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

Opening a TAR file on your iPhone or iPad is a straightforward process that involves downloading a third-party app from the App Store, using the app to open and extract the contents of the TAR file, and then accessing the extracted files through the app’s interface or saving them to a location of your choice on your device.

After following these steps, you will have successfully opened and extracted the contents of a TAR file on your iPhone or iPad. You will then be able to view and manage the extracted files as needed.


TAR files, also known as “tarballs,” are a type of archive file format commonly used for distributing and storing multiple files in one package. They’re like a digital suitcase, keeping all your files neatly packed together until you need them. Now, why would you want to open a TAR file on your iPhone or iPad? Well, perhaps a friend sent you a bundle of vacation photos, or maybe you downloaded a collection of documents from an email attachment. Whatever the reason, the ability to open TAR files on your iOS device can come in handy.

For the uninitiated, it may seem like a daunting task. After all, iPhones and iPads don’t come with a built-in feature to handle TAR files. But fear not! With the help of third-party apps available from the App Store, opening a TAR file on your iOS device is a breeze. Whether you’re a student who needs to access assignments, a professional handling project files, or just someone trying to open a compressed archive, this article is for you. Let’s dive in and unravel the mystery of opening TAR files on your iPhone or iPad.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Open a TAR File on iPhone or iPad

Before we get started, make sure you have the TAR file you want to open saved on your iPhone or iPad or accessible through a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Step 1: Download a third-party app

Install an app that can extract TAR files from the App Store.

Many apps are available that can handle TAR files, but for this tutorial, we’ll use a hypothetical app called “File Extractor.” Just search for “File Extractor” or a similar term in the App Store, and download the app that best suits your needs.

Step 2: Locate the TAR file

Find the TAR file you want to open using the app.

Once you’ve installed the app, open it and navigate to the location of the TAR file on your device. If you’ve downloaded the file from the web, it might be in your ‘Downloads’ folder, whereas files from an email will likely be in your ‘Mail’ app.

Step 3: Open the TAR file

Use the app to open the TAR file.

Tap on the TAR file within the app to open it. The app will usually display the contents of the TAR file and may offer a preview of the files inside.

Step 4: Extract the contents

Extract the files contained within the TAR file.

Usually, there will be an option to ‘Extract’ or ‘Unpack’ within the app. Tap on this, and the app will begin to extract the files into a folder, often in the same location as the original TAR file.

Step 5: Access the extracted files

View and manage the extracted files as needed.

After the files are extracted, you can view and manage them within the app or move them to another location on your device, such as your ‘Documents’ folder or iCloud Drive.


ConvenienceBeing able to open TAR files directly on your iPhone or iPad saves you from the hassle of needing a computer. It’s all about having the right tools at your fingertips, wherever you are.
Space-savingExtracting files from a TAR archive can save space on your device, as TAR files often compress the contents to take up less storage. Imagine it like taking clothes out of a vacuum-sealed bag – everything expands back to its original size.
AccessibilityAccessing files from a TAR archive on your device makes it easier to share, edit, or view them on the go. It’s like having a portable filing cabinet with all your important documents within reach whenever you need them.


Dependence on third-party appsUnlike some computers, iPhones and iPads don’t have a built-in feature to open TAR files, so you rely on finding a good app to do the job. It’s a bit like needing a special key to open a locked door.
Potential costsSome apps that handle TAR files may not be free, or they might offer in-app purchases to unlock all features. It’s like getting a free sample at a store but having to pay for the full product.
File managementAfter extracting files from a TAR archive, managing and organizing them on your iOS device can sometimes be less intuitive than on a computer. Think of it like sorting through a pile of papers scattered on a small table – it can get a bit cramped.

Additional Information

When it comes to opening a TAR file on your iPhone or iPad, the key is choosing the right app. While we used a hypothetical “File Extractor” for this guide, actual popular choices include “iZip” and “The Unarchiver.” Some apps also support a wider range of file formats, which might be beneficial if you frequently deal with different types of compressed files.

Remember, while most apps will handle TAR files similarly, the user interfaces may vary. So, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the app you choose. Also, consider the security of the app. Since you’ll be opening files that could contain sensitive information, it’s essential to use an app from a reputable developer.

Lastly, once you have extracted the files, you might want to think about how to manage them on your device. iOS offers a “Files” app where you can organize and store your documents. You can also use cloud services for easy access across different devices.


  1. Download a third-party app from the App Store that can extract TAR files.
  2. Locate the TAR file you want to open using the app.
  3. Use the app to open the TAR file.
  4. Extract the files contained within the TAR file.
  5. Access the extracted files and manage them as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I open a TAR file without an app?

No, you’ll need a third-party app to open a TAR file on your iPhone or iPad, as iOS doesn’t have a built-in feature for this.

Are there any free apps that can open TAR files?

Yes, there are free apps in the App Store that can open TAR files, but they might have limited features compared to paid versions.

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

Most apps that can open TAR files also support other archive formats like ZIP and RAR.

Is it safe to open TAR files from unknown sources?

Be cautious when opening TAR files from unknown sources, as they could contain malicious software. Always use a trusted app and keep your device’s security software up to date.

Can I save the extracted files to my iCloud Drive?

Yes, after extracting the files, you can usually save them to your iCloud Drive or any other cloud service you use for easy access across devices.


Opening a TAR file on your iPhone or iPad is not something you do every day, but when the need arises, it’s great to know it’s not a Herculean task. With the right app and a few taps, you can unlock the contents of a TAR file and make the most of your iOS device’s capabilities. Remember that while TAR files might seem like a challenge at first, they’re just another file format that your trusty iPhone or iPad can handle with a little help.

As we continue to move towards a more mobile-centric world, the ability to manage different types of files on the go becomes increasingly essential. So, the next time you come across a TAR file, don’t let it tar your spirits. Equip your iPhone or iPad with a good extraction app, and you’ll be ready to tackle any compressed challenges that come your way.