How to Open .rar Files on Mac: A Beginner’s Guide

Opening .rar files on a Mac can be a bit tricky if you’re not familiar with the process. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you out! In this article, we’ll guide you through 12 easy steps on how to open .rar files on a Mac. We’ll also explain what a .rar file is, and provide you with some tips and tricks to help you with your Mac file management.


1. Download Unarchiver

The first step to opening .rar files on a Mac is to download a program called Unarchiver. This program can be found on the App Store and can extract almost any type of archive file. Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, move on to the next step.

2. Locate the .rar File

Navigate to the location of the .rar file that you want to open. Keep in mind that just like any other file, .rar files can be stored anywhere on your computer. Some common places where you might find .rar files include your Downloads folder or in a folder on your desktop.

3. Double Click the .rar File

Once you’ve located the .rar file that you want to open, simply double click on it. This will open it in Unarchiver automatically if it is set as your default program for opening archive files. If Unarchiver is not your default program, right-click on the .rar file, select “Open With,” and select Unarchiver.

4. Select Destination Folder

When the file is opened in Unarchiver, you will be prompted to select a destination folder where the extracted files will be saved. You can select any folder you prefer. Once you’ve selected a destination folder, click the “Extract” button.

5. Wait for Extraction

The amount of time it takes to extract the files depends on the size of the .rar file itself, as well as your computer’s processing power. Wait until the extraction is complete before moving on to the next step.

6. Access Extracted Files

Once the extraction is complete, you can access the extracted files by navigating to the destination folder that you selected in step 4. The extracted files will be stored in a new folder with the same name as the original .rar file.

7. Compress Files

If you ever need to compress a file into a .rar file format, you can do so with Unarchiver. Simply select the file that you want to compress, right-click on it, select “Compress,” and choose “RAR Archive.” Unarchiver will then compress the file into a .rar file format.

8. Change Default Program

If you find yourself often working with archive files, you can set Unarchiver as your default program for opening them. Simply right-click on an archive file, select “Get Info,” and select Unarchiver as the default program.

9. Delete Original .rar File

After you’ve extracted the files from the .rar archive, you can safely delete the original .rar file. It’s important to do this to free up space on your computer’s hard drive.

10. Organize Files

Now that you’ve extracted the files, it’s important to keep them organized. You can do so by creating new folders, moving files into those folders, and deleting any unnecessary files.

11. Keep Your Mac Clean

One of the best ways to keep your Mac running smoothly is to keep it organized and free of unnecessary files. Make it a habit to regularly go through your files and delete anything that you no longer need.

12. Back Up Your Files

Lastly, make sure that you back up your important files. You can do so by using an external hard drive or cloud storage service, such as Google Drive or iCloud.


Now that we’ve gone through the steps of opening .rar files on a Mac, let’s take a moment to explain what a .rar file actually is. A .rar file is an archive file that compresses one or more files into a smaller size. This makes it easier to transfer files over the internet or store them on your computer’s hard drive.

Tips and Tricks:

1. Rename Files

If you have a large number of files or folders, it can be helpful to rename them to something more descriptive. This will make it easier to find specific files later on.

2. Use Shortcuts

Learn keyboard shortcuts to save time. For example, you can use the “command + delete” shortcut to move a file to the trash.

3. Use Finder Features

Take advantage of Finder features, such as Smart Folders, which automatically group files based on certain criteria. You can also use Quick Look to preview files without actually opening them.

4. Use iCloud

If you have multiple Apple devices, consider using iCloud to sync your files across them. This makes it easier to access your files no matter which device you’re on.

5. Use Spotlight

Spotlight is a powerful search tool built into macOS. Use it to quickly find files and folders on your computer.

6. Keep Your Desktop Clean

A cluttered desktop can slow down your Mac. Keep it clean by only keeping essential files and folders on it.

7. Empty Trash Regularly

To free up space on your Mac’s hard drive, make sure to empty your trash regularly. You can do so by right-clicking on the Trash icon and selecting “Empty Trash.”

8. Use Time Machine

Time Machine is a built-in backup feature on macOS. Use it to automatically back up your important files to an external hard drive.

9. Use Tags

Tags are a great way to organize your files. You can add tags to files and then easily search for them later on using Finder.

10. Use Siri

Did you know that you can use Siri to help you with file management tasks? Try asking Siri to “delete my trash,” for example.

In conclusion, opening .rar files on a Mac may seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and knowledge, it’s actually quite simple. By following the steps we’ve outlined and implementing the tips and tricks we’ve provided, you’ll be able to manage your files on your Mac more efficiently.

