4 Ways to Open RAR Files on Mac Seamlessly

As a Mac user, you may have encountered the frustration of receiving or downloading a RAR file and not being able to open it. RAR is a popular file compression format that is widely used for packaging multiple files into a single archive. While Macs have built-in support for ZIP files, they do not natively support RAR files. This can be a hindrance when you need to access the contents of a RAR file or extract its files.

In this blog post, we will explore the challenge of opening RAR files on Mac and provide you with several methods and alternatives to overcome this hurdle. We will also address some frequently asked questions and offer bonus tips to enhance your Mac experience.

Does Mac Support RAR Files?

  • Mac does not natively support RAR files, which can make it difficult to open and access the contents of these files directly.
  • RAR files are primarily associated with Windows operating systems, which have built-in support for this file format.
  • Third-party software is required to open and extract RAR files on a Mac.

Method 1. How to Open RAR Files on Mac [Easy]

Method 1 involves using third-party software to open RAR files on your Mac. One popular choice is FossZIP, it’s an easy-to-use and lightweight application for macOS that allows users to extract a variety of compressed file formats. It’s one of the most popular alternatives to the built-in Archive Utility on Mac because of its wide support for different file types, including RAR, ZIP, 7-Zip, Tar, and many more. The FossZIP’s interface is simple, and it primarily works in the background, integrating seamlessly with macOS.

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1.Download FossZIP  here and install it on your Mac. Once installed, you can find it in your Applications folder.


2. Set Up The FossZIP:

    • Open The FossZIP app.
    • In the preferences or settings window, you’ll see a list of file formats. By default, most of them are selected.
    • Under the “Extraction” tab, you can choose where extracted files should go, such as in the same folder as the archive or a designated extraction folder.

unzip file on Mac

3. Extracting RAR Files:

    • Once The FossZIP is set as the default application for RAR files, you can simply double-click on a RAR file, and FossZIP will automatically extract it for you.

fosszip homepage

  • Alternatively, you can right-click (or control-click) on the RAR file, hover over "Open With", and select "FossZIP " from the dropdown menu.


Additionally, FossZIP offer a preview feature,  it allows you to preview and explore the contents of archives before extracting them. This is particularly useful if you have a large archive and only need a few files from it, or if you want to ensure the contents of an archive are safe and as expected before extraction.

extract zip file on mac

If you frequently interact with compressed files, it’s a must-have tool.

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Pros Cons
1. The FossZIP is an easy-to-use and reliable application. 1. Requires an installation.
2. Supports a wide range of archive formats, including RAR.
3. Simple and straightforward process to open RAR files.

Method 2. How to Open RAR Files on Mac using The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver is a free utility for macOS designed to unpack various compressed file formats, such as RAR, ZIP, 7Z, TAR, and many others. It’s popular among Mac users because of its simplicity and wide range of supported formats.

To open RAR files (or other compressed formats) on a Mac using The Unarchiver:

  • OpenWith_unarchiver

Step 1. You can download it from the Mac App Store or the official website. Once downloaded, move it to the Applications folder or launch it from the downloads.

Step 2. Set it as the default application for RAR files (Optional, but recommended):

    • Right-click (or control-click) on a RAR file.
    • Select "Get Info" from the context menu.
    • Under the "Open with" section, select "The Unarchiver" from the dropdown list.
    • Click the "Change All…" button, then click "Continue" to set The Unarchiver as the default app for all RAR files.

Step 3. Extract RAR Files

    • Once The Unarchiver is set as the default app for RAR files, you can simply double-click any RAR file, and it will automatically be extracted to the same location as the original file.
    • Alternatively, if it’s not set as the default, you can right-click the RAR file and select "Open With > The Unarchiver".
Pros Cons
1. Wide Format Support: Supports numerous file formats including RAR, ZIP, and 7z. 1. No Compression: It can extract but not compress files.
2. User-friendly: Simple and intuitive interface. 2. Limited Features: Lacks advanced features of paid tools.
3. Free: It’s available at no cost. 3. Occasional Updates: Updates might not be as frequent as other software.Method 3. How to Open RAR Files on Mac


Method 3. How to Open RAR Files on Mac by Converting RAR

Method 3 involves using an online file conversion service to convert the RAR file to a more Mac-friendly format, such as ZIP or TAR. ZIP is a universally accepted archive format that macOS can handle without any third-party applications. By converting RAR to ZIP, you avoid the need for specialized software and can ensure better compatibility with other devices and platforms.


  • Choose a Reliable Online Converter: For this method, you’ll need an online conversion service. Websites like CloudConvert and Zamzar are popular choices, but ensure you’re using a trustworthy platform as you’ll be uploading your files.
  • Upload Your RAR File: Once you’ve chosen a converter, look for an "Upload" option. Here, you’ll either drag-and-drop your RAR file or browse your Mac to select it.
  • Pick ZIP as the Output Format: After uploading, the converter will ask you which format you’d like to convert to. Select ZIP from the list.
  • Initiate the Conversion: There will typically be a button labeled "Start Conversion" or something similar. Click it and wait. The conversion time will vary based on the file size and the server load.
  • Download Your ZIP File: After the conversion is finished, you’ll receive a link to download the ZIP file. Save it to your preferred location on your Mac.
  • Access Your Files: Now that you have a ZIP file, double-click on it. macOS will automatically extract its contents, giving you access to the files that were inside the RAR archive.
Pros Cons
1. No installation of additional software required. 1. Requires an internet connection to upload and convert the RAR file.
2. Can convert RAR files to more Mac-friendly formats. 2. May have file size limitations on the conversion service.
3. Quick and easy process for converting RAR files online. 3. May have privacy concerns with uploading personal or sensitive files.

