How to open .zip files on the iPhone

There are everyday situations that an iPhone can't cope with. Inexplicably, Apple hasn't found a way yet to unzip files on iOS. How are we supposed to open a zip file in an email attachment? Every month I get a digital version of my payslip in PDF format conveniently contained on a .ZIP file. I don't see why anyone would zip a file that is already meant to be a compressed file format — I this case I reckon they do it for privacy. Anyhow, every month I get the same error: "Mail cannot open this attachment". How can I view this zip file on my iPhone?

There are options if you have jailbroken your device or third party apps, but the problem is that there isn't any out of the box solution for it. Since my iPhone is already crammed with the apps I love using and those that I keep to test and review, I cannot afford to have an extra WinZip app just for this. I probably can, but I feel it's wrong. Instead, I've spent 20 minutes looking for alternative options and I'm sharing them in this post. 


Not precisely a cheap app but it's a great option since it's usually featured on everyone's must-have apps anyway. This is a premium tool that you probably own this already! For those who don't know, GoodReader is a file reader that supports note taking and annotations. Among its endless feature list it also has the ability to unrar and unzip files. Now this is convenient.  

Once the app is installed, tapping on the file on the email attachment area will bring up the dialog window with some buttons. Simply select "Open in…" and the app icon or "Open in GoodReader". This will import the file and automatically launch the app. The documents sidebar should now display a list of the files you've used recently and the one you just imported. Zip files will have the familiar OS X icon from the Mac — a white sheet of paper with an actual zip.


As the name suggests, iFiles is a file manager that acts as the Finder, allowing you to access files controlled by other apps. The app also works as a convenient USB drive where you can manage the information contained in its folders. For our purposes, the app also comes with an integrated zipper to zip and unzip. Combined with the "Open In…" window and a good number of cloud services, iFiles is another paid alternative.

Cloud Readers

As a moderate manga aficionado I use my iPad for occasional reading of digital versions on cbr format. Cloud Readers is a super simple app that will do just that: display books and comics under those odd formats. One of the advantages is the support of ZIP and RAR files, which can be displayed once imported to the app.