A way to handle zip files on iOS, upload contents to Dropbox

If you’re still looking for a way to handle zip files on iOS, here is one that has become habit for me. In fact, I’ve grown to appreciate doing this task on iOS versus a Mac in most cases due to some of the little details, such as no Finder windows to clean up.

First, you need Documents for iOS from the fine folks at Readdle. It’s a document organizer and reader. Add your Dropbox (or other cloud accounts) to it, and you’re ready:

  • tap a link to a zip file
  • Safari opens and, though it offers no UI feedback, it’s downloading the file
  • eventually, Safari displays an icon of the file and ‘Open In’ options (screenshot below)
  • tap to open the file in Documents, and you’ll switch apps
  • tap the zip file you now see in Documents, and it will expand
  • get into the folder, tap Edit at the top, and select the files you want (tip: in edit mode, pull down on the page to find a Select All option hidden at the top)
  • in the sidebar (iPad) or tab bar (iPhone), tap Upload
  • Dropbox and other cloud accounts will appear as upload destinations. Pick one and do your thing

Alternatively, you could copy the zip URL and paste it into Documents’ in-app browser. But I mostly use the process above, and I’d love it if Apple added more feedback when Safari is downloading files. It wonly even be cool if Safari for iOS gained some kind of… let’s call it a ‘Manager’ window for handling and organizing downloads.

I had to go through this process a few times in order to get the muscle memory down, but now I’m about as comfortable and fast with it as I was on the Mac.