How to Download and Open Zip Files on Android for Unpacking Goodies

Download and Open Zip Files on Android

ZIP files are extremely common for packing files meant for business, entertainment, and anything else you can imagine. If you have more than one file to send over the internet, it needs to be in a ZIP or even a RAR file. Messing around with ZIP files is easy on a PC, but what about your Android device?

If you’re dealing with a stock Android, downloading a ZIP file won’t be easy depending on your version of Android. However, on more recent versions of Android, downloading a ZIP file is as easy as tapping the file you want. Before I get into the opening of, or even downloading a ZIP file, let’s go into what a ZIP file actually is.

What is a ZIP File?

A ZIP file is a lot like a folder, except in this case; it’s compressed. A ZIP file can hold a large number of files inside of it, and can then be unzipped so you can get to the files inside. A ZIP file is much like a RAR file, and can be unpacked (or unzipped) the same way.


If you’re concerned about opening RAR files, unpacking RAR files on Android is just as easy, if not easier. While I’m on concerns, not every ZIP file you open up is safe. Some ZIP files can contain malicious files, so always backup your important data before opening a ZIP file from a new source. 

How Do I Download a ZIP File?

Starting the download process for a ZIP file only takes seconds, but depending on how big the file is; it can take minutes to download the file completely. On a more recent version of Android, you can just tap the file you want to download it.


However, on older versions, this might not be possible.

If you’re running a version of Android that can’t download ZIP files on its own, then you need to download an app that can do it for you. For that, there’s File Downloader. You can download the app below for free, and then start using it as soon as possible.

File Downloader

Google Play download button

The images on the download page provide step by step instructions on how to use the app. It’s as easy as copying your download link, opening the app, and pasting it in the box.


Now that you know how to download a ZIP file, how do you open it? If you used File Downloader, you can see your ZIP file in your downloads, but you can’t unzip it from there, can you?

To unzip one of these compressed files, you need another app. This can be a file manager, or an app specifically made for ZIP files. I’ll go through some examples of each, and show you how to use them.


Time: 2 Minutes

Method 1: ES File Explorer

ES File Explorer is one of the most well-known file explorers on Google Play, and it deserves its recognition. ES File Explorer can not only unzip your ZIP files, but it can additionally open the files inside. If you want to open ZIP files with ease, a file explorer is never a bad option to explore.

  1. If you don’t have it already, download ES File Explorer, there’s a link for it below.

    ES File Explorer

    Google Play download button

    This is the free version of the app, but for what we’re doing; you don’t need Pro version features. If you still want to purchase the Pro version, you have the option to upgrade inside the app for $2.99 (or your regional equivalent).

  2. Now that the app is installed, open it up and take a look around the main menu to familiarize yourself with the interface. When you’re done with that, take a look at the magnifying glass on the top bar.


  3. Tap the magnifying glass and search for the name of your downloaded ZIP file. Additionally, you can use the directory to search for it. If you can’t remember the name, but can’t use the directory, just search for “.zip” instead.

    Once you’ve started your search, you’ll see your ZIP file almost instantly.


  4. There are two ways you can open a ZIP file in ES File Explorer:

    • You can tap the file once to be taken to a new screen that displays the ZIP’s contents.
    • You can longpress the ZIP file, and then put in the command to extract the files somewhere else.

    If you just tap the file, the new screen will look something like this:


    I only have one file inside this ZIP, but don’t worry, it doesn’t matter how many files you have inside yours; you’ll be able to see all of them.

    If you’re trying to extract your file(s) somewhere else, just long press the ZIP file you want to open, and then tap the three vertical dots in the top-right corner.


    Now tap Extract to, and then choose where you want to extract your files. After you make the selections, your files will be ready to manage.

  5. Since you’re already in a file manager, you can use your unzipped files in any way you want, so you’re all ready to go.

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Time: 2 Minutes

Method 2: File Commander

File Commander is another file explorer/manager, but the one that I prefer using instead of ES File Explorer. It may not claim the #1 spot in the Google Play Store over ES, but I feel like it’s much easier to use and better for ZIP files.

If you don’t believe me, why don’t you give it a shot?

  1. If you don’t already have File Commander, you can download it here:

    File Commander

    Google Play download button

    Once the download and installation is finished, open the app and take in the sights for a moment to familiarize yourself with File Commander’s user interface.


  2. If you’ve downloaded the ZIP file you want to unzip, you can find it in your downloads tab of File Commander. I can see my ZIP with just a tap of the button.


    But if you can’t see your ZIP this way, make use of the search bar at the top of the screen to search for your ZIP file by name. If you can’t remember the name, just search by “.zip” to find all of the ZIP files on your device.

