Category How To
how to open rar files This article will help you understand what are RAR files, the ways to open RAR files on Windows, iOS, MAC, and Android, how you can create and covert these files, and much more.

Did you recently come across a file with a stack of books as an icon and wonder what it is and how to work with it? Well, you have just encountered a RAR file. They are one of the most user-friendly tools ideal for protecting and viewing multiple files. You can also easily open RAR file and access the information inside them. 

However, do you know how? Well, this is where this guide can help you. It will walk you through what are RAR files, the ways to open RAR files, and ways to extract them on various platforms. So stay tuned till the end. 

What is a RAR File?

RAR stands for Roshal Archive. It is a densely compressed archive that can carry multiple files in their compressed form. A Russian software engineer named Eugene Roshal created RAR files in 1993, aiming to develop a secure and easy way to transfer files in a compressed format. 

These files are compressed using software called WinRAR. Thus, archives can be easily shared, encrypted, or even password-protected, making them a valuable tool. Moreover, you can open RAR file later to its original format. This is also why RAR files are extensively used in many industries to share big and password-protected files.

How to Open a RAR File?

There are numerous ways to open a RAR file. You may open the RAR file using either the usual WinRAR program or another one. This also varies depending on the device being used. 

There are multiple apps and methods for different platforms, whether Android, iOS, Mac, or Windows. Here are some answers on how to unzip RAR files:

How do you Open a RAR File in Windows?

Numerous Windows users do not know how to handle and open RAR files. Therefore, follow the steps below to understand how to open a RAR file on Windows:

Step 1: Select the .RAR file

open rar file

Find the RAR file and double-click on it. This should open the file directly in WinRAR. If it does not, you may have to choose WinRAR from the “Open With” menu after right-clicking once on the file.

Step 2: Choose Extract Folder

Chose extract folder

First, find the folder you wish to extract from within the WinRAR interface. Once you have located the folder, click on it to select it. Then, right-click on the folder's name in the middle of the WinRAR popup window. 

Select the appropriate RAR extractor option based on your needs. This step ensures that you extract the contents of the selected folder to the desired location on your computer.

Step 3: Select the “Extract To” option 

rar file extractor

Click on the “Extract To” Option in the top left corner of the window. It is symbolized by a folder icon. This will lead to a window of the RAR file extractor where you can choose the place to extract the file.

Step 4: Choose Where you Want to Extract the Files

rar extractor

From the available places, choose the folder or place you want to extract the files. It will create a path for the files if one does not exist. You can choose the location in the program to open RAR files visually through the right-hand side of the popup window.

Step 5: Complete the process

free rar extractor

Click “OK” to complete the process and extract the files in the desired location. Once the extraction process is complete, you can interact with it like you would with a normal folder.

These were some small and easy steps to work with RAR files. WinRAR is powerful for manipulating and opening RAR files on Windows. Now, let us see some more ways to open RAR files on different platforms.

How to Open a RAR File on a Mac?

After Windows, the next most widely used operating system is the macOS. According to many surveys, it has recently seen a growth in market share and jumped to one-fifth of the market share. Thus, it is one of the most prominent OSs on the market. Thus, here are some simple steps to unzip RAR files on macOS-

Step 1: Install Unarchiver 

 Install Unarchiver

If you are wondering how to run RAR files, Unarchiver is a popular app available on the Mac App Store. It is like WinRAR for macOS. Download the unarchive app by searching for it in the App Store for Mac.

Step 2: Search for the RAR File

Search for the RAR File

Once the installation is complete, search for the RAR file. If it is available on your desktop, you should be able to see it. If not, you may look through the folders or utilize Spotlight Search by clicking the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of your screen. 

Step 3: Choose how to Open the RAR File

rar extractor

Once you select the file, then click on the File tab on the screen. In the menu, hover the pointer over the “Open With” option, and from the drop-down menu, select “Unarchiver.”

