How to Open RAR Files on macOS

An uncomplicated way to decompress those odd but still existing RAR files

RAR files
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Opening a RAR file without leaving the Finder is what Apple offers in macOS Sonoma. Even if you have an older version of the operating system, you can still use this built-in file compressor and decompressor. It is easy to use, as you will see below.

It is an advantage because it allows us to manage the famous ZIP files as soon as we start a newly purchased Mac. However, there is a shortcoming: the ZIP format is the only one supported by this compressor.

What can we do if we download a compressed file in RAR format? What if we receive it as an attachment by mail? RAR is a less used type of compression, but it is still on the networks. In this case, we have to use a third-party application.

macOS for ZIPs, Unarchiver for the Rest

There are several file decompressors/compressors available in the App Store —most veterans remember the mythical Stuffit Expander. However, I am going to recommend an alternative called The Unarchiver, which you can install for free from the App Store.

I prefer this program because its developers keep it updated due to its compatibility with many compression formats and because it is free. By the way, there is no macOS version of WinRAR. Well, technically, there is one, and it is optimized for Apple Silicon. Although, it has no graphical interface and must be used via the command terminal. Not the easiest thing in the world.

How to Decompress a RAR File Using The Unarchiver From macOS

Once installed, The Unarchiver will display a window asking you to enable support for all compressed file formats you want to use. My advice here is to activate all file types except ZIP, as in this case, it is best to let the native macOS compressor take control:

The Unarchiver for macOS

From here, the process is as simple as double-clicking on a .RAR file to have The Unarchiver decompress it to the same directory. The original .RAR file is not deleted, in case you need it.

The Unarchiver RAR decompressor

Another free alternative to decompressing files on macOS is Keka, compatible with many formats. You can download it from its official website, or for $4.99 on the App Store.

It may be a long time since you've seen a compressed file in RAR format, it all depends on what you download on the Internet. Anyway, if you ever come across one, you know that your Mac can become a decompressor of this and other compression formats less common than ZIP.

Image | Ali Mahmoudi

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