To allow for faster, more efficient data transfers, many digital files are compressed or archived. RAR is a common type of compression. The RAR format, like other compression formats, works by using an algorithm to create a smaller sized file without losing data. RAR files are more frequently used with PCs,but Mac users may encounter RAR files, particularly when dealing with cross-platform software. Mac users must use a third-party application to unzip, or decompress, RAR files.
Use UnRARX to decompress RAR files for free on your Mac (see Resources). This bare-bones application effectively extracts RAR files. To use the application after installing, launch it and drag a file to the main menu.
Purchase Rucksack for a RAR extractor with a variety of other features (see Resources). Rucksack is a full-featured compression and decompression application for Mac computers. With Rucksack, you can open archived files including RAR, 7zip, DMG, ZIP and Stuffit. Rucksack also has the ability to create compressed files and convert compressed files to other formats.
Expand RAR files using the Free RAR Expander application (see Resources). After installing and launching RAR Expander, you use the “Expand” menu item to browse for the desired file and expand it. RAR Expander includes AppleScript support for those who want to use scripts to automat extraction.