Step 4: Choose Where to Extract 

free rar extractor

From the window on the left-hand side, choose the path and the final location by clicking on the folder and all subsequent folders to research the destination where the files are to be extracted and stored.

Step 5: Finish the Extraction

rar file extractor

Simply click on the extract to finalize the process and extract the files to the desired location. Once you unzip the RAR file and extract it in a folder, it can be accessed by simply double-clicking it.

How to Open RAR Files on an iPhone?    

iPhones are the best-selling mobiles in the world. They have millions and millions of users worldwide, and it is the biggest platform on mobile devices for using RAR files. Hence, here are some simple and easy steps to follow to open an RAR file on an iPhone.

Step 1: Go to the Documents app on the iPhone

My files

Go to the Documents app on your iPhone. You can easily identify it as it has a blue folder icon. You may access the My Files area and go to the RAR folder.

Step 2: Find the RAR File

how to open rar files

Find the RAR file and tap on it to see the further menu options. Tap on it to see the options to choose the place where you want to extract the files. Once you select the place, click on “Extract” to open the RAR file on your iOS device.

Step 3: Locate the Files

open rar files

Documents will move the extracted files from the compressed RAR files into a folder with the same name as the RAR files. Locate the folder in My Files, and you can access the files.

Following these simple few steps, you can open an RAR file on an iPhone and make use of it. Apple includes the Document app, which is pre-installed and can be utilized to extract RAR files.

How to Open RAR Files on Android?

Android has the largest pool of users in the world, and many different companies use it as an operating system. Android users, no matter the phone company they have, have the same base operating system. Let us see some simple steps to learn how to open RAR files on an Android device.

Step 1: Download the Official RAR app From PlayStore

Official RAR app

Go to the PlayStore and search for the RAR app to download it. Click on the install button to get the app on your device. And use it to open RAR files online on your mobile device.

Step 2: Open the RAR app

how to unzip rar files

Open the RAR app on your device. It has an icon like a stack of books, which is the standard for RAR files. Once in the app, search through the folders by tapping on them and locating the RAR file on your device.

Step 3: Open the RAR File

Tap on the RAR file to select it. Some RAR files are password protected, and you will need to enter the password to choose them. Once you have selected the file, you can tap on the “Up Arrow” in the top right corner to see the extraction options.

Step 4: Choose the Place to Extract 

Tap the Browse button to select where you wish to extract the files. Choose the place by tapping on the required folders and then the subsequent folders. Tap on “OK” to confirm the extraction.

Step 5: Open the Relevant Files

Once the process is complete, you can simply go to the My Files section and then go to the relevant folders to access the extracted files.

Android users, with the largest market share, need solutions for using and extracting RAR files. Hence, you can follow these steps to extract and work with RAR files. 

Top RAR File Openers

There are hundreds of RAR file openers available in the market. However, choosing one of the best file manager apps can be tricky. Thus, apart from the most popular and free RAR extractor, WinRar, here is a list of some of the best options available:

1. PeaZip

PeaZip is a complimentary utility tool that provides comprehensive support for various archive formats. These formats can be 7Z, CAB, and XAR, alongside an intuitive interface. 

Simply launch the application, locate your RAR file, and then either double-click to access its contents or utilize the Extract function to unpack files to a desired destination. 

PeaZip stands out as a top-notch choice for effortlessly handling RAR files, offering accessibility and the ability to create archives. Moreover, being open-source, it is accessible for users of Windows and Linux platforms alike.

2. 7-Zip

7-Zip is one of the go-to choices for accessing RAR files. It has a user-friendly interface characterized by its sleek and minimalist design.

Moreover, with its intuitive usability, 7-Zip caters to diverse archive formats and facilitates the extraction of multi-volume files. This no-cost solution also incorporates robust 256-bit AES encryption. 

It is currently exclusively compatible with Windows, offering downloads tailored for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems.

