I've found that the command line unzip tool doesn't gracefully handle some of the files I'm unzipping: it makes a bunch of junk directories, and creates files whose resource forks aren't found. (Perhaps they were created strangely.)


Anyways, using Archive Utility is a start, because I can run the following and it is close (and it doesn't mess up my files):

$ open -a "Archive Utility" ZIP

But this does not allow me to specify a new directory for the contents!! It automatically puts them in the current directory. :P

What are my alternatives?

7 Answers 7


The Unarchiver has a beta version of their command line utility available on their downloads page.

  • 1
    +1 for suggesting unar without using it's name. ;)
    – ocodo
    Jan 29, 2011 at 9:37

"The Unarchiver" is a great tool, and I highly recommend it, both the GUI and the CLI tools.

That said, my unzip command is

ditto -xk foo.zip target_dir

where 'target_dir' is the directory where I want the files to appear (and it can be '.' if you want them to unzip right there).

Note that 'target_dir' will be created if needed.

Also note that ditto does not mind overwriting files, so use with care.

ditto on Mac OS X is designed to preserve resource forks, etc. so it is my preferred method of unzipping files, especially because it ships with OS X by default.

  • Can't get this to work. Jan 21, 2015 at 20:46

I saw this extremely helpful answer to a problem I was having unzipping applications on another board from user patashnik:

unzip doesn't handle the embedded resourceforks in ZIP files created by the Finder. If you want to unarchive those files from the CLI, use ditto:

ditto -V -x -k --sequesterRsrc --rsrc FILENAME.ZIP DESTINATIONDIRECTORY

If you want to unpack the archive in the current directory, use . as DESTINATIONDIRECTORY


7z can handle some oddly zipped files brew install p7zip 7z x weirdarchive.zip


you can use also:



Springy is a very versatile unarchiver. Shareware - and worth it to me.

brew install unar

and then:

unar foo.zip

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