6 Excellent Archiving Utilities for Mac

I’ll be the first to admit that there’s nothing particularly fascinating about archiving and zipping files. It’s a fairly mundane operation, but something that many of us do regularly on a day-to-day basis. For that reason, it seems sensible to spend a few minutes picking the right application for the job.

This roundup will cover 5 different apps that can help make archiving easier. One you’ll certainly already have, and the others are mostly free or relatively inexpensive. I hope you find something useful to make your life slightly easier!




The OS Finder already has in-built support for basic archiving operations. If you’re just wanting to open a zip file or compress a few images, it’s a simple process. Just select the files or folder you would like to archive, right click, and select “Compress x Items”.

This will create a new Zip archive in the same location. Quick, easy and simple! The only problem is that the Finder isn’t capable of any advanced archiving operations, or opening slightly more obscure file types. For that, you’ll need a seperate application…

Price: Free
Developer: Apple
Requires: Any version of OS X




BetterZip is one of the few commercial applications featured here at $19.95, but you do receive a good range of features for your money. You can browse archives and extract only certain files, create archives in all manner of formats, easily password protect an archive (that’s compatible with WinZip), and update archives without needing to extract and re-create the whole thing.

As you’d expect, BetterZip can open almost any type of archive: ZIP, SIT, TAR, GZip, BZip2, RAR, 7-Zip, CPIO, ARJ, LZH/LHA, JAR, WAR, CAB, ISO, CHM, RPM, DEB, NSIS, BIN, HQX, DD. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never even heard of half these formats! You should be well covered.

Price: $19.95
Developer: MacItBetter
Requires: OS X 10.4 or Later

The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver was one of the favourites of our readers on Twitter, due mainly to the seamless integration with OS X. It acts as a replacement for the in-built archiving tool, capable of opening any archive you throw at it.

The downside when compared to BetterZip is a lack of functionality for creating archives.

Price: Free
Developer: wakaba.c3.cx
Requires: OS X 10.3 or Later




UnRarX is a very simple app that facilitates the opening of RAR archives (the second most popular format after ZIP). It’s straight-forward, and doesn’t have a particularly wide feature set. Perfect if you know the only additional format you require access to is RAR. It’s also capable of restoring corrupted or missing archives using a command line utility called “par2″.

Price: Free
Developer: Eugene Roshal
Requires: Mac OS X




Springy is another full-featured commercial application that provides full archive browsing (so you don’t need to extract everything to view the files within). You can also create and modify existing archives, and the software integrates with the Finder’s contextual menu.

A fairly new player, but it’s a decent piece of software to consider and packs all the features you could need from an archiver. Of course, the fun name and friendly icon may be enough to win you over on their own!

Price: $19.95
Developer: Dragan Milić
Requires: OS X 10.4 or Later



Stuffit Expander

I’m reluctant to recommend Stuffit in general, as their website is incredibly confusing, misleading and difficult to understand. It feels more like a Windows application that something developed for the Mac, and lacks the simplicity and style of other apps featured here.

That said, Stuffit do offer a free utility for expanding files – unsurprisingly called Stuffit Expander. This could be worth considering, but I’d check out the above software first.

Price: Free
Developer: mysmithmicro
Requires: OS X 10.3 or Later


Although the Finder has the basics built-in, you may like to consider one of the above for slightly more advanced archiving functionality. They are all good quality applications, but I’d probably recommend either BetterZip or The Unarchiver, depending upon how often you need to create complex archives.

Are you fond of an application we haven’t covered here? Please do let us know in the comments and share your knowledge with our other readers!

  • http://www.nouveller.com/ Benjamin Reid

    Nice roundup. Is is not ‘Acrhive Utility’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archive_Utility) that actually does the compressing not Finder? Either way, it’s fast and simple enough for my uses. UnRarX looks pretty good too.

    • http://www.nouveller.com/ Benjamin Reid

      Is it not ‘Archive…*

  • Dan

    I use YemuZip. Simple drag and drop app. and Free!

  • Robin Lundgren

    I’m still getting spam and crap offers from mysmithmicro.. Don’t give them your email, and forget about Stuffit Expander, not worth it!