  3. Once you’ve found your file, all you need to do is tap it to access the files inside.


    If you don’t want to view the file(s) right there, you can also tap the three vertical dots to the side of any file(s) to open a new options menu. On this menu you can select “Extract to” so you can extract the file(s) to anywhere you want.

  4. After you’ve extracted your files, they’re ready to use at a moment’s notice within your file manager.

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Time: 1 Minute

Method 3: WinZip – Zip Unzip Tool

WinZip isn’t much of a file manager, but it is the first app mentioned when unzipping comes up. If you don’t want to deal with all the fluff of a file manager just to unzip some documents, WinZip is your ticket to a simple way to get your files.

In addition to unzipping, WinZip can ZIP files at the same time, making this app a handy package.


  1. If you don’t already have WinZip, now’s the time to download it below.

    WinZip – ZIP Unzip Tool

    Google Play download button

    WinZip only has a free version available on the Google Play Store, but there isn’t much need for a Pro version in the first place.

  2. The menu for WinZip may seem a little confusing at first, since there’s a distinct lack of immediately visible options.


    But once you get the hang of navigating the app, it’s one of my favorites to use for zipping and unzipping. At this point, you can either tap further into your storage or tap the horizontal bars on the left to open more options.

    If your ZIP file(s) aren’t on your SD card, then you’ll want to tap the horizontal bars to open up different options.

  3. Before we go any further, take a look at the options menu I mentioned in the previous step.


    From here you can choose from a number of places to unzip files from. This even includes Google Drive and Dropbox. So if you have a ZIP file in your Dropbox or Drive that you need to unzip, you can do it from there directly.

  4. I haven’t found a way to access a search bar in my version of WinZip, but you can still explore every directory until you find where your ZIP file is. Currently, my ZIP is my Recent section because I’ve accessed it previously.


    Each file in WinZip has an empty circle next to it. If you give the circle a tap, you’ll select the file. You can do this to multiple files, or just one. If you do this to a ZIP file, you have the option to unzip it below. However, if you do this to an unzipped file, you can ZIP it, and any other files you select together.

    For now, just tap Unzip once you’ve selected your zip file.

  5. You’re given a choice where you want your unzipped file(s) to end up, and your options are fairly vast. If you want to upload the file(s) directly to your Google Drive, or a Dropbox, you can.


    Once you’ve done this, your files are all ready to use.

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Time: 1 Minute

Method 4: AndroZip™ FREE File Manager

AndroZip is another unzipping tool that just focuses on what you want, unzipping files. The interface is simple to move around in, and your extracted files are automatically sent to AndroZip’s extraction folder. You can find this folder in another file manager, or AndroZip itself to see your extracted files.

  1. First things first, download AndroZip if you don’t have it installed already.

    AndroZip™ FREE File Manager

    Google Play download button

    If you don’t want to stick with the free version, a Pro version is available (for $2.99) in the recommended apps, and the app itself. However, for zipping and unzipping, the Pro version isn’t required.


  2. This app’s interface may look dated, but it’s thankfully very easy to use because of it. From the very start, to find your file(s), all you need to do is tap the three vertical dots in the top right.


    From there, tap the Search option.

  3. You can now search for the name of your ZIP file(s), or just search for “.zip” to find anything you’re looking for.


    Additionally, you can tap the Advanced button for extra search parameters if you can’t find your file(s).

  4. Once you’ve found your file(s), you can just give them a tap to see their contents. At that point, you can move the contents somewhere else, or just open them from here with another app.


    When you try to open the unzipped files, you’ll be asked what app you want to use. You can use any of the file managers I mentioned earlier, or any other app that you want instead.

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Unzipping on Android has never been easier, and I’m not talking about jackets or pants. Zip files are used constantly in business and everyday life, right alongside RAR files that are just as easy to open on Android. With these apps under your control, you’ll never be locked out of your files.

Are zip files still giving you trouble? You can leave a question below and get an answer right away!

Featured Image Credit


Comments (33)

  1. Zach Collin on

    How do you extract MP3 files and move them to Google Play Music App. I download a bunch of MP3s (legally) and I unpacked them in the Androzip music file but would like to move them to Google Play Music

  2. Kitty J on

    There is an app called File Expert in my Android phone.I use it for file zipping and unzipping.

  3. Dana on

    Said it cannot open my file, I need a different third party app to open it. Suggestions?

  4. Vikki Adams on

    Great & very helpful information. Thank You!
    I’ve been wondering about downloads of any type- zips, PDFs, jpeg, etc. (Bear with me please; it’s a bit difficult for me to explain my android question with my baby-level CPU/Android knowledge; my question initially begins with Windows DLs-as I understand them- but it is a means to be sure I understand how android DLs work). On my CPU in Windows, after I DL something, again of any type, and have saved it in its permanent home in my files, Windows let’s me delete the DL from wherever it was initially DLed to ( ? DLs folder ? ), or ‘somehow’ the DL goes away when I select and click delete yet I don’t lose my DLed files. Whew! My question is: Using my android file manager, does the same apply? If I DL a zip as you’ve taught me above, and um confident it’s saved without damages, can I then delete the ZIP the file came in like on Windows? What about PDFs in DL folder- I guess I’d just move it right? But if I don’t save it elsewhere and FO ahead and delete in DLs, then I lose it, right? What about pictures?

