Apps For Mac Archives

Apps For Mac Archives

Apps For Mac Archives

Apps For Mac Archives

Utility  •  Updated on July 27, 2020

Editor’s note (July 27, 2020): Recently Betterzip turns 5. The big upgrade we have tested, and we are confident it’s still our top pick!

Wait. What? Archiving files? Easy peasy, right? Compressing / decompressing files and folders is a time honored routine for us.

And archive utilities are so common and widely used that every OS has something built-in.

The case is no different for macOS either. You can find an Archive Utility on every Mac that is shipped.

But the question is, is it enough?

Jump to…

Is the native Archive utility on macOS enough?

I mean, if you are someone who sends an email once a month with a few attachments, it would be. However, there are times when you have to really compress files, you know. You want to squeeze it so tight that you want to save as much space as possible. This is where the issue begins.

We are not saying that the native Archive Utility is bad. It’s just not enough for people who need a bit more control over the compression process. While Archive Utility integrates so well with macOS, it does not offer any kind of control.

You can’t even change the format of the archive. By default, it becomes an file. And, what’s more, you can’t even think of changing the compression ratios. As we said earlier, sometimes, you need a tougher compression even if it takes time.

Now, these are just some reasons why you need third-party macOS apps for archiving and unarchiving files.

Choosing the best archive/unarchive app for Mac

Hands down, we all need control over the compression process. But, it does not mean compromising every other value-adding thing. So, we used a simple yet effective framework to pick the best Mac apps to archive and unarchive files.

  • We needed the file archive app to have an Intuitive User Interface. This means the user can use the tool without being a coder or anything.
  • The archiver/unarchiver app should offer Different Levels of Compressiontechniques and formats. It’s a great feature while choosing between time and performance.
  • Integration with macOS is also essential. We want to have quick-access actions in Finder and in the Services menu — so that archiving/unarchiving wouldn’t require us to open the app.
  • Additional Features like compression testing, presets, and integration with other apps also add value to the overall user experience.
  • The best archiver/unarchiver app for macOS should also support Different Levels of Encryption. We also appreciate an option to password-protect compressed files with ease.
  • The archive utility should support Various File Types. It should be able to read not just those standard files like ZIP and RAR, but also unique ones like TAR and 7zip.

With these ideas in our mind, we have chosen some of the best Mac apps you can count on. Don’t worry — we have included both free and paid options from the market.

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

The pick — BetterZip 5

We think BetterZip 5 is the synonym for a powerful archive utility for Mac. It packs many features that you wish the in-built Archive Utility on Mac had. It also checks all the central boxes when it comes to integration, features, security, and more. However, there is more to BetterZip 5 than simple archiving and unarchiving. These additional features are one of the reasons why BetterZip 5 topped our list.

Compared to the native utility on Mac, you get a variety of features and advanced compatibility. These are some of the reasons why a lot of people go for BetterZip. With the latest version, the developers have brought an even better integration and other elements into the package.

What Makes BetterZip 5 Great?

Let’s have a look at some features that make BetterZip 5 the best archiving tool for Mac.

Intuitive UI

Unlike the macOS Archive Utility, BetterZip 5 comes with a fully-fledged interface. When combined with system-wide integration, you can archive/unarchive files through different methods. You can drag and drop to-be-compressed files into the interface. In a single click, BetterZip 5 would compress the data and save the archive file. This interface is excellent if you want to create a ZIP file by bringing files from different locations. It is also easier to manage when you have to create subfolders, arrange related data, etc.

Advanced Compatibility

According to the developers, BetterZip 5 can open and archive more than 30 types of archive files. Some of the additional features may vary, but the basic tasks work fine. We don’t want to put the full list here. Though it’s not a dedicated tool, you can use BetterZip 5 for opening and editing ePub files as well. You can get a peek into the ePub file and make smaller edits.

Encryption Option

As we said, BetterZip 5 offers complete support for enterprise-level encryption. If you want to email a file or upload it to cloud services, you should consider encrypting the data using BetterZip 5. It uses the best level of encryption — AES 256. To make the processes useful and intuitive, the developers have also added a built-in password generator and manager.

