Time flies when you’re having fun. Or, as Kermit the Frog put it, “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.” Either way, time marches on. Not that long ago disk drives were small we Mac users would stuff files into compressed archives to save space.
Those days are gone.
First, macOS (OS X) came along at the turn of the century and brought with it a Unix-like zip utility to compress and wrap files and folders into archives. Then, hard disk drives gained more storage and dropped in price. Space became cheap. Along the way, not much changed with the macOS zip archive tool. All it would do is about all it does. Zip up files and folders for storage or sharing.
Unfortunately, zip just isn’t enough. Passwords are cumbersome to add. Viewing contents requires a Mac user to open the archive first. Encryption requires yet another utility. So, I moved on and adopted a favorite, BetterZip. If there’s a compression file format out there that cannot be used by BetterZip, I haven’t found it.
As is the case for many of us borderline geeks, BetterZip is overkill for most Mac users. What if all you want is to zip up files and folders, add a password, toss in some encryption to secure the file for transport?
For that there’s a free utility called iZip. No, it’s not as feature laden as BetterZip, which is more of a Swiss Army Knife of compression tools. But iZip has the basics. Zip, unzip, encrypt, and share.
- Archives appear as removable storage
- Encryption and large files supported
- New archive assistant
- Secure sharing
- Automatic updates
- Currently supports ZIP, ZIPX, RAR, TAR, TAR.GZ and 7ZIP files
What else do you need?
iZip handles files from Windows users, including WinZip, WinRAR and others. Because iZip works as removable storage in the Finder, it can be used with drag and drop. AES 256-bit encryption is built-in (with options for no encryption, 128-bit encryption, even 196-bit encryption), so sharing files securely becomes a simple operation. There’s even an option to use an online file-sharing service for archives that are too large to be handled by email accounts.
Those of us who work with archived files on a daily basis prefer the automated options similar to those found in BetterZip. On the other hand, iZip is a walk through, step-by-step process which uses menus to give you options; create archive, add encryption and password, drag and drop files and folders. So, if you’re a casual zip archive user, iZip is perfect if not a bit mundane.
For those who have larger zip archives to share, iZip integrates well with Files.com, a free online file sharing service (up to 100MB).