How to Use a RAR File Extractor for Android

Easily watch movies or listen to music

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.

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

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. They 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 Do 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 those 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 single 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 used 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, it 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 need a different app that's compatible with the iOS platform.

How to Open RAR Files on Android

Follow the below instructions to open a RAR file on your Android device:

  1. Download and install the RAR app for Android.

    A person downloads and installs RAR for Android via Google Play.
  2. Open the RAR app. Its icon looks like a stack of books. When it opens, you should see a list of files and folders.

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

    A person extracts a .RAR file using RAR for Android.

    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.

  6. To perform actions on multiple files at once, tap the boxes beside each file to make a blue checkmark 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, is applied to all selected files.

How to Use RAR for Android

The RAR app has many other uses besides opening RAR files. 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. You're then 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.

    Extracting files with the RAR for Android app.
  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.

    Extractions options for a file in RAR for Android

    The Ask before overwrite feature is selected by default. With this feature enabled, the RAR app lets you know if files with the same name already exist, and you're 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. Select the files you want to compress by tapping the boxes beside them.

    Creating a RAR file in the RAR app for Android
  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 takes 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 these corrupted files. Here's how:

  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.

    A person repairs a RAR file using the RAR app for Android.
  6. A rebuilt RAR file appears within the current folder, and you can extract it as normal.