Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

An Unzipping Shortcut for iOS

Dr. Drang:

I’ve been planning to write a post about the new Apple products for over a week, but I keep getting distracted. Today, I went to Apple’s PR pages for the MacBook Air, the Mac mini, and the iPad Pro to download images and went off on another tangent. As usual, I will inflict that tangent on you.

Apple provides the product images as zipped archives, so when I clicked on the link in the press release, I was confronted with this “what do I do?” screen in Safari.

The efficient thing would have been to walk ten feet over to my iMac and download the zip files there, where they can be expanded with almost no thought. But I took the procrastinator’s way out, deciding to solve the problem of dealing with zip files on iOS once and for all.

This is one of those iOS things that has always driven me nuts, especially on my iPad. MacOS has unarchiving built into it; iOS pretends that it just doesn’t know what to do with any archive format.

iOS 11 slightly improved upon this with the introduction of the Files app. You can tap the “Preview Content” button and then tap the list button to see the contents of the archive.1 Then you can select each file individually and then tap the share button to save each file individually. That’s not very efficient at all.

There are some unarchiving apps in the store, but they’re all pretty ropey. Drang’s shortcut is probably the best solution I’ve found so far, but this is one of those things that iOS should just be able to handle.


  1. Also, Files apparently thinks that “1” is followed by “10”, unlike the MacOS Finder. ↩︎