You will encounter a file format that Windows doesn’t support at some point. In this case, you need alternative software. RAR is a relatively common type of file to have that problem with. Luckily, this guide will explain how you can open RAR files on computers or mobile devices without issues. RAR is a file compression program that was initially designed for data archiving. RAR files are similar to those you get after you decide to ZIP a file. They may contain many additional files, much like a folder, but those are compressed to save space on the hard drive. This makes sharing folders easier because you only have to send one file instead of numerous small ones, and it’s overall smaller.
Guide to open RAR files with the WinRAR program
You can use various programs to open or extract RAR files, but this guide focuses on WinRAR. Not only was it designed specifically for handling RAR files, but is accepted as one of the best options available. Here are the steps you need to take:
Visit the WinRAR website to download your desired version. The English versions are located at the top of the page and come in either 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64). Even though 32-bit versions can run on any PC, we suggest trying the 64-bit version first because it performs better and is more secure–especially if you have a modern processor. You can also see programs for Mac and Linux here, but they’re only command-line based. There’s also RAR for Android, in case you want to open RAR files on your phone. If you want WinRAR in a different language, various translated versions are below. Now:
- Run the installer and follow its directions.
- On the left side, you’ll see a list of file extensions. WinRAR will automatically launch when you double-click them. There’s a reason ISO and JAR aren’t selected here; we recommend leaving everything as it is.
- After the installation process finishes, click OK.
- To proceed, go to the RAR file you’ve downloaded and double-click it to open it. It will launch in WinRAR. You may see a notification alerting you to buy a WinRAR license, but you can select OK to skip that.
- You can see all files and folders inside the RAR archive. WinRAR allows you to add additional files to the archive, verify their integrity, or even perform virus scans using an antivirus program installed on your PC.
- You can extract and open a file immediately by double-clicking it, or you may save them to a permanent folder on your PC for quick retrieval. If you want to get rid of all the files at once, choose them all (Ctrl + A) or none, then select Extract To in the toolbar at the top. Only the selected files will be extracted if you only highlight them.
- A window will pop up, allowing you to select where you want the files to go. The extracted files will go into whatever location you pick. Thus, if you don’t want them to get mixed in with other stuff, make a new folder for them first. Click the OK button when ready, and the extraction process will begin.
- After the operation is completed, you can access the files in your Windows File Explorer. If you want to open a picture in Photoshop, for example, you can launch it directly.
To open RAR files on Windows without opening the software, right-click the file and select ‘Extract,’ then choose where you would like to save the extracted content. If you want to extract multiple files without exploring them first, follow these same steps but select ‘Extract To’ from the WinRAR context menu instead. You can create new RAR archives by selecting the desired files or folders, mouse over WinRAR in File Explorer, and choosing ‘Add To Archive.’
Using a Mac computer to open RAR files
If you’re a Mac user, the process for opening RAR files is similar to the one for Windows. Below-mentioned is some instructions to follow:
- Download The Unarchiver for macOS and install it.
- Right-click on the RAR file and select Open With → The Unarchiver.
- The Unarchiver will extract the contents of the RAR file and open them in a new folder.
Opening RAR files on iPhone
If you’re trying to open a RAR file on your iPhone, you’ll need to download an app that can handle the file type. Once you have a RAR app installed, you can use it to open RAR files from email attachments, websites, or on your computer. Now, though we have no affiliation, like other software, WinZip is one of the most popular ways to open RAR files on PC and Mac. Well, the company also offers an iOS app.
With WinZip for iOS, you can open RAR files from email attachments, webpages, and other apps like Dropbox. The app supports password-protected RAR files and can create new RAR files from scratch. You can use the free version of WinZip for iPhone, but it’s pretty limited and only lets you open RAR files that are smaller than 100 MB. If you want to be able to open larger files or create new RAR archives, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid Pro version, which costs $7.99. Regardless, the process to use WinZip to open RAR files on iPhone is as follows:
- Open the app and tap the “Open in WinZip” button.
- You can choose how you want to open the RAR file:
- You can tap the “From Mail” option if it’s from an email attachment. If it’s from a website, tap the “From Safari” option.
- You can also open RAR files from other apps like Dropbox by tapping the “Open in Other Apps” button and picking the app you want to use.
- Once you’ve selected the RAR file you want to open, WinZip will extract the files and show them in a list. Tap on a file to open it, or tap the “Share” button to share it with another app.
Android users can view RAR file content this way
You can open RAR files on your Android device in a few different ways. One way is to download and install a file manager app, such as 7Z, allowing you to open the RAR file. The following steps demonstrate how to open RAR files on Android using the 7Z program:
- Open 7Z on Google Play Store.
- Download, install, and open the 7Z app on your Android device.
- Tap on the RAR file that you want to open. If prompted, select 7-Zip as the default program to open RAR files.
- The contents of the RAR file will now be extracted, and you can access them from within the software. If you want to extract the files to a different location, tap on the “Extract To” option and select the desired location.
Using Cloud to browse RAR archives on Android
Another way to open RAR files on Android is to upload the RAR file to a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive, and then use a file viewer app to open it. The following steps demonstrate how to open RAR files on Android using Google Drive:
- Upload the RAR file to your Google Drive account.
- Download and install any file viewer app from the Google Play Store if you don’t have one by default.
- We will use File Viewer for Android for demonstration. Once the installation is complete, open it.
- Tap on the “Cloud” option and select “Drive.”
- Navigate to the RAR file you uploaded to Google Drive and tap on it to open it. The contents of the RAR file will now be displayed in the File Viewer for Android app.
- If you want to extract the files, tap on the “Extract” option and select the desired location.
Open RAR files for any platform online
There are a few websites that offer online RAR file extraction services regardless of the platform. One such website we are unaffiliated with is Unrar Online. Here’s what to do if you want to use Unrar Online to view RAR files on Android:
- Visit the Unrar Online website.
- Choose the “Select files” button and select the RAR file you want to open.
- Select the “Unrar!” button.
- The contents of the RAR file will now be extracted, and you can access them from within your web browser. If you want to save the extracted files to your device, tap or click the “Download” button.
- Select the desired location and pick the “OK” button. The files will now be downloaded to your Android device.