Advantages and disadvantages of opening .rar on Mac


1. Opens compressed files: By opening .rar files on your Mac, you get access to multiple compressed files within one file.

2. Easy to open: You can easily open .rar files on your Mac with the help of archive programs available in the App Store or online.

3. Saves space: If you have a lot of files to transfer, compressed .rar files can help save storage space on your Mac.

4. Secure: .rar files can be password protected, which provides additional security for your files.

5. Keeps files organized: With .rar files, multiple files can be compressed and stored in one place, making it easier to keep your files organized.

6. Can be edited: Files within a .rar file can be edited without having to extract them first, saving you time and effort.

7. Compatible: .rar files can be opened on both Mac and Windows platforms, making it easy to share files across different devices.

8. Adjustable compression ratio: .rar files allow you to set the compression ratio according to your needs, making it more flexible than other compression formats.

9. Able to split large files: With .rar files, you can split large files into smaller ones, which makes them easier to transfer and store.

10. Quick extraction: Extracting files from .rar archives is a quick process, saving you time and making it more efficient.


1. Requires third-party software: To open .rar files on a Mac, you need to install additional third-party software, which may come with a cost.

2. Limited compatibility: Mac’s built-in archive tools can only open certain compression formats, which limits its functionality.

3. Risk of malware: Downloading archive programs from unknown sources can put your Mac at risk of malware.

4. Difficult to open on older Macs: Older Macs may have difficulty opening .rar files due to their outdated software.

5. Can be time-consuming: Extracting large .rar files can be a time-consuming process, which can be frustrating.

6. Quality loss: Compressed files within .rar archives may experience quality loss, affecting the quality of images or music files.

7. Takes up memory space: If you do not remove the compressed .rar files after extraction, they can take up additional memory space on your Mac.

8. Password protected files: While password protected files offer added security, they can also lead to potential problems if the password is lost or forgotten.

9. Not as widely used: While .rar files are a popular compression format, they are not as widely used as other formats such as .zip.

10. File corruption: .rar files can become corrupted during the compression process or if the storage device is damaged, leading to the loss of valuable data.


1. What is a .rar file?

A .rar file is a type of compressed file that contains one or more files inside it. It’s similar to a .zip file but has a different compression method.

2. Why can’t I open a .rar file on my Mac?

Mac computers don’t have built-in software to open .rar files. You’ll need to download a third-party program to extract the files.

3. What program do I need to open a .rar file on Mac?

You can use programs like The Unarchiver, WinZip, or StuffIt Expander to open .rar files on your Mac.

4. How do I download The Unarchiver?

You can download The Unarchiver for free from the App Store or from the developer’s website.

5. How do I use The Unarchiver to open a .rar file?

Once you’ve installed The Unarchiver, simply double-click on the .rar file, and it will automatically extract the files.

6. What is WinZip?

WinZip is a popular compression and archive tool that allows you to compress and extract files from a variety of file formats, including .rar files.

7. How do I download WinZip?

You can download WinZip from their website for a free trial or purchase the full version for more features.

8. How do I use WinZip to open a .rar file?

Open the WinZip program, click on “File,” and then “Open.” Select the .rar file you want to extract, and then click “Extract.”

9. What is StuffIt Expander?

StuffIt Expander is a free program that allows you to extract files from various archive formats, including .rar files.

10. How do I download StuffIt Expander?

You can download StuffIt Expander for free from their website.

11. How do I use StuffIt Expander to open a .rar file?

With StuffIt Expander installed, simply double-click on the .rar file, and it will automatically extract the files.

12. Can I extract a .rar file on my iPhone?

Yes, you can download third-party apps like iZip or WinZip from the App Store to extract .rar files on your iPhone.

13. Can I create a .rar file on my Mac?

Yes, you can use programs like WinZip or RAR to create .rar files on your Mac. However, it’s important to note that .rar files may not be compatible with all devices, so consider using other file formats for easier sharing.


Opening .rar files on a Mac can be done in a few easy steps. Whether you choose to use a third-party app or the built-in Archive Utility, the process is straightforward and simple.

Remember to always download and install software from a reputable source, and to use caution when extracting files from unknown sources. By following these tips and tricks, you can easily open .rar files on your Mac and access the files you need.


Thank you for reading our guide on how to open .rar files on a Mac. We hope this article has been helpful in resolving any issues you may have had with this file type.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us. We are always happy to help and provide further assistance. Until next time, happy file extracting!