How to Unzip Files on Mac Terminal

Kyle Wood

Mac, Tutorials

Unzipping files on Mac Terminal can seem daunting for beginners, but fear not! In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process step by step. So, let’s get started.

Step 1: Launch Terminal

To begin, open the Terminal application on your Mac. You can find it in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder or use Spotlight by pressing Command + Space and typing “Terminal”. Once you see it in the search results, hit Enter.

Step 2: Navigate to the Directory

Now that Terminal is open, you need to navigate to the directory where your zip file is located. You can do this using the cd command followed by the path of the directory. For example:

$ cd /path/to/directory


  • Paste Path: Instead of typing out a long path, you can simply drag and drop the folder into Terminal after typing ‘cd’. This will automatically populate the path for you.
  • Tilde (~): If your zip file is located in your home directory, you can use a tilde (~) instead of typing out the full path. For example:
  • $ cd ~/Downloads

Step 3: Unzip using ‘unzip’ Command

Now that you are in the correct directory, it’s time to unzip the file. To do this, use the following command:

$ unzip


Replace with the actual name of your zip file. If your file name contains spaces, remember to enclose it in quotes. For example:

$ unzip "my"

Step 4: Verify the Unzipped Files

Once the unzip process is complete, you might want to verify the extracted files. You can do this by using the ls command to list all files and folders in the current directory. For example:

$ ls


  • List Specific Directory: If you want to list files from a specific directory within the current directory, simply append its name after ls. For example:
  • $ ls folder_name
  • List Detailed Information: If you want more detailed information about each file, use the -l flag.

    This will display file permissions, size, modification date, and more. For example:

  • $ ls -l

Congratulations! You have successfully unzipped a file using Terminal on your Mac. Now you can access and use your extracted files as needed.

In Conclusion

The Terminal application on Mac is a powerful tool that allows you to perform various tasks efficiently. Unzipping files is just one of the many operations you can accomplish using Terminal commands. With this guide, you now have the knowledge to unzip files on your Mac with ease.

If you found this tutorial helpful, be sure to check out our other Terminal tutorials for more tips and tricks. Happy coding!

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