How To Fix the “Unable to Expand Zip” Error on a Mac

Zip is a commonly used format to compress files and is referred to by the .zip file name. People use zip files to drastically reduce the size of a file for more accessible storage or to meet email size restrictions.

When the files are extracted, they return to their normal size and function. But some widespread errors may occur while extracting.

Read on to learn more about zip file extension errors and their solutions.

Common Fixes for “Cannot Expand Zip” on Mac Device

Several common errors can cause you to have trouble expanding your zip files on your Mac.

Download incomplete

If the zip file does not download correctly, you may get errors when you try to expand the file. Usually this happens if there is a glitch on your internet while downloading. You may also experience an incomplete download if you exit the window from which you were downloading too quickly. This may have broken the connection between the source of the download and your Mac.

If you think an incomplete download is the cause of your error, try downloading the file again.


You need permission to expand a zip file. If you downloaded the file from a website, it probably didn’t have permissions. If you received the file from a non-public source, ask them if there are any special permissions for the zip file. Then they have to give you permission and resend.

File size

If the compressed original file is too large, your Mac will not be able to decompress it. You’ll have to use your Mac’s Terminal to expand huge files. See the additional sections below to find out how to use the terminal to expand large zip files containing error codes.

Incomplete Compression

If the original compression was done incorrectly, you may have problems expanding a zip file. Common factors that can interrupt a compression are if the computer is suddenly turned off, there is a power failure, or if the file is moved from its original location.

If a failure occurs during the compression process, the file will be damaged. Unfortunately, there is no way to repair a zip file damaged during the compression process. You must revert to the original file and restart the compression. This should solve the problem.

What is error 1 associated with unable to expand?

If you’ve tried to expand a zip file on your Mac and received the Archive Utility error message, you’ll probably get “Error 1 operation not allowed” as a result. This is one of the most common zip errors from users when extension fails. Reasons for this failed extension could be any of the reasons mentioned above in this article. If you get this error then you need to open the zip file from the Mac terminal.

To extract a file in the terminal:

  1. Open the Launch Finder on your Mac and go to “Applications”.
  2. Navigate to the “Utilities” folder and double click on “Terminal”.

  3. Enter the following command: “Unzip”. To replace “filename” with the name of the file you are trying to expand.
  4. Press Enter on your keyboard.

Your file should start extracting right away. If the terminal cannot open the zip file, you can

download error.

Download the zip file to your Mac again and try opening it again. The file should expand without any problems if the error is due to a download error.

What is the Error 79 Zip error?

The Archive Utility gives the following error code to many Mac users who try to expand a zip file: “Error 79-Inappropriate file type or format.” The most likely reason that you are getting this error message is that the zip file download was interrupted or performed correctly. Try downloading the file to your Mac again. Do not close the website you are downloading from when you download again. If the error occurs again, your next best option is to open the file using your Mac’s terminal.

To expand a zip file in the terminal:

  1. Hold down the Command and Space keys. Spotlight opens.
  2. Type “Terminal” in the Spotlight search bar and press the Enter key.
  3. When the terminal opens, type “unzip” and replace “filename” with the name of the zip file.
  4. Press Enter on your keyboard.

Your file should start expanding.

How to Fix the “No Such File or Folder” Error

Expanding a zip file on Mac may result in “Error 2-No such file or folder”. This error is caused by the Archive Utility not understanding the file name and then thinking that the file does not exist. The best way to fix this error is to download the file again. Do not try to put your computer to sleep or leave the website you are downloading from.

Once you have downloaded the new zip file, you should be able to open it.

Fix error 22

When trying to expand a zip file, some people get a common error: “Error 22-Invalid argument.” This error is usually caused by junk files interfering with your computer. The best way to deal with unwanted files is to delete them. You can fix Error 22 by deleting the caches on your Mac. Use the following steps:

  1. Launch the Finder window and click “Go”.
  2. Select ‘Go to folder’.
  3. Type “~/Library/Caches” in the text box and press Enter.
  4. A series of folders will appear on your screen. You have to click in each folder and delete the files there. Do not delete the folder itself as it may cause errors in your apps.

Once these files are cleared, the file should be expanded. If there are too many folders to delete manually, you should invest in a program that automatically deletes these files. Many of these programs can all be set to routinely clear the cache, which can help prevent future errors.

Unable to Extend Zip File on Mac – Permission Denied

If you got an error saying “Permission Denied” when you tried to expand a file, you probably can’t access that file. The original user who compressed the file must give you permission to extract the file. If you know you have permission to open the zip file, try moving it to another folder. Expanding a folder in a server folder can cause this error if you only have access to read the folder. Move the compression file to your desktop, where you can read and write files stored there. This should solve the problem.

Expand all your zip files

While using a zip file is one of the best ways to compress large files, they have a reputation for causing errors on Macs. Whether it’s erroneous downloads or interrupted compressions, dealing with an error trying to access your files can be frustrating. When the extension works, it’s such a simple process that many still prefer it over other options.

Have you ever received an error code when expanding a zip file on your Mac? What error was it and how did you fix it? Let us know all about your experience in the comments below.

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