3. B1 Free Archiver

B1 Free Archiver has emerged as the archiving solution with the most contemporary appearance among those listed. Alongside its native B1 format compression, it extends support to over 20 prevalent archive formats.

This tool allows users to partition extensive archives into smaller segments, establish password-protected archives, and leverage 256-bit AES encryption. However, it's worth noting the limitation that users are restricted to creating B1 and ZIP archives exclusively. 

Apart from this, B1 Free Archiver can be accessible across all major platforms, encompassing Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android.

4. The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver has established itself as a familiar name among Mac users. Renowned for its sleek interface facilitating effortless user experience, it surpasses Mac's native UnRAR utility by supporting a broader array of archive formats.

This tool is freely accessible to all users. It further distinguishes itself with features like robust support for non-Latin characters. Moreover, it extends compatibility to lesser-known file formats such as XAR, RPM, and Deb.

5. IZArc

IZArc has proven to be the ultimate solution for RAR archiving on low-powered computers, as it offers an array of features. Offering functionalities that rival industry giants like WinRAR, it delivers robust performance without excessively taxing system resources. Its minimalist interface, devoid of flashy animations, ensures a clutter-free user experience.

IZArc facilitates disc spanning, enables the creation of self-extracting archives, and allows users to add comments to their archives. Moreover, it includes essential features expected from a RAR opener, such as zip encryption, virus scanning, and the ability to create multi-volume archives. Currently, IZArc is exclusively available for Windows and iOS platforms, with no support for Mac systems.

However, if you do not want to download any specific software or want to save memory on your device, there is another way. You can use many different online services to open RAR files online to save you the hassle of downloading new software.

What are RAR Files Used for?

RAR files are used for various purposes. Some of them are listed as follows:

1. Compression

RAR files often achieve a higher compression ratio than ZIP files, meaning they can create smaller files. This comes at the expense of taking slightly longer to compress and decompress.

2. Encryption

RAR files can be password-protected using more secure encryption methods than ZIP. This makes them ideal for transferring critical data.

3. Error Correction

RAR files can include error correction data to help repair any damage that might occur during file transfer. This backup feature of RAR files makes it handy for storing data, which ensures they are protected even if the file is hampered.

How to Create a RAR File?

Creating a RAR file using WinRAR is a simple process. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Open WinRAR

WinRAR is the official app that deals with RAR files. Thus, you must start by launching WinRAR to create a RAR file.

Step 2: Select Files/Folders

Now, go to the folder containing the files you want to include in the RAR archive. Choose the desired files and folders by clicking on them.

Step 3: Add Files to the Archive

Click on the "Add" button at the top of the WinRAR window. You can also select "Add files to archive" from the Commands menu.

Step 4: Specify Archive Details

Enter the desired name for the archive in the dialog box that appears, or accept the default name. You can also select the archive format (RAR or ZIP), compression level, and other parameters here.

Step 5: Start Archiving

After finalizing your archive details, you must click the "OK" button to initiate the archiving process. WinRAR must display operation statistics during this process.

Step 6: Completion

Once the archiving process is complete, the command window will disappear, leaving you with your new RAR file.

How to Convert a RAR File?

Converting a RAR file to another format, such as ZIP, can be done quickly using various software tools. Here is a step-by-step process of how you can do it:

Step 1: Choose Conversion Software

You must start by ensuring you have the necessary software installed on your computer to perform the conversion. WinRAR and WinZip are popular options for handling and converting RAR files to other formats like ZIP.

Step 2: Locate the RAR File

Now, you must go to the location of the RAR file you want to convert on your computer.

Step 3: Open the RAR File

Double-click on the RAR file to open it using the associated software. Alternatively, right-click on the file and select the option to open it with the specified program.

Step 4: Extract Files

Once the RAR file is opened, you will see its contents listed. Select the files or folders that you want to convert.

Step 5: Choose Extraction Location

Specify the destination folder wherever you wish to save the extracted files. This step is essential as you must access these files for conversion.