  • Paul

    I’m currently using Keka (http://www.kekaosx.com) and it works great for me.

  • Richard

    Have been The Unarchiver for some time and since they fixed weird .rar bug I find it better then UnrarX. But it is still ackward when some .rar archives throw and error without further info which segment is the cause – in Windows it does work:/

  • http://www.androidfan.pl stoodi

    Yep, Keka is for now the best, the UI is’t exelent but it works :)

  • Othmane Benkirane

    I use CleanArchiver + The Unarchiver. Opens everything and archives well.

    • http://trip2me.tistory.com Chang-Beom Park

      I modified CleanArchiver.
      It supports password, split and filename codepage convert(zip).
      And it is more convenient for Snow leopard user for right context-menu use.

      Feel free to use it.


  • http://erenemre.com Eren Emre Kanal

    I’d recommend “EZ 7z” for better compression. 7z format has better compression ratio than zip & rar.

  • http://www.evardsson.com/blog/ Sjan Evardsson

    I second YemuZip (http://www.yellowmug.com/yemuzip/) but I keep 7zX (http://sixtyfive.xmghosting.com/products/7zx/) on hand for those rare occasions when I need to archive/unarchive a 7z.

  • choise

    i love BetterZip

  • http://mosotomoss.wordpress.com/ Mosotomoss

    The Unarchiver, is a great app. We are enjoying it! Nice list.

  • http://www.lycosman.info João Oliveira

    I use Zipeg. Simple, powerful and also free. :)

  • justforpho

    I have to give another vote for keka, I was expecting to see it on this list

  • http://ideoverse.com Adam

    Second the vote for CleanArchiver (http://www.sopht.jp/en/cleanarchiver/). It will archive to zip, gzip, and bzip2, and even exclude OS X-specific system files like .DS_Store.

  • nacho

    There are other free ways of “don’t needing to extract everything to view the files within”: there’s a very handy QuickLook plugin that let’s you see what’s inside compressed archives. It’s called BetterZip Quick Look Generator and you can download it for free in http://macitbetter.com/BetterZip-Quick-Look-Generator.

  • http://connorcrosby.me Connor Crosby

    RAR expander is very good!

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  • elmuymac

    BetterZip is the best

  • http://tukhtaev.com/blog Bakhtier

    I am very disappointed with this review. I expected at least to see some comparison, not just beautiful copy paste of information section. Is it that difficult to make some analysis, let’s say to grab a folder (100Mb) with different file formats (pictures, movies, docs, pdfs and etc) and zip it with those applications and put some data, like the time of zipping (how long should i wait), the size after compression and other details. What is the point of writing just names and features, then it is better to give the name and the link and i can look it myself. Com’on don’t be lazy and do some work. Plz :)

  • Daniel Hertlein

    Tried them all. Springy.

  • http://www.hdougie.co.uk Howie

    Thanks for this list, it was great!

    I find the built in software with Finder is great, but I always had problems with different archive types. UnrarX was also great, just a little too intrusive for my liking, but I have found the Unarchiver here and it seems to be just what I’m looking for, so thanks a lot appstorm!


  • http://www.plugintodan.com Dan

    So my main concern with archiving on the Mac is that it doesn’t compress the files. Is there one of these apps or something else anyone would recommend to make a couple mp3s or something much smaller to send over email? I’ve used filedropper and similar sites, but I don’t like waiting for the upload and having to send a URL instead of a file. Also, would these archived/compressed files be readable on a PC? Thanks!

  • http://www.m65jacket.com m65

    thanks for this great share

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  • Alex

    I used to use BetterZip but then found Rucksack and i love it

    • http://kronikls.wordpress.com Nikhil

      Yup… I was with UnRarX until I found Rucksack. I love that app now :D

  • http://www.martinvaresio.com.ar Orfebreria

    Is it that difficult to make some analysis, let’s say to grab a folder

  • Stefan

    What really sucks about the built-in Archive Utility as well es nearly all other Mac tool is that I can’t have a peek into the zip file. I want to know what’s in there without having to unzip everything! Oh, I miss good ol’ WinRAR.. :/

    • nemesit

      macitbetter offer a quicklook plug-in in addition to better zip with which you can take a peek at the contents of a rar zip whatever