How to zip files on your computer or phone to save space

Zipping or compressing files is quick and easy and can be accomplished on just about any device

How to zip files on your computer or phone to save space

Compressing a file or ‘zipping’ files is not only a great way to save space, it also enables the faster transfer of files between devices. An interesting side note is that there are multiple ways to compress files, and zipping them – i.e. packing files into a .zip container – is just one of several methods of doing so.

What is a zip file?

When you zip a file, you’re running one of several lossless compression algorithms – a mathematical model for reducing the size of files – and storing the resultant information in a container called a zip file.

ALSO READ: 10 hacks to free up storage on your Android phone

Other compression formats and algorithms such as .rar, .7z, .tar, etc. exist, and many of these are a lot more efficient than zip. However, the zip format is popular because it is supported universally on almost all the devices and services that we use.

Zipping doesn’t always save space

Not all files can be compressed, and the amount of space you save by zipping files will vary based on their type. If you need to free up space on your device and zipping files isn’t helping, we’d recommend offloading the files to an external storage device like a hard drive, or that you use some form of cloud storage.

Zipping files makes it easier to move them

Moving large quantities of files such as photos or text documents between devices is a slow and inefficient process. Zipping the files, even if you don’t compress them, packages all the data into one file which is far easier to handle.

How to zip files on Android

While files can be unzipped on Android, there is no option to compress files into zip files natively. To do this you will need a third-party app or file manager like WinZip, ZArchiver, ES File Explorer, etc. For this example, we’ll be using the popular WinZip app.

To compress a set of files or folders using WinZip:-

1. Download the app from the Play Store and give it permission to access your internal storage

2. Open WinZip and navigate to the files or folders you’d like to compress

3. Tap the menu icon (three dots) on the top right corner of the UI

4. Select “Zip to here” to compress files and place the zip file in the folder you’re currently in. You can also tap “Zip to… “ to zip files and place them in a different folder, or “Zip and Share” to compress the files into a zip file and share that zip file immediately via another app or service.

5. Optionally, you can also hit the check box on “Encrypt Zip File” and set a password. This will compress and encrypt your files so they can only be accessed via a password.

How to zip files on an Apple iPhone or iPad

iPhones and iPads natively support zip file compression and extraction via the Files app. To compress a file or set of files:-

1. Open the Files app and navigate to the folder containing the files and folders you’d like to compress

2. Select all the files and/or folders you’d like to compress by tapping on the three-dot menu on the top right and running your finger over the files

ALSO READ: How to show hiddеn files on a MacBook

3. Once selected, tap on the three-dot menu icon at the bottom right of the UI and select “Compress”. This will create a zip file within the folder you’re in.

How to zip files on a Mac

The process of zipping files on a Mac is very similar to that on an iPhone or iPad:-

1. Open Finder and navigate to the folder with the files and folders you’d like to compress

2. Select all the relevant objects by dragging over them with the mouse

3. Right click on one of the selected files and select “Compress” to create a zip file in the same folder

How to zip files on Windows

Windows also natively supports creating zip files. This can be done as follows:-

1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder containing the files and folders you’d like to compress

2. Use the mouse to select all the objects you’d like to compress

3. Right click on one of the selected objects and click on “Compress to zip” to create zip file in that folder

ALSO READ: Cut the wire between your phone and laptop for data transfers

As you can see, the process of zipping or compressing files is quite simple and can be accomplished on any popular platform. It’s a quick and easy means of saving space as well as for transferring files more easily. More advanced users who are looking for a higher level of compression should look into compression formats such as .rar and .7z which offer advanced features like higher-level compression and encryption.

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