BetterZip is so intelligent that it can suggest strong passwords as you create an encrypted document. It will also save these passwords and apply them when you open that file again.


Presets are perhaps the best thing you would find in BetterZip 5 while managing multiple archived files. You can set up different sets of actions to happen when you open a ZIP file. If you choose the particular preset while opening, the actions would go according to the command. And, BetterZip 5 Presets also work with the other automation/productivity apps out there.

Integration & Productivity

As you may have noticed earlier, BetterZip 5 integrates very well with the macOS system. You can access quick archive/unarchive commands from the BetterZip submenu from the contextual menu. Besides, BetterZip 5 lets you place your presets on the Finder window. This means you can do the compression in a single click — without even opening the actual software. BetterZip 5 also works fine with other productivity apps like Alfred, LaunchBar, DropZone, and Hazel.

Pros and cons


  • Performance-friendly User Interface
  • Well-integrated with macOS
  • Plenty of Customization, Control, and Features
  • Third-party integration options


  • The UI could be simpler
  • Lacks cloud-based sync features
Availability & pricing

BetterZip 5 is available for macOS devices only. It works fine with almost all the Macs out there, and it works fine on macOS Catalina as well.

BetterZip 5 costs $24.95 for the full version, but you can always download the free variant.

What’s more, it’s also available on Setapp.

The verdict

We’d stick to what we said in the beginning: BetterZip 5 is the best Mac app to archive and unarchive files! It blends some of the best features and an intuitive UI, providing the best experience. In a showdown, the reasons to recommend BetterZip 5 outweigh the reasons not to.

So, on any day, BetterZip 5 will be a better alternative to the native Archive Utility.

Also great — WinZip for Mac

If you recently shifted from Windows to macOS, you’d have heard of WinZip. Before OSs started including their utility software, WinZip was the best way to create and extract archived files. As it turns out, WinZip for Mac is an excellent app for archiving and unarchiving files too. Let’s have a quick look.

Just like we saw in the case of BetterZip 5, it’s incredibly easy to set up and start using WinZip for Mac. The whole installation process takes just a few seconds. One problem is that we could not find the quick access entries in the Services menu. It means that you have to open WinZip for Mac every time you have to archive files. You can, however, open archived files using the Open With menu.

To unarchive files, you can open the file using WinZip for Mac or drag the file into the interface. There are a few advantages: the software automatically unzips the file and shows you a preview. So, you can know which file you are saving even before you do. Once you finish previewing the file, you can simply extract the files. Or, if you are trying to make a new archive, hit Save to proceed.

On a related note, however, we loved the User Interface. It’s great for moving files between the archive and different directories on your Mac.

What Makes WinZip 5 Great?

WinZip for Mac does not have as many customization options as we’ve seen in BetterZip. Still, it’s somewhat good to go.

Format support

WinZip for Mac supports only three major compression formats when it comes to archiving. You can choose between ZIP, ZIPX and LHA, depending on the intensity of compression you need. You can also pick one from 128-bit and 256-bit Encryption tech. Unlike BetterZip, however, WinZip for Mac does not have any advanced options while archiving. You can, however, use the app to open a wide variety of archived files.

Direct cloud upload

An impressive feature we found in WinZip for Mac was the ability to upload compressed files directly to the cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and ZIPShare. You have to connect the accounts once, and everything else goes like clockwork. Another advantage with WinZip for Mac is that the files you archive here would work seamlessly on PC as well.

Additional tools

We also spotted a few additional tools inside the WinZip for Mac interface. For instance, you can watermark, encrypt and resize files from the main interface itself. These are quite handy when you want to email a ZIP file or do something else for the web. Unlike other tools we’ve seen, WinZip for Mac also lets you pick from multiple viewing options.

The compatibility factor

This is one of the areas where WinZip for Mac has to improve drastically. While the application can extract almost all types of archived files, it doesn’t offer many choices when it comes to archiving. You’re restricted to just three models. That is, even if you need a relatively higher form of compression, there is nothing to do about it in WinZip for Mac.


