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.
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.
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.
If you don’t have it already, download ES File Explorer, there’s a link for it below.
ES File Explorer
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
If you don’t already have File Commander, you can download it here:
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.
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.
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.
After you’ve extracted your files, they’re ready to use at a moment’s notice within your file manager.
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.
If you don’t already have WinZip, now’s the time to download it below.
WinZip – ZIP Unzip Tool
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First things first, download AndroZip if you don’t have it installed already.
AndroZip™ FREE File Manager
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!