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The latest versions of iOS make it easy to download and save Zip files to an iPhone or iPad. This is achieved thanks to the new Files app, which allows an iOS device to interact with files and data directly stored on a device, as well as to access iCloud Drive data.
To use this approach, you must have the Files app on iOS to be able to save and download zip files directly to an iPhone or iPad, as all modern releases do. If your version of iOS does not have the Files app you will need to update it to a newer version that does to use this method. Older iOS devices without Files app can use an alternative method to open zip files in iOS however, though that approach requires a third party app whereas the Files app is native and does not require any other app downloads to iOS in order to interact with zip archives.
Without further adieu, let’s jump into downloading and saving zip files to iOS devices.
How to Save Zip Files to iPhone or iPad
- Open Safari on the iPhone or iPad and navigate to the zip file you want to download and save
- Tap on the link to download the zip file as usual
- A screen will appear in Safari that shows a “zip” archive identifying the file as a zip file and then giving you options for what to do with the zip file, depending on what apps are installed on your iOS device:
- Tap on “Open in ‘Files’” text button and then choose a save destination to download and save the zip file to that location in the Files app, as seen here on iPhone
- Alternatively, tap on the “More…” text button and then select “Save to Files” from the options available there as seen here on iPad
You can often preview zip files in the Files app of iOS, so if you’re interested in doing that then launch the Files app directly on the iPhone or iPad and you can check out the zip file you just saved and downloaded to the device, or to iCloud Drive.
While this allows you to download and save zip files to an iPhone or iPad, unfortunately the iOS Files app and does not include a native unzip or zip function, meaning you will still need to rely on a third party app like WinZip or Zip Viewerto be able to open and extract zip files on an iPhone or iPad. Perhaps one day iOS for the iPad and iPhone will gain native zip archive extraction technology, much like what is available in the highly productive Mac OS environment by default with zip and unzip capabilities on the Mac directly in Finder, but until (or if ever) that happens, third party tools will be required to perform these common zip archive management activities in the iOS side of things.
Remember, Files app has direct access to iCloud Drive, so if the iPhone or iPad is sharing an Apple ID and iCloud account with another device using iCloud Drive the files would be accessible from there too, like on a Mac or another iOS device.
Saving zip files onto an iPhone or iPad is somewhat similar to saving email attachments from the iOS Mail app, as well as saving files from other locations and other file types, unless the file type in question is a movie or a picture, in which case if you’re attempting to save an image file from Safari on iPhone or from the web to an iPhone or iPad, then the image file would default to being saved into the Photos app where it would remain inaccessible from Files app, or if it’s a .mov video file then that would be saved into the Photos app too but in a Video folder, which is also inaccessible from the Files app of iOS for whatever reason. That doesn’t mean you can’t save images and videos to iCloud Drive and in Files app however, and if you save a zip file full of images or movie files into Files app or iCloud Drive then those images will stay within Files app too, but it just means the Files app and iCloud Drive can not access the Photos app photos and video files, and vice versa. Perhaps a future release of iOS will link the two file storage locations in iOS, but for now that is not the case.