We also think the Integration part of WinZip for Mac could be better. Of course, you can open files using the app but creating an archive must have a simple alternative option. It’s the lack of integration that actually removes some of the crucial features from the package, we think. During the review, we found no support for third-party productivity apps either.

Pros and Cons


  • Simple UI
  • Archives work well with Windows PCs
  • Useful features are built-in


  • Not that Compatible
  • Integration could be better
  • Lacks customizability
Availability & pricing

WinZip is available for macOS, iOS, Android, and Windows. You can choose as per your needs and enjoy the same UI everywhere.

WinZip for Mac costs $35.34, but there is an evaluation version that you can try for an extended period.


As we said, WinZip for Mac is also great, but it’d never be a replacement for our top pick. You should go for WinZip if you need a tool that you are familiar with. There are obviously some downsides such as the lack of customization, but it’s still a worthy consideration.

Other paid options

Obviously, BetterZip and WinZip are not the only archive/unarchive tools for macOS. If you are ready to pay, you can consider some of the following options too.

Archiver 3

Are you looking for an inexpensive, easy to use archiver app for macOS? Then, you should definitely consider something like Archiver 3. Despite the small footprint, Archiver 3 is quite powerful. For instance, you will be able to archive files into 8 different formats, including RAR that requires a third-party tool.

In addition to powerful compression, Archiver 3 also offers the options for encrypting your archive. If you’ve selected all these, however, everything else is simple enough. Compared to other tools in the market, it has a super-fast compression process. Also, it lets you export or locate the archived file once it has been saved.

The only limitation here is that you don’t have Services support. Every time you need to create an archive, you will have to open the tool, which is a kind of a bummer. On the bright side, however, Archiver 3 offers a bunch of options like Archive Preview, Split & Combine etc. You would also love the snappy UI of Archiver 3, which makes things rather interesting.

Archiver 3 costs $19.99 but it’s available on Setapp as well.

StuffIt Deluxe Mac 16

StuffIt Deluxe Mac 16 is another great option if you are looking for a paid archiver tool for Mac. It’s actually a package that consists of Stuffit Archive Manager, Stuffit Destinations and Stuffit Magic Menu. Designed for a corporate environment, there are some super-useful features as well.

Stuffit Archive Manager would help you create and extract ZIP, RAR, TAR and Stuffit X archives. In addition to this, this archive management software provides ample control over the process as well. At the very same time, Stuffit Destinations is automating the whole process.

By creating certain destinations, you can compress, set up and send compressed files in a single click. It even shows you notifications when the action has been completed. Apart from these, StuffIt Deluxe Mac 16 also offers tight integration with cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. So, you can ensure that the compressed file reaches the right place.

StuffIt Deluxe Mac 16 is available for macOS and costs $19.95.

Free Mac app options

This may be something you all have been waiting for. You don’t necessarily have to pay something in order to get an archive manager for Mac. And, here are some of the best free tools you can try.

The Unarchiver

Are you fine with a tool that lets you unarchive files? Then, you should consider The Unarchiver. This tool is now being owned by MacPaw, a developer behind several awesome software solutions. One thing to be noted here is that you cannot archive files using this tool. For that, you need something else. If you can live with that limitation, The Unarchiver is a great choice.

On the bright side, The Unarchiver has a really simple interface. You can get started with the tool in no time, thanks to the easy installation process. On any day, The Unarchiver will be more powerful than the native Archive Utility app. On top of this, there is unparalleled compatibility as well. As it happens, The Unarchiver does a better job than paid software when it comes to extracting certain file types.

The Unarchiver is available for macOS and is completely free to use.


Keka is what I call the ultimate free app for archive management. It offers an amazing level of compatibility, features and performance than some of the so-called paid apps. Most importantly, Keka integrates quite well into the macOS system. You can access the actions from the Services menu and make the preferences by launching the app.

Keka will be able to archive content to 9 types of archive files and extract content from 20+ formats. It simply means that you won’t need another archiving tool if you have Keka. But, that is only if you are fine with the basic life. It seriously lacks some advanced features like filtering or pre-sets. On the other hand, if you just need clean compression, you should go for Keka.

