How to Open a Tar File on iPhone or iPad: A Step-by-Step Guide

Opening a tar file on an iPhone or iPad might sound like a daunting task, but it’s straightforward once you know the steps. First, download a file extraction app from the App Store, such as iZip or The Unarchiver. Then, locate the tar file you want to open, which could be in your email, files app, or another location on your device. Share the file to the extraction app and let it do its magic. The app will unpack the tar file, allowing you to access the contents easily.

After completing the action, the contents of the tar file will be accessible on your iPhone or iPad. You can view, edit, or share the files as needed. This process can be handy for opening compressed files received via email or downloaded from the internet.


Imagine you’ve just received an important tar file via email on your iPhone or iPad, and you need to access its contents quickly. But wait, what’s a tar file, and how do you open it on an iOS device? Tar files, which stand for “tape archive,” are a type of compressed file format used primarily on Unix-based systems, including macOS and Linux. These files are similar to ZIP files and are often used to consolidate multiple files into one for easier distribution or backup.

Why is this relevant? Well, as more people use iPhones and iPads for work-related tasks, the ability to manage different file formats has become essential. Whether you’re a developer, a graphic designer, or just someone who needs to access a tar file for personal use, knowing how to open it on your iOS device can save you time and hassle. Plus, with the right tools, you can achieve this without needing a computer. This guide will walk you through the process step by step, ensuring you can access your tar files whenever and wherever you need them.

Step by Step Tutorial to Open a Tar File on iPhone or iPad

Before we dive into the steps, remember that you’ll be using a third-party app to extract your tar file. The iOS system does not have a built-in feature for this, but the App Store has several reliable options.

Step 1: Download a File Extraction App

Download a file extraction app from the App Store, such as iZip or The Unarchiver.

These apps are designed to open various compressed file formats, including tar files. Make sure to choose an app that specifically mentions compatibility with tar files to ensure a smooth process.

Step 2: Locate the Tar File

Find the tar file you want to open on your iPhone or iPad.

This could be in your Files app, attached to an email, or even on a cloud storage service. You’ll need to know where the tar file is saved to access it in the following steps.

Step 3: Share the Tar File to the Extraction App

Use the share sheet to open the tar file with your selected extraction app.

Tap and hold the tar file, then select ‘Share’ from the options that appear. Choose the extraction app from the list of apps that can perform this action.

Step 4: Unpack the Tar File

Let the extraction app unpack the tar file, which may take a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on the file size.

Once the app has finished unpacking the file, you will be able to see all the contents that were compressed within the tar file.


ConvenienceOpening a tar file directly on your iOS device is incredibly convenient, especially when you’re on the go or do not have access to a computer.
Time-SavingInstead of transferring the file to a computer to extract it, you can do it directly on your iPhone or iPad, saving you valuable time.
AccessibilityYou can access the contents of the tar file anytime and anywhere, as long as you have your iOS device with you.


Dependence on Third-Party AppsYou need to rely on a third-party app, which may not always be reliable or could have security concerns.
Compatibility IssuesSome extraction apps may not support all tar file formats, leading to compatibility issues.
Limited FeaturesFree versions of file extraction apps may have limitations, such as a cap on the size of the file you can extract or ads that can hinder the user experience.

Additional Information

When opening a tar file on your iPhone or iPad, it’s crucial to ensure that the extraction app you choose is reputable and secure. Always check the reviews and ratings in the App Store and look for any mention of security features. Some apps may also offer additional functionality, such as the ability to encrypt files, further adding value to the app you choose.

Another tip is to keep your iOS device updated to the latest version, as this can improve the compatibility and performance of the third-party apps you use. And remember, if you’re frequently dealing with tar files or other compressed formats, it may be worth investing in a paid app that offers more features and a better user experience.


  1. Download a file extraction app from the App Store.
  2. Locate the tar file on your device.
  3. Share the file to the extraction app.
  4. Allow the app to unpack the tar file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I open a tar file without an app?

No, iOS devices do not have a built-in feature to open tar files, so you will need a third-party app.

Are file extraction apps safe to use?

Generally, yes, but it’s important to download apps from reputable developers and to check the ratings and reviews in the App Store.

Can I open tar files that are password-protected?

Some file extraction apps do support opening password-protected tar files, but you’ll need to know the password.

What if the app can’t open the tar file?

If the app you’re using can’t open the tar file, it may be incompatible. Try a different app or check if the file is corrupted.

Can I also open other types of compressed files with these apps?

Many file extraction apps support various file formats, including ZIP, RAR, and 7z, in addition to tar.


Opening a tar file on an iPhone or iPad can seem like a niche skill, but in today’s digital world, it’s becoming more and more common. Whether for work or personal use, the ability to manage compressed files on your iOS device is invaluable.

Remember to choose a reliable extraction app, be aware of the pros and cons, and follow the steps outlined in this guide. Happy un-tarring!