Have you received an XIP file but do not have a suitable program to extract the content? It’s the first time you appear before an XIP archive and you do not know how to open the archive? This is a common problem among many advanced users using macOS but this guide will help you clarify this type of file by showing you how to extract and which programs to use for XIP files.

This is certainly a file format that many Mac users do not easily encounter during normal computer use, in fact this type of archive is usually used by experienced users and used by Apple to distribute the installation package of Xcode: the software used to develop applications for iOS and MacOS.

XIP files: what are they and how to use them?

Introduced for the first time in OS X 10.9, the XIP format is a variant of the ZIP compressed folders that can be digitally signed in order to be protected from problems during transfer, tampering or disk errors: so it’s a great solution for those who transfer compressed folders or distribute them, and must guarantee the integrity of the content so as not to incur any problem after data extraction.

Programs to open XIP

Surely the most convenient way to manage the compressed folders is through simple software that in a few clicks allow us to explore and extract the contents of the archive. If your Mac’s default settings have not changed, you’ll most likely already be able to open XIP files simply by double-clicking the folder you want to extract with the MacOS Compression Utility application to decompress the content in a few moments and return a normal folder.

If the standard installed application on Macs presents some problems or you are not used to using it and you are looking for an alternative program to open XIP, I suggest you use Keka or 7-zip. Even these alternatives developed by third parties allow the extraction of compressed archives in this special format: after installing the app, right click on the XIP file icon and choose Open with > More and select the installed program.

Unlike Compressor Utility, which can directly open the contents of an XIP file generating a traditional uncompressed folder, the other suggested software could convert the XIP format to ZIP and then we can proceed to the normal extraction of the content: there will be a step further, but it could be essential if the tool developed by Apple does not help.

How to extract an XIP archive manually

Another method, however simple but slightly more cumbersome to open XIP files requires the use of Terminal and the launch of a command. To do this using this method, open the MacOS Terminal app you can find in Applications> Utilities or by searching through Spotlight and launch the xip -x foldername.xip command to proceed with the extraction.

Obviously, you will first need to reach the folder containing the XIP file via command line, otherwise you will get the error message xip: error: input file “foldername.xip” not found.

To avoid this problem, the best way to open an XIP from Terminal is as follows:

  • type xip -x in Terminal
  • press the space bar once
  • drag the XIP file icon to Terminal, to automatically insert the complete and correct path of the archive to open
  • press Enter to confirm the extraction

If you have carefully followed all the steps in this article, you should not have more problems with XIP files and you will know how to handle them in the best way!


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