Keka is available for macOS and is completely free to use.


In the simplest terms, iZip is an old-school Mac app for archiving and unarchiving files. It comes with one of the oldest UIs we have seen and offers a wizard-like process for creating the compression. Despite the huge nature of it, the program does not offer any scope for customization either. Even then, we would suggest it if you are going for something basic.

Despite the wizard, iZip doesn’t seem to have unnecessary steps. In each step, you can add the files, decide whether you need encryption and a few other questions. At the end of the day, you will have the standard ZIP file in the preferred location. And, that we think matters the most in this process. In addition, iZip does not take up much space either.

iZip is completely free to use and is available for macOS.

Archiving and unarchiving files with ease

We have tried to present before you a diverse collection of Mac apps to archive and unarchive files. The idea was to provide you with enough choice that you can make the right decision.

Even if the Mac has a built-in option to an archive file. These Mac archiver apps are offering premium features such as password protection, drag and drop archive, etc.

Also note that due to sandboxing requirements with the Mac App Store, some Unarchiver apps require authorization the first time you extract an archive. If that step bothers you, you can download a non-Mac App Store (and, thus, non-sandboxed) version of the app or get third-party pro-level apps we tested above.

If you are ready to pay for cool features and productivity, you should go for BetterZip. On the other hand, if you are okay with some limited features, you have some free apps to choose from as well. We hope this article helps you choose the best.

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, Apps For Mac Archives

Archive utility Mac apps: the best way to compress files

What does the word archiver mean?

The archiver is a program for the simultaneous packaging of one or any other number of files in order to conveniently copy, send, and store them. Thanks to the compression methods, archivers allow reducing the size of files that are added to them. Another useful feature of many archivers is the ability to set a password for the created archive, after which the user will not be able to open any of the files contained in the archive and, moreover, will not be able to extract these files from it. Below you will find the main reasons to compress files on Mac computers.

Overview of popular archive formats


The name of the most popular archive format in the world began its long life with PKWare. Today it is already difficult to imagine life without this archive format. The format supports splitting archives into parts, password protection, adding comments. The main plus of ZIP is its ubiquity and support even by those programs that have an indirect relation to archives.


GZ (GZIP, GNU ZIP) uses the same file compression algorithm as regular ZIP. This format is widespread in the world of UNIX systems, it does not support anything except, in fact, compression. In terms of compression quality, GZIP also cannot compete with more modern formats, but it does not really need it as in the UNIX world, this format is as common as ZIP in everything else.


If GZIP cannot pack several files into one archive, this does not mean that users of UNIX systems do not need to create archives from several files. TAR format comes to rescue here, which does not support data compression, but allows you to combine several different files inside.


This format was developed by Eugene Roshal. The compression quality of this format is superior to ZIP, and for some types of data it is very noticeable. The main advantage of RAR is a highly effective compression, provided both by the efficiency of the algorithm and the ability to compress the files in the archive as a single data stream. Another plus is its good resistance to various damages, especially if during archiving special information was added to restore it.


7Z is positioned as an archive format with high compression efficiency. It really compresses well, but at the same time requires a lot of memory. The same thing when unpacking, which is also not a good thing. It’s worth mentioning that, in terms of compression quality, 7Z can sometimes even surpass RAR, but it does not happen very often.

5 reasons to compress files on Mac

Cataloging. While archiving, the entire file structure with folders, subfolders, files in them, is compressed into one file. When unpacking the archive, you will get exactly the same structure. Imagine that you need to transfer over the network all the contents of a disk, let’s say D (E, G, F the letter doesn’t matter). And there are hundreds or thousands of folders on it...

It will take a lot of time to transfer them considering the fact that online data storages usually cannot upload more than one or several files at a time. With Mac archiver utilities everything is simple - you create an archive of a disk D and transfer all the data in a single file (archive). After unpacking you will have an exact copy of your disk D on the remote computer.

