How to Open and Unzip ZIP and RAR Files on Android: Step-by-Step Guide

  • Learn to compress and decompress ZIP or RAR files with your mobile easily.

The compression and decompression of data are not new. This technique has been used for decades –without going any further, the “ZIP” format was initially launched in 1989– when reducing the size of documents and digital files of all kinds. Today it continues to be a way of The most convenient thing to do is reduce the weight of those documents that we want to share with other people to facilitate and speed up the process.

Now, what happens if we receive a ZIP or RAR file on our Android device? , Is it possible to unzip it? Luckily, the answer is yes, it can, although it is necessary to consider some details that we want to clarify in this step-by-step guide to extract or decompress files on Android.

Extract ZIP and RAR files on Android: so you can unzip the documents you download

Regardless of the type of file you want to unzip, the process will be similar. However, the tools to decompress a ZIP archive may differ from those necessary to do the same with a RAR since not all file management apps offer support for both compression algorithms.

  • What do you need
    • An Android smartphone with a file explorer installed.
    • A file in .ZIP or .RAR format

Unzipping ZIP files

That said, we will start with the ZIP format since it is possible to decompress files of this type without installing anything since Android’s native file explorer already offers the possibility of decompressing ZIP files. To do so, you have to follow these steps:

  1. Save the compressed ZIP file you want to extract the content from in the phone memory.
  2. Open the “Files” application included in your mobile.
  3. Go to the folder where you have saved the ZIP file, and tap on it.
  4. Select the documents you want to extract from the compressed document with a long press on them.
  5. In the three-point menu at the top right, select the option “Extract to,” and choose the folder where you want to save the files contained in the ZIP.

That is all. With these simple steps, you will have unzipped the file, and its content will have been extracted to the path you specified in the last step. Now you can access the documents without any limitation.

Unzipping RAR files

Now, what if the file you want to unzip is a RAR? If you access it with the native Android “Files” application, you will see a window with a warning that “file preview is not available.” This is because the application does not include support for the compression algorithm used by the RAR system, and therefore it is not possible to access its content nor to decompress the file.

But of course, there is a solution to this problem, and it is as simple as turning to another file explorer app. If you have an Android mobile from a brand such as Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Honor, OnePlus, OPPO, or Realme, you probably already have an app of this type pre-installed, which you can use to decompress RAR files. If not, you can use any other that you find in the Google Play Store. In this case, we will use one of the most complete of its category, Solid Explorer, but again remember that you can use the one you prefer; the steps will be similar in most. Once you have a file browser handy, follow these steps:

  1. Save the compressed RAR file you want to extract the content from in the phone memory.
  2. Open the file explorer pre-installed on your mobile or the one you downloaded.
  3. Go to the folder where you have saved the RAR file, and hold down on it.
  4. Unfold the menu from the three-dot icon, and tap on the option “Extract,” “Unzip,” or similar.
  5. Choose the folder where you want to save the files contained in the RAR.

WinZip and other apps to compress or decompress ZIP files

  • WinZip
  • ZIP Master
  • RAR
  • ZArchiver
  • 7Zip

You can find many apps on Google Play to compress and decompress files, which allow you to extract the content or simply create ZIP and RAR files, and without resorting to a file explorer. Let’s go over some of the best.


It is the most popular file compression and decompression app on Android. Among other things, it allows you to create or open ZIP and ZIPx files, encrypt them, extract them or even share them with other people.

It has a straightforward and easy-to-use interface, and WinZip can be downloaded for free on any Android mobile.

AZIP Master

With this ZIP file compressor and decompressor, it is possible to open or create compressed files quickly and easily.

One of its great advantages is the possibility of compressing or decompressing files of any format, including RAR, ZIP, ZIPX, JAR, 7Z, GZ, TGZ, BZ2, BZ, TBZ, TBZ2, XZ, TXZ, LZ, TLZ, TAR, ISO, LZH, LHA, ARJ, Z, TAZ or 001.


RAR aspires to become the WinRar for Android and the most popular app to compress and decompress files. And, indeed, reasons are not lacking.

It has a fast and easy-to-use compressor and decompressor, which allows you to modify aspects such as encryption or the use of multiple CPU cores to compress data. In addition to that, it is capable of repairing corrupted ZIP and RAR archives or performing speed tests.


Another useful tool to manage compressed files with the mobile is ZArchiver. It has all the functions that we could need from an application of this type and stands out because it does not need an Internet connection to work.

It is easy to use and can be downloaded for free, so you have no excuse not to try it if you are looking for an app to compress or decompress files quickly and easily.


Despite its name, this version of 7ZIP for Android does not come from the tool’s creators with the same name that millions of people use on Windows and other desktop platforms.

That does not mean that 7ZIP is a fantastic app for Android to extract compressed files or create ZIP files to reduce their size. One of its most interesting additions is the ability to view the content of APK files.