How To Open and Extract RAR Files on Your Mac in 6 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 28, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

RAR files allow professionals to send large documents in a condensed format. Opening these compressed files on a Mac requires a specific tool and a set of steps to open or upload items. Learning how to use this process can help you download and send important files using your computer.

In this article, we explain what RAR files are, the steps you can use to open these files on your Mac, the benefits of using RAR files and tips for opening RAR files on a Mac.

Key takeaways

  • A RAR file is compressed, which means it can hold many files at once. This makes it useful for downloading and sending large numbers of files.

  • After opening a RAR file on Mac, you can access it like a folder to use and open the files you need.

  • Free extracting tools are necessary to open RAR files on Mac, and it may be beneficial to review several before determining which is best for you.


What is a RAR file?

RAR stands for Roshal Archive compressed files. Users send these files in a folder that contains many documents. Any file sent through this type of folder uses the .rar file extension. Because they're compressed, RAR files can only be opened through a specific software program. Since many email servers don't support sending or downloading large files, using RAR files allows you to send bigger groups of documents in a single communication.

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How to open RAR files on a Mac

Since Macs don't support RAR files through default operations, opening this type of file on an Apple Computer requires a specific file downloader and converter. Here are the steps you can follow to open a file with a .rar extension on a Mac:


1. Choose the right extraction tool

While there are plenty of applications to choose from, the best one for your professional communication depends on how you plan to use the tool. If you occasionally have compressed files, a basic system like Unarchiver may work well. Many of these tools are free to download and install on your device. If you don’t extract files often, you can uninstall the program when you’re finished using it. These are some extracting tools you can use on Mac:

  • Unarchiver

  • Keka

  • UnRarX

  • StuffIt

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2. Download your chosen application

Once you determine which extraction tool best meets your needs, download the application to your Mac through the app store or the program's website. Locate the file in your system so you can return to the program to make changes. You might also consider adding a shortcut if you use the tool often. It's a good idea to make sure you have enough disk space before you download the application.

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3. Preview the application

After you secure enough disk space and download the application onto your Mac, access the program to start archiving and unarchiving your chosen files. Familiarize yourself with the app so you can recognize key features. Once the application is open, you can view, download and archive RAR files on your computer.

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4. Launch the application

With your extraction tool open, use the controls to select a file to compress or decompress. You can typically move a file directly into your application once it's open. After you drop the file into the program, find the item and choose extract. Next, choose where to send the file and click on the tab for "done."

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5. Choose your file to archive or unarchive

You can also choose to access a file to archive or unarchive by finding that file on your Mac and right-clicking on it. When the option menu opens, choose "Open With," then click on your extraction tool. You may have the choice to save the file as a different extension so be sure to choose the .rar option. When choosing files to archive as one group, it may be easier if you put them in a single file ahead of time so you can access the entire group of documents at once.

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6. Open and redistribute files as needed

After opening and accessing your files or compressing a set of items, organize your documents. You may decide to save certain files to other areas, like a cloud storage drive or a personal folder. It may be helpful to create a folder specifically for archived and unarchived files.

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Benefits of using RAR files

Though using RAR files may create extra steps for downloading and opening files, RAR files offer multiple benefits to Mac users. These are some benefits you may experience when using and importing RAR files:

  • Capacity for more information in a single file

  • Ability to easily bundle large amounts of data

  • Option for password protection on files

Additional security for the sender and receiver


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Tips for opening RAR files on a Mac

Downloading and compressing RAR files on a Mac can help you send and receive larger files or more files at one time. This efficient form of sending items benefits professionals across industries. Here are some tips to help you prepare RAR files:

  • Use RAR files to protect and secure sensitive files with a password.

  • Prepare to download RAR files through internet pages due to their speed and ease of compression.

  • Select RAR as an option for file downloads once you install your chosen extraction tool.

  • Rename an unarchived file to easily remember the content in a folder.

  • Find software to help you edit RAR files if necessary.

  • Consider using an online extractor tool that doesn't require a download to your device, like Unzip-Online.

  • Set the RAR extraction tool as your default option in your settings menu if you plan to use the application often.

  • Verify the source before extracting an RAR file to ensure the safety of your Mac and the information contained in the archives.

  • Convert Zip files to RAR files as needed using your extraction tool.

  • Recover files with an error through RAR extraction tools.

Please note that none of the products or companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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