How to Open RAR Files on a Mac

Your Mac can’t open RAR files natively, so you’ll need an app

This article explains how to open RAR files on a Mac, including instructions for opening a RAR file with an app from the Mac App Store and instructions for using an unzipping website.

What Is the Best RAR Extractor for Mac?

Unlike ZIP files, macOS doesn’t have the native ability to open and unzip RAR files. That means you have to turn to the Mac App Store to download a third-party app or upload your RAR file to an unzipping site. There are a lot of options, and each one comes with strengths and weaknesses.

Some of the best RAR extractors for Mac include:

  • The Unarchiver: This is the best RAR extractor for Mac if you like the default macOS file extractor and want to add RAR support. If you wish, you can set up your Mac so that double-clicking RAR files automatically extracts the files with The Unarchiver, just like double-clicking a ZIP file.
  • Keka: If you want a more advanced option, Keka offers support for RAR5. It also allows you to extract specific files from a RAR instead of extracting the entire thing. However, unlike The Unarchiver, Keka isn't free.
  • This is a file extractor that you don’t have to install. Just upload the RAR file, wait for it to extract, and download the extracted file or files. It's a less secure method because you’re giving control of your file or files to a third party, but it is very convenient.

How to Open RAR Files on a Mac With The Unarchiver

You can use any file extractor from the Mac App Store as long as it supports RAR files, but The Unarchiver is exceptionally easy. If you’re looking for something that will closely match the experience you’re used to with ZIP files, then this is an excellent place to start.

Here’s how to open RAR files on a Mac with The Unarchiver:

  1. Download and install The Unarchiver on your Mac.

    The Unarchiver in the Mac App store.
  2. Open The Unarchiver, and click File.

    File highlighted with The Unarchiver opened.
  3. Click Unarchive to...

    Unarchive to... highlighted in The Unarchiver.
  4. Select your RAR file.

    rar5.rar highlighted in The Unarchiver
  5. Click Unarchive.

    Unarchive highlighted in The Unarchiver.
  6. Select a location to place the extracted files, and click Extract.

    Extract highlighted in The Unarchiver.
  7. Your files will appear in the location you selected.

    An extracted RAR file in macOS Finder.

    Just want to extract files to the default location? You can drag any RAR file onto The Unarchiver’s icon on your Dock to extract the files using your default settings.

How to Use The Unarchiver as Your Default RAR File Extractor

If you don’t want to open The Unarchiver or drag files onto its icon on your Dock, you can set this app as your default RAR app. When you do that, you can double-click any RAR file to extract it, just like you would with a ZIP file.

Here’s how to use The Unarchiver as your default RAR extractor:

  1. Locate your RAR file using Finder.

    RAR files in Finder with Rar.5 file highlighted
  2. Control+Click the RAR file, and select Get Info.

    Get Info highlighted in Finder.
  3. Click Open With.

    Open with... selected in a rar file info.
  4. Select The Unarchiver.

    The Unarchiver highlighted in a file's properties.
  5. Click Change All…

    Change All... highlighted in a rar file's info.
  6. Click Continue.

    Continue highlighted in a confirmation window.
  7. When you double-click a RAR file, it will extract using The Unarchiver.

How to Open RAR Files on a Mac With Unzip Online

If you have a small RAR file to extract and don’t want to install an app, you can use an online extractor like Unzip Online. It's also a good option if you’re on a Mac at work or school where you can’t install apps, but you still need to open a RAR file.

If your RAR file is large, your internet connection is slow, or your file includes sensitive data, you may want to consider installing a file extractor app on your Mac. This method involves uploading your RAR file and then downloading the extracted file or files. This is inherently less secure than just extracting the file directly on your Mac.

Here’s how to open RAR files on a Mac with Unzip Online:

  1. Navigate to the Unzip Online uncompress file page, and click Choose File.

    Choose File highlighted on the unzip online site.
  2. Select the RAR file you want to open, and click Upload.

    Upload highlighted in the unzip online website.
  3. Click Uncompress file.

    Uncompress file highlighted on the unzip online site.
  4. Wait for the extraction process to finish.

    Unzip Online extracting a RAR file with progress bar highlighted
  5. Click the file you want to retrieve.

    robe and wizard hat.psd highlighted on unzip online.
  6. Click Allow.

    Allow highlighted in Safari.
  7. The file will download to your Mac.

    An extracted file from an RAR file downloaded from unzip online.
  8. Click any other files you want to retrieve, and save them in the same manner.

    Each file contained in a RAR archive has to be downloaded separately.

Are RAR Files Safe for Mac?

RAR files are compressed files that have one or more files inside. They can contain text documents, images, videos, a wide variety of other files. The only difference between a RAR file and a ZIP file is the compression method that each uses, which is why your Mac can open ZIP files but can’t open RAR files.

While RAR files aren’t inherently unsafe, they can include unsafe content. If you trust the source of the RAR file, it will probably be safe to open. If you aren’t sure where the RAR file came from or who initially compressed it, the files inside could potentially include malware. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to avoid opening any file that came from an unknown source, which includes RAR files.

If you’re unaware of where a RAR file came from or what it contains, and you’re worried that it may include malware, you can upload it to an online virus scanner.

  • Can I change a RAR file to a ZIP file on a Mac?

    Yes, there are several ways to convert a RAR file to a ZIP file using a Mac. You can use a compression tool, such as BetterZip, which you'd download to your Mac, or try a converter tool like Archiver, which will easily convert your RAR file to a ZIP file. There are also online tools, such as CloudConvert, which offers a limited number of conversions for free before you need to buy a subscription. As with downloading any content or using any online site, make sure you're using a reputable tool.

  • How do I open a RAR file on a Mac without the file's password?

    To open a password-protected RAR file, you'll need to use a workaround. First, try a command-line RAR password-cracking tool, such as cRARk. Another method involves using the Command Prompt and creating a batch script: Open Notepad, enter a batch script code, then save the file with a .bat extension. Next, open the saved .bat file you created, which will then open a Command Prompt window. Then the Command Prompt screen will ask for a filename. Enter the name of the RAR file you can't unlock, then enter the file's location. Command Prompt will attempt to crack the password.

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