How To Open a RAR File

This guide helps you learn what a RAR file is and teaches you how to open one.
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RAR files are used when you need to compress and send a large amount of data at once. The .rar extension shows that one or more files and folders are stored and ready to be extracted. These are high-quality compressed files that can be encrypted for protection.

Windows 11 users have native support for RAR files, but other operating systems require the installation of a third-party app to open these files.

In this guide, we review some of the best software available so you can download files safely and simply, no matter what device you use.

In this article
The top third-party apps to open RAR files
How to Open RAR Files FAQs
Bottom line

The top third-party apps to open RAR files

Before downloading any software, ensure that it’s compatible with your operating system. If you want to save some cash, look for free trials, as many apps allow you to test the product before you buy it. A free trial can be especially beneficial if you don’t frequently open RAR files. Below are the best third-party apps you can use to extract files.


WinZip is arguably one of the better-known ZIP utility programs. It allows you to unzip, encrypt, manage, and share files.

To open a RAR file:

  1. Right-click on the RAR file
  2. Hover over WinZip to find the menu
  3. Click Unzip to… and choose the location to save the file
  4. Click Unzip


WinRAR is a compression tool, but it also comes with other features. It supports numerous formats, including RAR and ZIP, and uses AES 256-bit encryption for data security.

To open a RAR file:

  1. Right-click the RAR file you want to open
  2. Click Open with WinRAR
  3. Click Extract To
  4. Select a destination folder


7-Zip is free, open-source software. It’s a fast application that boasts a high compression ratio. It also uses AES 256-bit encryption for security and supports a wide range of formats.

To open a RAR file:

  1. Right-click the file you want to open
  2. Select 7-Zip
  3. Click Open Archive
  4. Click Extract
  5. Choose the location where you want to save the files
  6. Click OK


If you want software designed for macOS and iOS, iZip checks the box. It supports large files and includes secure sharing with AES 256-bit encryption. The app is also one of the easiest ones to use.

To open a RAR file:

1. Double click to open the RAR file

2. To extract the file, drag it to the location using the Finder

The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver is another app often used to open RAR files on a Mac. This free software supports multiple archive formats.

To open a RAR file:

  1. Download the Unarchiver
  2. Open Preferences
  3. Click Archive Formats
  4. Ensure there’s a checkmark near the RAR Archive
  5. Click Extraction
  6. Choose where to save the extracted folder
  7. Right-click on the .rar formatted file
  8. Click Open With The Unarchiver
  9. Select a destination folder
  10. Click Extract

How to Open RAR Files FAQs


Are RAR files safe?

RAR files are typically safe, but we recommend using the best antivirus software, as any file can contain malware. An antivirus program scans your device before you extract files that may be malicious.


Can I open RAR files on an iPhone and an Android?

You can open RAR files on an iPhone and an Android using a third-party application. WinZip can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, and iZip is available in Apple’s App Store.


How do I convert RAR files to ZIP?

You can use a popular program like WinZip to convert RAR files to ZIP. Right-click the RAR file and then select Open with and choose WinZip.


Why is my RAR file corrupted?

If your RAR file is corrupt, you may have a virus on your device. It could also be a damaged file that had an issue during compression. Another reason may be that the third-party extraction software was not downloaded correctly. Try removing the software and reinstalling it.

Bottom line

If you need to extract data from an RAR file, Windows 11 has native software that supports these archives. Other platforms and operating systems require a third-party software app to open RAR files.

Most RAR files are safe, but to be sure, we don’t recommend you download files without scanning them with antivirus software first. With the apps in this guide, you can open RAR files on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

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Author Details
Patti Croft is a seasoned writer specializing in technology, with three years of experience. With a B.S. in Computer Science and a background as a technical analyst and security specialist, she covers a range of topics like data security and parental control software.