I have a bunch of files I want to compress to stick in my dropbox account (as a single archive file.) When I select all the files in Finder and right click, I get the choice to "compress", which does create an archive.zip file. But the file isn't any smaller than all of the individual files put together.

Is there any way to change the compression settings on the archive utility?

  • I'm not aware of any settings on the built-in utility. On a related note, though, what sort of files are you trying to compress? Many common media filetypes, for example, already use some form of compression, and don't shrink well when archived.
    – Dan J
    Sep 7, 2012 at 16:59
  • They're mp3 files.
    – EmmyS
    Sep 7, 2012 at 17:53
  • 1
    @EmmyS then ZIP compression will not give you much compression at all. You could try using GZIP or similar from the command line, or maybe even RAR, but I would expect there to be no difference. Sep 7, 2012 at 18:01
  • rar and 7zip compression formats do compress mp3 and other media files further, as they have an algorithm specifically for that. It's not much... but unlike the other formats mentioned, it does help a little. Feb 15, 2017 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


If you launch Archive Utility directly from /System/Library/CoreServices/, you can create gzip-compressed .cpgz archives, which can have a higher compression rate than zip compression. However if you're compressing already compressed files (like most music and video files), you likely won't get much space savings, if any.

If you want to try however, open up Archive Utility, open the preferences, then change the Use archive format: setting to compressed archive, and create a new archive from the file menu (⌘K). This setting only affects archives created when you open the Archive Utility app. Ones created with the Compress option in the Finder's context menu will still be zip archives.

  • Re your last para.. so how do you change it?
    – Pacerier
    Aug 22, 2017 at 4:44
  • In macOS Sierra Archive Utility defaults to "compressed archive" and archives created from the context menu are compressed. I can't speak to older versions, however.
    – apraetor
    Jan 15, 2018 at 2:04

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