Wait. What? This is a joke, right? Doesn’t every Mac user know how to zip up files? Apparently not, as a few of my friends, neighbors, and a few co-workers will testify. One response I get is, “Why do you need to zip up files?”
Back in the day, Mac users would stuff files into archives– usually a compressed file filled with folders and various files– just to save space. Or, archive files to send to other users. These days, Apple’s devices with macOS and iOS have a sharing option which seems to have relegating archive options to quaint status. And, yes, too many Mac users don’t even know about the right-click option on a file in the Finder which brings up other options– including Archive, a term which has been replaced by Compress.
Still, there are times when Mac users need to gather a few files together, drop them into a folder, zip them up into an archive and store away or share with others. The Compress function in macOS works for a file or folder of files, but the options are, well, limited. My favorite Mac archive tool is BetterZip, but that’s overkill for most Mac users. If all you need is to zip up a few files, encrypt them for security, here’s the app that does it for free.
The app is iZip and it’s a step-by-step method to zip up files into a compressed archive and add encryption and a password for security.
Options are straightforward, even for users new to the Mac. Click New to open the New Archive Assistant. Click Specify Name to create a new archive.
Yes, you can do much of this– without the Zip– in Disk Utility, but it doesn’t get any easier than using iZip. Next, there’s an option for even more compression. Don’t bother unless file space or transport is an issue.
The next option is to use a password. Then you’re ready to add files. Again, this may not be as easy as using the Compress utility in the Finder, and it has fewer options than Disk Utility, but it is simple and has just the right options for most of us.
Drag and drop the files and folders of files you want to compress onto iZip.
That’s about it. Click Next once more and then the final option and zipping begins. iZip will tell you how many megs remain to be zipped up in the archive and you’re good to go.
In the end, you get a quick and easy zip archive utility that can compress files, add a password and encryption (256-bit AES, if you prefer), and outputs a zip file compatible with other Macs and Windows users.
Archives show up as removable storage options in the Finder so you can see what’s inside. And, it’s not just a zip archive. iZip handles RAR, TAR, TAR.GZ and 7ZIP, too. There’s also an option to use an online file sharing service if sending larger archives by email is prohibitive.
Is iZip the best, most comprehensive zip solution or archiver available for the Mac? No. But it works well, it’s free, and it does what the Compress function in the Mac’s Finder does not– add password and encryption (you can do that by jumping through some Terminal.app hoops).
Not bad for free.