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How to Automatically Delete ZIP Files After Extraction on Mac

If you extract files from a zip archive on your Mac, you may want to automatically delete the zipped files after extraction. There are a few ways to do this.

Delete ZIP Files

There are plenty of ways to reduce clutter on your Mac computer and keep your Mac desktop clean. You can use robust software like Clean My Mac, or you can take advantage of the many native features Apple offers for keeping a tidy drive.

But one of the simplest and easiest ways to keep clutter off your Mac is to get rid of extracted ZIP files automatically.

By default, when you download a ZIP file and open it up, your Mac will extract the contents in the same location where the archive file exists. Now you have the original ZIP file and the extracted folder; in most cases, there’s no reason to hang on to that ZIP file anymore.

Rather than manually deleting it, you can change one setting in Mac’s Archive Utility to ensure that ZIP file gets automatically deleted as soon as it’s no longer needed.

Here’s how turn that feature on:

  1. Open the Archive Utility by searching for the app using Spotlight. (If you prefer, you can navigate to the app by going to HD > System > Library > Core Services > Applications > Archive Utility.)
  2. Open Archive Utility preferences with the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Comma.
  3. In the dropdown menu for After expanding, you have two choices: move archive to trash or delete archive. If you select delete archive the Archive Utility will bypass the recycle bin and will be deleted permanently.

If you’re looking for a temporary fix to hide desktop clutter—maybe you’re going to be giving a presentation using your laptop—you can opt to use a Mac app called Desktop Curtain, which can hide all of your clutter behind an image. Or you could just throw everything into one folder on your desktop.

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