Method 4. How to Open RAR Files on Mac via Terminal

While many Mac users prefer to use third-party apps like FossZIPor The Unarchiver to Open RAR files on Mac, did you know you can do it directly from the Terminal? Using Terminal might seem intimidating to some, but it’s a quick and straightforward process once you get the hang of it. Let’s take a step-by-step look at how to extract RAR files on a Mac using the Terminal.

1. Install Homebrew if you haven’t already

Before we begin, you’ll need to have Homebrew installed on your Mac. Homebrew is a package manager that lets you install a wide variety of software easily. If you haven’t installed Homebrew, follow these steps:

  1. Open Terminal. You can find it in Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  2. Enter the following command:
/bin/bash -c $(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)

2. Install unrar

Now, let’s install the tool we need to extract RAR files: unrar.

  1. In the Terminal, type the following command:
brew install unrar
  1. Wait for Homebrew to download and install the unrar tool. Once it’s done, you’re ready to extract RAR files!

3. Extract RAR files using Terminal

With unrar now installed, you can extract your RAR files. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the directory where your RAR file is located. For example, if your RAR file is in the Downloads folder, type:
cd ~/Downloads/
  1. Once you’re in the correct directory, type the following command:
unrar x [filename].rar

Replace [filename] with the name of your RAR file. So if your file is named "sample.rar", you’d type:

  1. unrar will now extract the contents of the RAR file into the current directory.

Using Terminal to extract RAR files on a Mac is a quick and efficient method, especially if you’re looking to integrate it into scripts or if you simply prefer command-line tools. While there are graphical tools available that offer a more visual approach, it’s always good to know how to get things done directly in Terminal.

Pros Cons
1. No need to install additional software. 1. Requires familiarity with Terminal commands.
2. Simple and straightforward process for Mac users comfortable with the Terminal. 2. Limited features compared to dedicated archive software.
3. Can be used for basic extraction of RAR files. 3. May require additional commands for more complex scenarios.

Alternatives: What to Do If You Can’t Open RAR Files

If you are unable to open RAR files using the methods outlined above, here are three alternative solutions:

  • 1. Ask the sender or the source of the RAR file to provide the files in a different format, such as ZIP.
  • 2. Use a file conversion service or software to convert the RAR file to a more Mac-friendly format.
  • 3. Consider using a virtual machine or Boot Camp to run a Windows operating system on your Mac, which will have built-in support for RAR files.

Bonus Tips

  • 1. Keep your operating system and software up to date to ensure compatibility with various file formats.
  • 2. Be cautious when downloading RAR files from unknown or untrusted sources to minimize the risk of malware or viruses.
  • 3. Explore alternative archive formats, such as ZIP, which have native support on Mac and are widely compatible across different platforms.

5 FAQs about Opening RAR Files on Mac

Q1: Can I open RAR files on Mac without installing any additional software?

A: No, Mac does not have built-in support for RAR files, so you will need to install third-party software to open and extract them.

Q2: Are there any free alternatives to The Unarchiver and WinRAR for Mac?

A: Yes, there are other free applications available, such as Keka and iZip, that offer similar functionality to The Unarchiver and WinRAR.

Q3: Can I open RAR files on Mac using the default Archive Utility?

A: No, the Archive Utility on Mac does not support RAR files. You will need to use third-party software for opening RAR files.

Q4: How do I know if a RAR file is safe to open?

A: Exercise caution when downloading RAR files from unknown or untrusted sources. Scan the file with antivirus software and be mindful of any warnings or suspicious activity.

Q5: Can I create RAR files on Mac?

A: Yes, there are third-party applications like WinRAR, The Unarchiver, and Keka that allow you to create RAR files on your Mac.

The Challenge of Opening RAR Files on Mac

Opening RAR files on a Mac can present some challenges, especially for users who may not be familiar with the nature of various file formats. Here are some of the primary challenges:

  1. No Native Support: macOS does not have built-in support for RAR files, meaning you can’t just double-click on a RAR file and expect it to open as you would with ZIP files.
  2. Need for Third-party Software: To open RAR files, Mac users often need to rely on third-party software or online tools, which can introduce concerns about security, software quality, or additional costs.
  3. Lack of Features: Not all RAR openers for Mac offer a full range of features. For example, some might allow extraction but not the creation of RAR files or the management of password-protected RAR archives.
  4. Concerns with Online Tools: If a user chooses to convert or extract RAR files using an online service, they might be concerned about the privacy of their data, especially if the RAR archive contains sensitive information.

In Conclusion

Opening RAR files on a Mac may pose a challenge due to the lack of native support. However, with the help of third-party software like The Unarchiver or WinRAR, online file conversion services, or alternative solutions, you can overcome this obstacle and access the contents of RAR files on your Mac. With the right tools and knowledge, you can seamlessly handle RAR files and enhance your overall Mac experience.