How To Download and Open Zip Files on iPad

Here’s the scenario. You are working on a deadline and receive an email from a colleague with the important project proposal in a compressed zip file. You need to open and view the contents to view the important information you need to seal the deal, but there is a problem, all you have is your iPad.

By default, the iPad can’t open compressed zip files; but we are going to show you how to save the day and open a zip file with your iPad.

First go get GoodReader or one of the many other file reading apps in the app store. I chose GoodReader because I know for certain that it in fact reads and opens zip files either from a web site or from an email attachment. It is available for just $.99 in the app store.

Here is how to open a zip file on the iPad:

  1. Go into GoodReader and give it your email server information. At the bottom of the right side you will see Connect to Servers; tap it and choose Add. Give it your credentials and server info and now you are ready to access the email attachment.
  2. Tap your email server that will be listed under Connect to Servers after you add it. A window will pop up on the left with your email folders. I added my Gmail account so I tapped on the Inbox folder. There the message I sent myself with an attachment was listed.
  3. Tap the zip file and it will start downloading. A box will popup informing you that you can find it in the Web Downloads” section.
  4. Tap OK and close the Email popup.
  5. Tap on Web Downloads and you will see the progress if it is a large file. Small files may be done before you go into the Web Downloads section. Once you open Web Downloads, on the left will be a list of all the downloaded attachments. It can handle a large number of file formats.
  6. Tap the new zip file and GR offers to unzip it for you.
  7. Choose Unzip and then find the file or folder that is unzipped.
  8. Now you can view it in GR.

For picture files you can save it to the Photo Library on the iPad. I don’t know of a way to open documents in other Apps like Pages. I hope that will be coming soon. However, with GR you can open documents in it from other Apps that support the functionality.

If you are trying to open a file from a web link or site, then instead of going into the Connect to Server part of GR, tap on Web Downloads and either open the built in browser by tapping Browse the Web and go to the site with the download or tap Enter URL and enter the address of the file you want to download. From there you will open the Downloads in Progress just like above and see the file’s progress.

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