How to open RAR files on Mac

StuffIt Expander IconExtracting and opening RAR files in other operating system than Windows can be tedious task. It is because developers of RAR created for Linux and Mac OS X systems ONLY command line utility and not whole application. It is not impossible but inexperienced users can have difficulties working with it.

We will show you, how to extract RAR archives in Mac OS X with the help of some useful third party compression utilities that are much more user friendly and also with the original command line utility.

StuffIt Expander for Mac

StuffIt Expander for Mac is a free extractor for compressed and encrypted files such as RAR, ARJ, ZIP, SIT etc.

Step 1 - Download and install StuffIt Expander

Download the StuffIt Expander from StuffIt website. It is distributed in .dmg disk image file. Open the Expander Installer and install StuffIt Expander. By default StuffIt will be associated with archive files that can not be opened by original extractor installed in Mac OS X.

StuffIt Expander installation


Step 2 - Extract RAR archive

Open the Finder. Go to the folder, where you have stored RAR archives and double click on RAR archive that you wanted to extract.

Apple Finder main window

Wait until the extraction is finished. Extracted files will be stored in the same directory as the archive.

The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver is a free open source extractor that looks like standard "Archive" distributed with Mac OS X.

Step 1 - Download and Install The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver is distributed in ZIP archive. Extract The from archive and copy it to the Applications folder.

Run The Unarchiver and associate archive file formats that you wanted to extract through The Unarchiver. After that close a Preferences window by red close button.

The Unarchiver Preferences window

Step 2 - Extract RAR archive

Open the Finder and go to the folder with RAR archives. Double click on RAR archive and wait until the extract process will be finished. Extracted files from archive will be stored in the same directory.

The Unarchiver in progress

RAR for Mac OS X

Step 1 - Download and Install RAR for Mac

RAR for Mac OS X is available to download on RARLAB website. It is distributed without any installation application, only packed in tar.gz archive. Archive contains two command line programs RAR and UNRAR. RAR is able to create and extract RAR archives and UNRAR can be used only to extract them.

This option however requires certain experience and knowledge about Mac OS X Terminal and its commands.

Extract the downloaded tar.gz archive, which is natively supported by Mac OS X. Start Terminal and browse to the RAR folder and type command:

sudo mv unrar /usr/bin

Apple Terminal Unrar sudo installation

This command will integrate the UNRAR utility to Terminal commands and from now on you are able to extract RAR archives with Terminal.

Step 2 - Extract RAR archive

Now browse to the folder with your RAR archives and type the following command:

unrar e VastVision.rar

Apple Terminal UnRAR extraction

Now just wait until the extraction is finished. Extracted files will be located in the same folder as the original RAR archive.

Related software and links:

RAR for Mac icon

RAR for Mac    Apple macOS / Mac OS X platform
A Mac version of popular RAR program

StuffIt Expander for Mac icon

StuffIt Expander for Mac    Apple macOS / Mac OS X platform
A Mac version of the popular decompression utility

The Unarchiver icon

The Unarchiver    Apple macOS / Mac OS X platform
A decompression utility used to replace default unpacker software on Mac


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rar - WinRAR RAR compressed archive

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