How to Decompress RAR Files on a Mac

Written by michael hintz
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How to Decompress RAR Files on a Mac
Open RAR files, even on a Mac computer. (hi tech keyboard 2 image by Mograph from

A file ending in RAR (short for Roshal Archive) isn't a usable file but a container holding other files within itself. These files are thereby compressed in size, allowing for more information to fit in a smaller area of a disk drive. The archiving standard RAR was originally developed for Microsoft Windows, so the only operating system with a graphical user interface driven program supported by RARLab is Windows. Although a command line only version of the program may be downloaded for Mac, other companies now offer GUI-driven programs that are much easier to use and, more importantly, free.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Download the set-up file for a compatible GUI-driven program for the Mac operating system. Examples of such programs include UnRarX,, and RAR Expander for Mac,, but any program designed to expand or extract files from RAR archives for a Mac will work.

  2. 2

    Install the program by following the on-screen instructions after executing the set-up file that you downloaded. Install it with all default settings.

  3. 3

    Open the program and point it to the RAR file or files that you need decompressed by selecting "Browse" and selecting the files in the menu that comes up.

  4. 4

    Click "Extract" to begin decompressing files from the RAR file and transferring them to the default file location, as set in the program's preferences. Alternatively, you may be able to change the file location for each file manually.

Tips and warnings

  • Many RAR decompression programs have the capability to set a specific destination for extracted files to go to, as well as many other settings to increase the efficiency of extracting multiple files at once.
  • WinRAR from RARLab is not compatible on Mac computers. Do not try to install their program on a Mac (though the command line only version will work fine, if you feel comfortable with using command line-driven programs, but most people are not).

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