RAR files at the moment.
We’re pleased that you were able to finally learn how to open RAR and ZIP files on your iPhone or iPad. Have you found any additional methods for opening RAR files on iOS and iPadOS? If so, feel free to drop your tips and share your experiences in the comments section down below.