Every now and again, I’ll get zip files sent to my email that I need to view. And while PCs and Macs traditionally can open such files with no qualms at all, iOS lacks an ability to work with archives right out of the box. So, when I’m on the road, and I don’t have access to a full blown desktop or laptop system, this can be a problem. Fortunately, WinZip for iOS can help, albeit in a more stripped down sense. For now, when compared to its PC cousin, WinZip is limited to reading archives — without the ability to create any new ones. In a mobile environment, however, that is probably all you’ll ever need.

When it comes to the WinZip app, it feels like it complements other apps rather than serving as a full-blown toolkit. For example, there are times when I receive a zip file with several different files enclosed, but I only want to upload one file within the archive to Dropbox for public sharing purposes and leave the rest alone. In the following guide, I’ll show how easy it is to take a file within an archive and push it to the cloud.

  1. First, I installed WinZip and Dropbox on my iPhone, both of which are free applications
  1. I received an email that requested that the PDF within the zip be uploaded to Dropbox (Figure A), so I tapped the zip file and selected Open in WinZip (Figure B) in the pop-up context menu.
  2. Figure A

    Zip file attached to an email.

    Figure B

    Tap the zip file and select Open in WinZip.
  3. After the WinZip iOS app launched, I looked at my listing of files and choose the PDF (Figure C).
  4. Figure C

    Select the file from the zip.
  5. From the simple built-in file viewer, I pressed the Open In button in the upper-right hand corner, which brought up yet another context menu, where I selected the Open in Dropbox option (Figure D).
  6. Figure D

    Select Open in Dropbox.
  7. Dropbox will latch onto the file you select and analyze it. If the file type is a known viewable format (like PDF is in this instance), the appropriate icon will appear, as well as two fields below for the file name and its destination folder (Figure E).
  8. Figure E

    The appropriate icon will appear if it’s a viewable format.
  9. As a side note, if you don’t want to use the default upload directory, you can specify a new one by tapping the Destination field and selecting the directory that best fits your needs (Figure F).
  10. Figure F

    You can change the file destination folder.
  11. Depending on the size of your file, the upload might take upwards of a few minutes to complete.

Considering I was able to do this without touching Windows first, I was pretty impressed. The only possible downside is the fact that WinZip for iOS only supports the ZIP file format and no others, such as RAR or 7Z.

What app(s) do you use to view zip files on your smartphone? Share you experience in the discussion thread below.