How to Open .Rar Files on a Mac

By Jay White

May 2, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

A .rar file is one that has been compressed to a smaller size to allow for easier transfer via website downloads or email. The format is similar to that of a .zip file, but the difference is that you’ll need a third-party software program to open a .rar file on a Mac. Extracting a .zip file from Safari, the native Mac browser can be set automatically.

<strong>Downloading an Extracting Utility</strong>

Several different free software programs can be used to open .rar files on a Mac. The first is called The Unarchiver, and it’s available at no cost from You can also locate and download this particular program from the Mac App Store. Once you’ve downloaded the zipped installation files for The Unarchiver, right-click and select “Extract” to start its installation process. After it installs, launch The Unarchiver and check the box marked “RAR Archive” before saving this change. The next time you download a .rar file, this utility on your Mac will extract the files automatically.

<strong>Using the UnRarX Extraction Utility</strong>

UnRarEx is another free third-party program that can extract and open .rar files on a Mac. Downloading and installing it works much the same as for The Unarchiver, except you’ll need to run the utility manually each time. Locate UnRarEx on the developer’s website and follow the included installation instructions. Once the program downloads, drag it to your Mac applications folder before opening it. Locate the .rar file you need to extract and drag it into the open UnRarEx window. If you have a multi-part .rar file to extract, drag the first file into the window, followed by the others in their sequential order. Enter the password for each extraction if this .rar file is password-protected. Give the .rar extraction plenty of time to complete, and then click the “All OK” button in UnRarEx.

After you’ve closed out of the UnRarEx program, locate your extracted files in the same folder as your original download. In newer versions of UnRarEx, you can also set the extractions to run automatically for one downloaded .rar file at a time.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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