How To Open RAR And ZIP Files On A PC, Mac Or Mobile Device

In this guide, we will be explaining how to open RAR and ZIP files on a PC, Mac or Mobile device.

If you’ve ever gotten a mail with a RAR or ZIP file attached, and have not been sure how to open it, then this guide is for you. These are two popular compressed file formats, which are used to reduce the number of space files take up. In this guide, we will be explaining how to open RAR and ZIP files on a PC, Mac or Mobile device.

You might know how to open them on your computer but still, find it a little more difficult on your phone or tablet. The good news is, with the right software, it’s easy to do, no matter what device you’re using. On the Mac and PC, software like WinZip and WinRAR easily open all kinds of archives, but they’re not the simplest tools we found. Read on to find out the easiest way to unpack an archive.

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If you have Windows 7 or 8, the OS can open ZIP files without any software. Opening RAR files will require a free tool called 7-Zip. Once you install 7-Zip, follow these steps to open RAR files:

  1. Right-click the rar file to be opened.
  2. Select “7-Zip > Extract files”.
  3. In the pop-up box that shows up, choose the folder where you’d like to extract the compressed files and click “OK”. If you choose “Extract Here” instead, then the files are saved in the folder where the archive is saved.

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To open RAR files on Mac OS X, install a free RAR extractor app such as “RAR Extractor Free”. Once installed, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the RAR file and select “Open With”.
  2. Now choose “RAR Extractor Free” from the list of programs. This automatically extracts the contents of the archive in the directory the RAR file is in.

After you’ve opened an archive with “Open With” once, future archives can be unpacked by double-clicking on the file.

You can also use the free app “The Unarchiver”, which has great support for multi-part archive files. After installation, you can launch The Unarchiver to associate file types with the app.

After associating file types, you can then extract a RAR archive by simply double-clicking the file. The Unarchiver creates a folder with the same name as the archive and then extracts its contents to the new folder. Note that if you’re working with a multi-part RAR archive, you’ll need to open the first file in the set. The Unarchiver will handle the additional files in the set automatically.

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Due to iOS’s restrictions on access to the file system, opening compressed files is not straightforward. Most apps will ask you to pay for access to cloud storage services such as Dropbox. However, there are ad-supported free apps such as “Zip & RAR File Extractor Free” that let you open compressed files. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open the app which has your RAR file. If it was sent over email, then open the email app. If it is in a cloud storage app, then open that.
  2. Tap the ZIP or RAR file you want to open.
  3. Depending on the app, you will either see a menu pop up, asking you which app you want to open the file with, or you will see an error saying the app can’t open the file.
  4. If you see the latter, hit the share button (a box with an arrow pointing upward).
  5. This will show you the menu mentioned in step 3. Here, select “Open in Zip Extractor” to open your compressed file.
  6. Tap ‘Extract’ to see the files that were in the RAR file.


Extracting compressed files is very easy on Android. Here’s how you can do that quickly.

  1. Install the “free RAR” for the Android app.
  2. Open the app and navigate to the folder that has your RAR file. To find your SD card, tap the “three books” icon on the top-left.
  3. Once you’ve found the RAR file, simply tap on it to open it.

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BlackBerry 10

If you’re a BlackBerry 10 user, you can install Android apps installing the Amazon Appstore to simplify the process.

  1. Head to Amazon and follow the instructions to download and install the Appstore.
  2. Now, from the Appstore install “Easy Unrar” and open the app.
  3. If you get a RAR file as an email attachment, tapping the file will open it in “Easy Unrar”.
  4. If the file is on your phone, open “Easy Unrar” and go to the folder which has your file.
  5. Check the RAR file you want to open, then tap “Open Archive”. Now select the files you want to extract and tap “Extract”.

Windows Phone

Microsoft’s Windows Phone has a free app to help you open RAR files. Go through these instructions to open them.

  • Install ‘Archiver’ from the Windows Phone store.
  • Once the app is installed, it will open all RAR files in email attachments as soon as you tap those.
  • You can also open the app to open downloaded RAR files. All you need to do is to swipe left to sign in to SkyDrive and open RAR files stored in the cloud.

That is how you open RAR files on any device for free. Did you find this useful? Is there any other app that you prefer to open RAR files? The comment section is open to all, feel free to speak up.

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Fadekemi Victoria
Fadekemi is a development strategist, certified creative content writer and public speaker. She is a change maker who write and speaks to inspire, motivate as well as encourage people.

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