Unzip Any Archive Using The Unarchiver [Mac]

Justin Pot 13-12-2012

unzip archiveQuickly extract practically any compressed file on the planet. If you’re a Mac user, and Apple’s default unzip tool is struggling to open an archived file, it’s time to install the ultimate tool for the job: The Unarchiver. With support for seemingly every compression format known to man – and a couple not yet discovered – there aren’t many files it can’t open.


Archive Utility, which is included with your Mac, can open ZIP files and a few other formats – but not many. RAR and 7ZIP files, for example, are not supported, frustrating if you spend a lot of time online.

The Unarchiver handles those formats and many more, and is open source to boot. There’s a reason it’s consistently among the top free apps in the Mac App Store to unzip archives: it’s practically a necessity for many Mac users.

Unzip It!

Using The Unarchiver is simple. Double click a supported file and extraction will begin.

unzip archive

It’s a lot like the default program, only it supports more file formats. There’s anther difference, though: you can customize the way it works.


unzip archive mac

You can set The Unarchiver to delete an archive file after extracting, which I did immediately because I’m smart. You can set where unarchived files end up, if you want. You can even set Finder to open the new folder after unarchiving.

You can also pick which file formats The Unarchiver opens by default, and man: there are a lot of options.

Supported File Formats

The Unarchiver can open almost any compressed file. Seriously: it supports just about everything. Here’s just a few of the supported formats:

  • Zip
  • Zipx
  • RAR
  • 7z
  • Tar
  • Gzip
  • Bzip2
  • LZMA, XZ
  • CAB
  • MSI
  • NSIS
  • EXE
  • ISO
  • BIN
  • MDF
  • NRG
  • CDI
  • StuffIt

Many other old and obscure file formats are also supported. These were popular for ancient operating systems, including DOS, Amiga and older versions of the Mac OS.

unzip archive

Some of the supported filetypes are downright weird. For example, you can “uncompress” a PDF file and grab all of the images from it (as bitmaps). You can also extract images and music from any SWF (Flash) file. Even Linux packages (RPM and DEB) can be uncompressed, if you want. Check out the complete list to learn more (Nintendo DS ROMS? Seriously?)

Download The Unarchiver

Ready to download The Unarchiver? Head to the Unarchiver home page for more information and a download link. Or just download The Unarchive from the Mac App Store, if you want.


Command Line Version

But wait: there’s more. A command line version of The Unarchiver, named “unar”, works on Mac, Windows and Linux computers. Download it here.

Ubuntu users can simple type sudo apt-get install unar in the Terminal, because that’s the cool way to install software.


There’s really no reason not to install this app, if you haven’t. I’m frankly surprised we haven’t reviewed it by now, but I suppose that’s only because it’s such an obvious things to download that it’s barely worth mentioning. You probably already have it.

But seriously: if you don’t already have this app, and are consistently confounded by an inability to unzip archives, you should download The Unarchiver.


Because it unarchives…things. Leave your thoughts in the comments below as always – I look forward to it!

Oh, and if you’re a Windows user, and are curious about similar software, check out 7Zip 7Zip: A Free Program to Unzip Uncommon Archive Formats Read More . Like The Unarchiver it supports many different file formats, and is relatively simple to use. PeaZip is another great alternative for Windows PeaZip - A Fantastic Free Alternative To WinRAR Or WinZip Read More .

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  1. Gail
    November 28, 2017 at 12:56 am

    Extracting 7z files from USB. This USB has two lines to extract which I did individually. The first file worked great but the next tells me it will not work with this program. The size is 24.88 the first was a lot less. Any ideas?

  2. jords2027
    March 3, 2016 at 11:01 am

    when i try to use it, it comes up with this weird message in the archive formats section? how do i get rid of this?

    • Justin Pot
      March 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      Is it asking to be the default client for files? Or what?

  3. sophie grant
    December 1, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I am downloading a video viewing utility (canon xf) and this unarchiver is just taking me in circles - am I missing something?

    • Justin Pot
      December 1, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Not sure why that would be, have you tried the default program as well?

  4. Anonymous
    August 31, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    I'm really confused, when I unzip Yandere Simulator, it turns into a exe. and then when I try to open that, it says "Cannot unzip", or something along those lines. I would like to play the game and I need help.

    • Justin Pot
      September 1, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Just looked this up, Yandere Simulator is a Windows-only game isn't it? The EXE is the game itself, you just can't open it on a Mac. Sorry about that.

  5. Anonymous
    June 11, 2015 at 4:05 am

    Thanks for the really helpful guide! ^~^

    • Justin Pot
      June 11, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      I'm glad it could be helpful!

  6. Thomas Petrucha
    December 18, 2012 at 6:37 am

    ... was one of the first tools I´ve installed on my Mac ;)
    ... there a too much archive-proggs but this one is great and practical!

  7. Mac Witty
    December 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    One of the first app to install on a new mac

    • Justin Pot
      December 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      Certainly was for me!

  8. Sonal Khodiyar
    December 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    if you need a faster simple unarchiver for mac, you can also try unrarx. Its from the makers of winrar, but for mac.

  9. Arben Myrtaj
    December 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    It's for MAC, not for me I guess.

    • Justin Pot
      December 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Yeah, but 7zip and Peazip are both great apps for Windows. Linux users are basically covered by default.

  10. GF
    December 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    We are flooded by Zip/Unzip programs. How boring!

    • Justin Pot
      December 13, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      No pattern is intended, we assure you. Lots of non-zipping articles are coming up.

      • GF
        December 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm

        my comment is not a criticism against you and Makeuseof.
        It is a criticism against the world of software, I mean against certain programmers who often reproduce software that practically already exists...

        • Justin Pot
          December 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm

          Got it. Well know that Unarchiver is hardly new; it's been around a long time. It's also probably the best tool for the job on the Mac, and we're only writing it up now because he recently noticed that we never did.

  11. Thehunting Lion
    December 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    How good is this compared to '7zip' , most popular free and open source software ?

    • Justin Pot
      December 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      The Unarchiver supports every format 7zip does, and works the way Mac users expect. So I'd say it compares rather well.