Compression. Almost any files on a computer can be compressed using special algorithms, reducing their size. Sometimes it is possible to reduce the size of the archive compared to the original data several times. Of course, you cannot use the data until you unpack it, but if you store rarely used information on your hard drive, then archiving it is the best way to save disk space. Below in this article, you will find an answer on “How to compress files on Mac with ease?”

Data safety. Archive software provides the ability to add to the archive recovery information, which will help restore the archive if it is damaged (for example, on a bad hard drive or external media). It is obvious that this will increase the archive size. However, taking into account the compression of the files, you will not notice much difference compared to the size of the original data. Besides that, if you need to hide files from someone’s eyes, then archiving files with a subsequent password is an excellent solution. Most archiver programs have this feature and you can easily set a password that protects the necessary data. Be serious about choosing a password in this case, it should not be too simple and obvious, but it is important to remember it because there will be no recovery path with secret questions. This method is also not ideal, more and more programs appear on the network that can pick up passwords and crack archives.

Space-saving. If your hard drive is not large enough and there is always not enough space, try storing files that you do not want to delete or simply feel pity to delete in archives. For example, working documents, which you have on your computer just in case, as files placed in the archive are not deleted from their usual place on the computer. So if you want to save space, compress files on Mac and feel free to delete files after archiving them, as it can be unpacked at any time.

It is important to remember that not all files are compressed with significant savings, for example, the size of photos is reduced from every 100 MB by only a few MB and at the same time, Microsoft Word documents or files in the Adobe Photoshop graphics editor are compressed significantly: from fifty MB to three MB. Music and video files are also compressed slightly, but if their number is impressive, then you can add it to the archive.

File transfer. When transferring files on the Internet, for example, by e-mail or on Skype, we cannot attach the entire folder to the message, but only individual photos or documents. Therefore, it is extremely convenient to make one file out of many elements for transmission, in this case, the archiver comes to the rescue. For example, you can send the entire folder "Holiday photos" at once, creating from them a single file - an archive. What is also worth mentioning is that its transmission will be faster than usual, because the size has become smaller.

Is built-in Mac archive utility enough to work with archives?

As you already know, file archiving has long been a common practice, but if we are talking about Mac devices, their users are faced with the difficulties of working with the archived data. Because the built-in Mac archive utility supports formats such as GZIP and ZIP only, and you will not be able to create an archive or open an archive of any other popular format. In addition, don’t think that you can change compression ratios, because you simply cannot. Taking all these factors into account Mac users have to think about installing additional archive software to be able to work with different archive formats and way more.

The standard Mac archive utility is hidden in the system folder. However, there are a couple of backup settings that you might need to change. The fastest way to get direct access to a built-in Mac archiver is to select in the Finder upper menu Transition → Go to folder .... In the window for entering the path, enter /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications and click Go. In the list of applications, you can find the Archive Utility element. If you double-click it, the program will launch. Then, in the top menu bar, click Archiving Utility → Settings ....

In the window that appears, you can make some changes both to unzip the compressed files and to create them yourself. You can change the location of both the created archives and the extracted information using the options “Save expanded files” and “Save archive ”. You can also set the program’s actions after archiving and unzipping in the “After archiving” and “After expanding” drop-down lists. After making the changes, the settings window just needs to be closed.

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Apps For Mac Archives

The Mac Security Blog

Apple + How To

Understanding Compressed Files and Apple’s Archive Utility

Posted on April 18th, 2018 by Kirk McElhearn

Compressed files and archives are very common. 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. The Archive Utility app has some options that may make working with archives easier. In this article, you’ll learn about compressed files and Archive Utility, and we’ll show you some options you can adjust that will make working with compressed files easier.

Where is the Archive Utility?

Archive Utility is a small app hidden in a system folder. To access Archive Utility on your Mac, go to /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications. Here you’ll find Archive Utility along with some other apps that you may occasionally use, such as About this Mac, Network Utility and Screen Sharing. All of these apps are generally launched in other ways, but not by double-clicking. About this Mac launches when you click the Apple menu and choose About this Mac. You can launch Screen Sharing by choosing Go > Connect to Server in the Finder.