Step 6: Start Extraction

Click on the relevant option or button to extract the selected files from the RAR archive. The extraction process may take some time, depending on the RAR file size and the number of files it contains.

Step 7: Create New Archive (Optional)

After extracting the files, you may create a new archive in the desired format, such as ZIP. Open your compression software (e.g., WinRAR, WinZip) and select the extracted files. Then, choose to create a new archive in the desired format.

Step 8: Specify Archive Settings

In the archive creation process, you may have the option to specify settings such as compression level and encryption. Adjust these settings according to your preferences.

Step 9: Start Conversion

After you have specified the options, start the conversion by choosing the appropriate button or option. The software will then create the new archive in the specified format, containing the files from the original RAR file.

How to Password Protect a RAR File?

Adding a password to a RAR file can be tricky. So, follow the steps below to do it effortlessly:

Step 1: Download and Install WinRAR

Obtain WinRAR from and follow the installation instructions. The trial version allows you to use it for forty days before purchasing.

Step 2: Add Files to the RAR Archive

There are two methods to add files:

  • Open WinRAR, browse for your files, select them, and click "Add."
  • Alternatively, select your files in Windows Explorer, right-click, and choose "Add to archive..."

Step 3: Name Your Archive

The archive will initially be named after the original folder containing the files.

Step 4: Set Password

In the "Archive name and parameters" window's General tab, click "Set password..." This must show you a textbox where you are required to type your password.

Step 5: Enter Password

Now, input your chosen password and confirm it. You can also optionally check "Show password" to view characters as you type.

Step 6: Encrypt File Names

Ensure the "Encrypt file names" box is checked to prevent viewing file names without the password.

Step 7: Save Password

Now, you must click "OK" to save your password and confirm archive creation. That is all you have successfully set a password to a RAR file.

RAR vs. Zip Files

There are numerous differences between RAR and Zip files. Here is a table covering some of them:

Parameters ZIP RAR
Meaning and Basics ZIP is a standard file format compatible with various implementations. RAR is a proprietary format that requires third-party software.
Developer Phil Katz developed ZIP. Eugene Roshal developed RAR.
Year of Invention ZIP was invented in 1986. RAR was invented in 1993.
Rate of Compression The ZIP compression rate is low. The RAR compression rate is high.
Support for Software Operating systems handle ZIP operations. RAR requires third-party software.
Decomposition ZIP files are impractical to decompose. RAR files can be decomposed.
Extension and Filename ZIP: .zipx, .zip RAR: .r01, .r00, .rev, .rar
Protection (Password-Based) ZIP files support password protection. RAR files lack password-based protection.
Programs for Creation Various programs create ZIP files (e.g., WinZip, WinRAR). RAR creation mainly relies on WinRAR.
Encryption Algorithm ZIP uses the ZIP 2.0 encryption algorithm (weaker). RAR employs AES-128, a stronger encryption algorithm.
Compression Algorithm ZIP uses DEFLATE, which is less efficient. RAR uses a more efficient compression algorithm.
Popularity of File Format ZIP is more popular due to its longer existence. RAR is newer and less popular but still widely used.


In conclusion, RAR files are compressed archives used to store and organize multiple files efficiently. You can open RAR file easily by following the steps mentioned above. 

Moreover, with their ability to reduce file size and bundle files together, RAR files are essential for sharing and managing large amounts of data effectively. They can be the answer to the problem of how to protect and view multiple files at the same time.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I Open RAR Files on Mobile?

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    Yes, you can open RAR files on your mobile. However, you would require an application to do the same.

  • Are RAR Files Safe?

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  • Can I Split RAR Files?

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  • How do I Convert RAR Files to Normal Files?

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  • How to Convert RAR to ZIP?

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By Manish LinkedIn Icon

With a mixture of literature, cinema, and photography, Manish is mostly traveling. When he is not, he is probably writing another tech news for you!

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