Understanding compressed files and Apple’s Archive Utility

“Compressed files and archives are very common,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Intego. “You certainly see these files often—they bear the .zip extension, and contain one or more files that have been shrunk to save space. Archives also allow you to store a number of files in a single file, making them easier to move around or send to others. (For instance, if you sent a hundred text files to someone by email without compressing them, it would be very annoying to receive that many attachments.)”

“Apple’s macOS uses Archive Utility, a small app hidden away in an obscure folder and used to create and decompress .zip files,” McElhearn writes. “The Archive Utility app has some options that may make working with archives easier.”

“Archive Utility is a small app hidden in a system folder. To access Archive Utility on your Mac, go to /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications,” McElhearn writes. “In most cases, you’ll use Archive Utility without launching it directly… However, if you need to create a lot of archives, you might want to launch the app, so you can drag files and folders onto its Dock icon and not have to bother with the contextual menu.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Happy zipping!


  1. As much as I like Apple’s software, I decided a long time ago to use Path Finder as an additional “Finder.”

    Path Finder is far easier to find and manipulate large numbers of files and folders. I have a good memory, but when you have over 100,000 items in your documents folder, finding and moving or combining items can be a pain in the Finder. It is easier with Path Finder. I know there are other such utilities, too, but I live with what I have.

    Path Finder allows working in folders to select files and then one click in its menu will compress those files or compress & put in an email.

    I don’t know if the current Mac OS 11 has this in the Finder menu, but it ought to have it.

  2. The obvious for non-newbies:

    .zip files are not by a long shot the only compression/archive format. They’re the historic standard and the only format macOS itself creates. But piles of other archive formats are commonly used across all computer platforms. There are many free utilities available to both create and open these alternative formats. I’ll compile a list upon request.

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