How to use Archive Utility

In most cases, you’ll use Archive Utility without launching it directly. If you want to compress a file, a folder, or a group of items, select it/them, then right click and choose Compress [item name]. Archive Utility launches, compresses the item(s), and then it quits.

The same is the case if you receive a .zip archive and want to expand it; just double-click the archive. Archive Utility opens, decompresses the archive, and then it quits.

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.

Archive Utility Preferences

If you launch Archive Utility, then choose Archive Utility > Preferences, you see a small window with a number of options.

Archive Utility preferences can be very useful if you work with compressed files often. There are two sections to the window, with a horizontal rule dividing them. The top section controls what happens when you decompress archives. These settings are as follows:

Save expanded files lets you choose to save decompressed archives in the same folder as the original, or in a specific folder. If you want to use a different location, click the popup menu and choose Into, then select a folder. This can be useful if you get lots of .zip archives—such as daily backups, or database dumps—and want to automatically store them in a specific location after expanding them.

After expanding lets you leave the archive where it is, move it to the Trash, or delete it (without putting it in the Trash). You can choose one of these options from the popup menu. You can also choose Move archive to, and select a folder, if you want to save your archives.

Reveal expanded item(s) in Finder tells Archive Utility to select the decompressed file or folder and bring its window to the front. If you don’t move the expanded files to a different folder, you probably don’t need to change this.

Keep expanding if possible tells Archive Utility to decompress any archives it finds within an archive. This isn’t common, but there are some types of archives that may present like this, such as Unix archives that first use a .tar compressed, then a .gz compression.

The bottom section, below the horizontal line, tells Archive Utility how to create compressed archives.

If you want to tell Archive Utility where to save the archives you create, from the Save archive popup menu, choose Into, then select a location. Otherwise, they are created in the same folder as the original items.

You can use one of three archive formats. Compressed archive, regular archive, and Zip archive.

  • A Compressed archive is a .cpgz archive. This is used on Unix and Linux, and you won’t want to use this format unless you’re sending archives to a computer running one of these operating system.
  • A Regular archive is a .cpio archive, which combines multiple files in a single file without compressing them. As above, you won’t need to use this unless you’re working with other operating systems.
  • A Zip archive is what we’re all familiar with; it combines and compresses files, in some cases reducing the overall size by half or more. It both saves space, and makes it easy to manage large numbers of files. It’s also the most compatible, being readable on both macOS and Windows.

After archiving, Archive Utility can leave files alone (do nothing to them), move them to the Trash, or delete them (without moving them to the Trash). You can also check Reveal archive in Finder to have Archive Utility show you archives when it’s finished. This can be useful if you create large archives that can take several minutes to create, and want a sort of notification when they’re finished.

I prefer to leave all the settings at their defaults, with the exception of the After expanding option; I’ve set that to move archives to the Trash. It’s rare that you’ll need to keep an expanded archive, and this saves time, because you won’t have to manually trash them. You may want to change other settings, especially if you need to keep your .zip archives, or want to expand them in a different location from where you access them (often the Downloads folder).

Archive Utility is an essential tool. With the awareness that you can change some of its settings, you’ll find it easier to work with archives.

New to Mac? Learn more macOS tips at Intego’s New Mac User Center!

Want to get the most out of your new MacBook, iMac or other Apple computer? Whether this is your first laptop or you’ve just switched from Windows, there are a few things you should know about your new Mac, like basic keyboard shortcuts or how to use the various features macOS has to offer. Learn more about what your Mac computer can do for you at the Intego New Mac User Center: Get started now!

About Kirk McElhearn

Kirk McElhearn writes about Macs, iPods, iTunes, books, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He is co-host of the Intego Mac Podcast and PhotoActive, and a regular contributor to The Mac Security Blog, TidBITS, and several other websites and publications. Kirk has written more than twenty books, including Take Control books about iTunes, LaunchBar, and Scrivener. Follow him on Twitter at @mcelhearn. View all posts by Kirk McElhearn → This entry was posted in Apple, How To and tagged archive, Archive Utility, Compress Files, productivity. Bookmark the permalink.
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What’s New in the Apps For Mac Archives?

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System Requirements for Apps For Mac Archives

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