    I don’t know if I’m asking this question in an entirely ‘wrong’ comment section BUT, as you can tell: I’M CONFUSED and I don’t know where to get a specific answer to just this question.

    Thank You so much for your help!

    • Sam on

      Vikki, sorry, I did not understand your question. If you’re asking whether you can delete zip files after unzipping, then yes. The extracted files will remain on your phone. Please re-phrase your question and I will try and help you out. Thanks for the complement though 🙂

  5. hara on

    About my previous question, it seems a simple reboot solved it :), thanks anyway.

  6. Gail on

    If i zipped multiple folders and send it to my android, wil i be able to view the folders and the files inside them? or are these methods only apply to single files that are zipped. (sorry for my bad english)

    • Dani on

      It should work just fine, but I guess it all depends on how much space those zipped files are taking up i.e, Zipping dozens of movie files is certainly not going to fit on your phone.

      • Jose on

        How can you unzip and then install an application you downloaded online? I downloaded a paid game (for free) but I cannot do anything other than unzip it. It unzips and nothing happens, I’ve extracting and compressing it but nothing works. It’s as if I only have a file I can do nothing with.

  7. Claud on

    My phone crapped out on me & had to get a replacement one. I just unzipped my picture files after downloading them from clean master app cloud but can I & how would I move them & put them back into my gallery for easier viewing?!?! I’m not in any way, shape, or form tech savy so just figuring out how to unzip files let alone what a zip was was disastrous in itself please help!!

  8. jasmine on

    I’m not sure if this was covered.. But what if its a hack? I’m trying to open it but I go to my downloads and click on it, and it says it can’t be opened. So I tried this, but its not the same thing. I’m new to this phone so I have no idea what I’m doing. Again, its not pictures I’m trying to open, its a downloaded hack. Please help?

  9. DML on

    I’m trying to download an apk to get the old google maps on my phone. I found this site that has a zip file so I downloaded it, extracted, but I have no idea where the extracted files are and what I need to do after. I didn’t download any zip apps – I just clicked on the zip file from My Files and it asked if I wanted to ‘extract’ but gave me no options on where. Any idea how I can access the files?

    • Judy on

      Hi There,
      I will contact the writer for you to get an answer for your question. Will get back to you. Thanks for commenting.

  10. Jamir Miranda on

    I downloaded a mod for MCPE. The description of the mod says that I need to extract the .zip file of the mod, but I don’t know how. Any suggestions?

    Also, are “extract” and “unzip” synonyms or two different words?

    • Judy on

      Hi Jamir Miranda,
      The apps mentioned in the post will help you unzip your files, but I have used ES File Explorer and for this app just locate the zip>press and hold it>press menu (3 dots on the upper right hand corner)>select extract to>tell it where to extract to and the hit OK. Hope this helps. Extract and Unzip are synonyms in this case. =-)

  11. zulmi on

    I downloaded a hack but every time I extract the file it asks for a password….i am so much confused

  12. Grant Sommer on

    Hi, this is a great resource. I have a galaxy s4, can’t open downloaded files so I got rar app from playstore and I don’t see how to open the files. I like that idea shout backing up first. Please advise. Thank you, Grant.

  13. Lordwicl on

    i downloaded a zip file and extracted it,after extracting i moved the file to sd card/android/obb but when i open the game it says download,what must i do??

    • Judy on

      Hi There,
      Do you think that there could be something wrong with the file itself? =-) Is it from a trustworthy source? =-)

  14. mbavhy on

    hello there I have a problem i downloaded a game for iso so my problem is I try to unzip the file by all this apps you mentioned above still the file is not unzipping what can I do

  15. Vi on


    I want to open a password-protected file contained in a .zip file.

    I just want to open a password-protected file, view the contents and when I tap back arrow, the file closes and not leave any temp extracted file when I close the .zip file also. This way I need not extract the file to any folder on my phone to view the contents.

    I don’t want to extract this password-protected file but just open it (like I open it in Windows PC where Winzip extracts it to a temp location and closing the file and .zip file deletes the temporarily unzipped file).

    Is this possible with either of these apps please?


    • Trevor on

      You can do this with ES Explorer. Personally, I use the paid Pro version and do this all of the time. It works with documents and images for sure. I don’t typically use password protected files, but it looks like it decrypts the zip file, though.

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