Open and UnRar RAR Files on a Mac

Nov 1, 2010 - 14 Comments

unrar mac

If you need to open and expand rar files in Mac OS X, grab the free UnRarX tool. Not only will UnRarX quickly open and decompress .rar files, but it also has the ability to restore corrupted and missing archives using par files. Archive restoration using par2 is often essential when working with torrent and newsgroup downloads.

UnRarX is a free download and you can get it here.

How to Open .rar Files and Unrar in Mac OS X

Once you download the app, opening and expanding rar files is similar to .zip and .sit archives:

  • Download UnRarX from the above link
  • Launch UnRarX
  • Drag and drop any rar archives into the open application to unrar them

After UnRarX has been run, it will now be associated with .rar archives on your Mac, allowing you to just double-click on any rar file to extract it in the future. You can also just open the rar file and explore the archive without uncompressing it.

Rar files are often thought of as part of the Windows world, but Mac users frequently come across them too. I get asked on a somewhat regular basis “What is a RAR file and how do I use it?” from both Windows and Mac users. After explaining it’s an archive format, I always come back to recommending UnRarX, if there is a better free solution for Mac OS X I haven’t found it yet.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. dvkch says:

    For my personal use i took The Unarchiver. It supports a lot of formats including .rar, and password protected archives. If i remember well UnRarX sometimes had trouble to open them.

    • Paul says:

      The Unarchiver looks great, I’ll check it out thanks!

    • docMD says:

      I second dvkch’s opinion on The Unarchiver. It handles everything I throw at it and it is far better (especially for newbies) to just have one thing than a bunch of programs. Install and forget – the best endorsement in my book.

  2. Kevin says:

    MacPAR Deluxe for me.

  3. Septus says:

    it’s too bad rarlabs hasn’t made a mac version of there gui app for windows.
    With Macs gaining momentum the last years, i think they might do it eventually :)

  4. moz says:

    I like Unarchiver and Unrarx, unrarx is a good solution to keep on a USB key too since it can launch anywhere. Unarchiver is probably more powerful but it basically replaces your default extractor.

  5. Harry says:

    My vote is for Unarchiver (an all-in-one solution). Now, if either of the apps also did archiving as well, then we’d really have something great … for free.

    @moz- u can keep Unarchiver on a USB and it doesn’t have to replace the default.

  6. Brah says:

    I tried unarchiver and unrarx and eventually settled on RarMachine. I like it the best. I can make RAR files and also extract them. I can make RAR files with passwords and also broken into smaller size chunks with RarMachine.

  7. roger says:

    For me the Unarchiver did it. I tried simply all programs, and all ruined at some point. MacPar Deluxe was the second best, but Unarchiver ruled in all my tests, configurable, enqueues multiple requests, deletes multi-file without a glitch, great support, free, etc.

  8. Shane says:

    I used to use the Unarchiver (great app), but now I find iExpander is better. It does .rar files and dozens more. You have to set-up it’s preferences to “unzip” any of the more obscure compression algorithms. It’s good 5 stars out of 5 on MacUpdate. I just went there to see more info on it (it’s free by the way) but the link to the developer’s site is broken. Don’t know if the developer even still exists.

  9. Joris says:

    I use RAR Expander:
    Works perfect, never had any problems with it. But then again, I never tried out the above suggestions. Anyway, I like what I use, so why change, right?

  10. […] definitely handy and makes the built-in archive tool a lot more useful (now if only it could unrar files […]

  11. […] all sorts of archive formats, it has been discussed here before as an alternate when you need to open and unrar RAR files in Mac OS X as well. Because of it’s flexibility, it’s a good addition to any Mac software […]

  12. jackson says:

    Ez7z is better, actually it’s probably the best.

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