Zipping a folder on mac

A safe bet is to open the zip file without extracting the content within, in order to preview what is contained in the file for information on how to do so, see below. One of the worst types of zip file attacks is called a zip bomb pictured , which can hide thousands of terabytes of information inside a miniscule file.

A zip bomb will cause your computer to crash and your hard drive to become unresponsive. If you recognize the information and content within the source, you are free to proceed with extracting the zipped file. You can also run the file through your antivirus software. Though computers running older versions of Windows used to need a third-party tool in order to zip and unzip files, computers running MacOS have had the option to compress and decompress files for years built right into the operating system, making it easy to zip and unzip files as needed.

How to make a zip file on your Mac computer, to save some storage space and clear digital clutter

First, find the file or folder you want to zip. No matter whether you are compressing a single file or a folder, the compression system with Archive Utility works the same. To open the compression menu, right-click on the file or folder inside Finder or on your desktop. Depending on the size of your file or folder, it may take some time to finish the compression step. For small files, the compression will occur almost immediately, and you will see a new file in the same directory as the unzipped file.

Unzipping your file or folder, or unzipping a file or folder sent to you over the web, is just as easy as compressing the document. Locate the. To unzip the file, just double-click.

The Easiest Way to Archive Files on a Mac

A new, unzipped file will appear in the same folder or directory as the zipped file. While compressing and decompressing files on MacOS is incredibly easy, creating a password-protected zip file on your Mac takes a little more patience and effort than simply right-clicking on a file. Though MacOS can create a password-protected compressed file without the aid of an additional program or application, you will have to use Terminal on your Mac to enter commands manually into your computer.

If you have never used Terminal before, it can seem terrifying or even impossible to do correctly.

Your Answer

Rest assured, though — entering commands into your computer is a pretty simple task as long as you follow the instructions laid out below. Alternatively, you can use third-party software such as WinZip which, despite the name, does have a Mac version or Keka, an open-source alternative to WinZip, to place a password on your compressed files without having to use the command line. Press enter to set your directory. Once you have entered your directory and made sure the file or folder you wish to zip and password-protect is in the proper location, enter the following command without quotes and without brackets.

Make sure to enter the file extension of your corresponding file; here, the file extension is. Finally, make sure the zip file you are creating matches the name of your original file or folder e. Once you hit enter from this command, you will be prompted to enter a password into Terminal. You will notice that even though Terminal has a cursor, it appears that nothing is being entered into the field on your computer and the terminal is not moving.

This is entirely normal and expected, and is treated as a privacy aspect of Terminal. Although it seems like nothing is being entered, Terminal is tracking which keys you enter. Since you cannot check your password to verify a lack of typos, be as careful as possible when typing it out; a typo can render your zip file inaccessible.

Hit enter, then enter your password again to verify. This new zip file can be sent to anyone regardless of operating system. Now that you know how to use Terminal, you can check the contents of a zip file without opening it. As above, use Terminal to navigate to the folder where your zip file is. The resulting dialog will show you the files inside the zip file, when they were created, their original file names, and their original size.


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Compressed files take up less space on your Mac's hard disk than single uncompressed files, making compression is a handy technique to learn: Every byte can count if you're short on space or when you're sending a file to someone else over the Internet. Luckily, the Mac has built-in file compression to make it easy to keep your hard drive free and clear.

The Mac's built-in compression and decompression option uses the ZIP format, which also happens to be one of the most commonly used archive file formats on the Internet. It's a lossless data compression scheme, which means that your file will remain exactly the same after being compressed then decompressed—you won't lose any data.

How to reduce your PDF File size on Mac OS X

A couple of notes before we get started: The actual amount of file compression on a ZIP file will vary depending on its contents. Some types of data are more compressible than others.

Unzip from the Finder

Also, file compression can take time. Macs with faster processors and more RAM can compress and decompress files much faster than slower Macs. File compression also changes the file type to a. ZIP archive, which will make it more difficult to view and check its contents. As such, I wouldn't recommend using this technique to routinely archive everything on your hard disk. But if you have a big archive of, say, images you won't need access to, it can be a handy tool to keep your hard drive from filling up too fast. Regardless, if you've never compressed a file before, it's worth the experiment.

You should find out if ZIP archiving will save you enough time and enough space to make it worth your while: You may find that you can save hundreds of gigabytes this way, or you may ultimately decide it's more worth your while to simply buy a large external hard drive instead. There are also third-party utilities that can help you compress and decompress files, too, and they'll work with many non-ZIP formats. One of the most historically popular commercial Mac compression apps is called StuffIt — it supports features like encryption and password protection, support for Apple's Automator software and more.

When you're ready to decompress a ZIP file, just double-click on it. The Mac will do the rest.

So, what is a ZIP file?

As with compressing, the original file in this case, the ZIP archive will remain intact, and the Mac will extract the files right next to it. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.