How to Use a RAR File Extractor for Android

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You might need a RAR file extractor for Android to open certain files on your smartphone or tablet. Here's how to open, extract, create and repair RAR files on any Android mobile device.

What is a RAR File?

A RAR file is a compressed archive of one or more larger files. RAR files are used to store and transport large files like movies, music, and software. Think of them as vacuum seal storage bags for data. RAR files make it possible to send and download large applications via the internet as quickly as possible. Likewise, RAR files let you fit immense amounts of data on a flash drive or SD card for easy transfer between devices.

All RAR files end in the extension ".rar," but there are other file compression formats that end in different extensions like .zip, .7z and .iso. Most RAR file extractors for Android are capable of opening multiple types of compressed files.

Why Would You Need a RAR File Extractor for Android?

Most computers come preloaded with a RAR file extractor, but Android devices typically don't have one by default. Therefore, you must download a RAR file extractor app before you can open RAR files on your Android device.

Many RAR extractor apps also allow you to create your own compressed archives, which makes sharing large files like pictures and videos much easier. Most email services limit the amount of data you can send in one message, so if you want to send a folder containing hundreds of pictures to a friend, you may first need to compress your images into a RAR file. Of course, the recipient must also have an extractor program to open the compressed file.

What's the Best RAR File Extractor for Android?

There are dozens of RAR file extractor apps available for Android. For this tutorial, we'll use the RAR app for Android, which can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store.

Developed by the makers of WinRAR, the RAR app is sometimes referred to as WinRAR for Android. In addition to RAR files, the app can also open files with the following extensions: .zip,. tar,. .gz, .bz2, .xz, .7z, .iso, and .arj. To open such files on an iOS device, you'll need a different app that's compatible with the iOS platform.

How to Open RAR Files on Android

  1. Download and install the RAR app for Android.

  2. Open the RAR app. Its icon looks like a stack of books. When the app opens, you should see a list of files and folders.

  3. Navigate to the folder containing the file you wish to open.

    While inside a folder, you can tap Up One Level at the top of the file list to return to the previous folder.

  4. Tap the RAR file and enter the password, if prompted, to view the contents.

    Some RAR files are password protected. If you downloaded a RAR file from the internet, check the download instructions for the password.

  5. Tap the individual files to open them. Alternatively, press and hold on a file or folder to open a menu with a list of actions you can take.

    Press and hold a file to open the options menu
  6. To perform actions on multiple files at once, tap the boxes beside each file to make a blue check mark appear, then press and hold one of the files to open the command menu. Any action you choose, such as Copy to clipboard or Extract files, will be applied to all selected files.

How to Use RAR for Android

Aside from opening RAR files, the RAR app has many other uses. Before we go any further, here's a brief overview of the RAR app interface:

The RAR app for Android command menu
  • Tap the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner to open a navigation panel with shortcuts to your device's SD card and Downloads folder. Under Commands, there's an option to add the folder you're currently viewing to your list of Favorites.
  • Tap the icon with a plus sign located in the upper right corner to add selected files to a new RAR archive.
  • Tap the icon with an up arrow located in the upper right corner to extract selected files.
  • Tap the trash can to delete selected files.
  • Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner to open another drop down menu with settings and additional options.
  • To disable ads, tap the three vertical dots, then tap Remove advertisements from the menu that appears. You'll then be prompted to set up a payment method.

How to Extract RAR Files on Android

In this context, extraction simply means moving files from a compressed archive to your device so you don't have to use the RAR app every time you want to access your files. This step is often necessary; for example, if you have a RAR archive full of music files, you must extract them before they can be added to your device's music library. To extract compressed files with the RAR for Android app:

  1. Open the RAR app and locate your RAR file.

  2. Tap the RAR file to open it.

  3. Select the files you wish to extract one by one, or tap the square with four smaller squares inside (beside Up One Level) to select all files inside the current folder.

  4. Tap the icon with the up arrow to open the Extraction options.

  5. Tap BROWSE to select where you want the extracted files to go.

  6. Navigate to your folder of choice, then tap OK in the lower right corner to set the destination.

    Tap the icon with an up-arrow to open the extraction options.

    The Ask before overwrite feature will be selected by default. With this feature enabled, the RAR app will let you know if files with the same name already exist, and you'll be given the choice to skip, rename, or replace each file.

  7. Tap OK to complete the extraction.

How to Create RAR Files on Android

To create your own compressed RAR archives:

  1. Make sure the files you wish to compress are located in a single folder. It's okay if there are other unrelated files in the folder.

  2. Open the RAR app and navigate to said folder.

  3. Tap the boxes beside the files you want to compress to select them.

  4. Tap the icon with a plus sign to open the Archiving options.

  5. Give your new archive a name and set up a password, if you desire.

  6. Choose to compress your files in the RAR, ZIP, or RAR 4x format. Stick with the first option for optimal file compression.

    Tap the icon with a plus sign to open the archiving options

    While you can tap Create solid archive to create a file that's slightly smaller, it will take a little longer to open.

  7. Tap OK to make your newly created RAR file appear within the current folder.

How to Repair RAR Files on Android

If you receive an error message while trying to open or extract a RAR archive, one or more of the files inside could be corrupted. Fortunately, the RAR app has the ability to repair corrupted RAR files. Try these steps:

  1. Open the RAR app and locate the corrupted RAR file.

  2. Tap the empty box beside the file to select it.

  3. Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.

  4. Tap Repair Archive from the drop down menu.

  5. Tap OK when prompted.

  6. A rebuilt RAR file will appear within the current folder, and you should be able to extract it as normal.