Is there anything built-in that does this? (E.g. command line tools.) Or are there any third-party apps?

Update: I like The Unarchiver, but vote up your favourite, or add it as an answer if it isn’t there.

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    seems weird that this was closed? this is a common superuser problem on mac – mendota Feb 12 '19 at 18:57

The Unarchiver really does it's job well (and it's also completely free). From the site:

Supported file formats include Zip, Tar-GZip, Tar-BZip2, RAR, 7-zip, LhA, StuffIt and many other more and less obscure formats. The goal is to make The Unarchiver able to extract anything you give it. The Unarchiver uses the libxad unarchiving library to support many older, obscure formats.

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    My word, that really is a gorgeous bit of software. No interface but the preferences window. Does its job automatically when you want it to, stays out of the way the rest of the time. – Paul D. Waite Oct 7 '09 at 12:30
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    It really is incredibly easy to use. That's why I always recommend it :) – alex Oct 7 '09 at 14:25
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    And you can use it from the command line -- just say 'open foo.rar' or download the command line tools: superuser.com/questions/190053/… – tgdavies May 11 '12 at 14:03
  • Note, that the Mac App Store version is much more annoying that the one from the website. It asks you for your permission every time when you extract an archive! Use the one from the official website. – cubuspl42 Nov 8 '15 at 16:13
  • Great suggestion! Thanks! The Unarchiver is good. – IMJS Jul 25 '18 at 10:09

Using Homebrew, in a terminal type:

brew install rar

to use it just navigate to your file and type

unrar x <filename>

Or list files via unrar l archive.rar and extract single file: unrar e archive.rar folder/file.exe desired_location/

  • How do I unrar to a specific directory – rocketspacer Apr 19 '18 at 7:54
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    CLI is good for programmer. – g10guang Feb 20 '19 at 15:45
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    any alternatives? unrar is no more in brew – buncis Dec 22 '20 at 0:13
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    Due to unrar was removed from homebrew, I use 7z instead: brew install p7zip and then 7z x <filename.rar> – user128048 Dec 23 '20 at 8:06
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    unrar doesn't exist any more in homebrew. But brew install rar provides an unrar tool. – sligocki Mar 5 at 22:24

Just for completeness: Fink, MacPorts, Rudix and Homebrew provide versions of the command-line unrar.

The Rudix version is a binary, which means that you don't even need XCode or GCC to install it.


Nothing built-in if I'm not mistaken (no access to a Mac now).

RAR has a command line version for Mac OS X. UnRarX is a GUI program to extract RAR files.

UPDATE: UnRarX is now deprecated and it's site is down.


As far as well-regarded, RARLab's commandline for MacOSX is the best. It is not free, but there is free (-as-in-beer) official unrar tool (source code available here) that supports all RAR formats. You may be able to find a precompiled version somewhere if you don't want to compile it yourself.

There's also a free-as-in-speech unrar tool but that doesn't support the latest RAR3 format.


I found The Unarchiver as mentioned to be great for about 80% of the RAR files I run into. The other almost "perfect" RAR extractor would be RAR Expander My only complaint is it doesn't automatically quit after extraction.

  • Aha: what sort of issues does it have with the other 20%? I did notice some recent release notes said “RAR bug fixes”, so that’s pretty good evidence that there are (or at least were) RAR issues. – Paul D. Waite Oct 7 '09 at 12:43
  • It just said "contents could not be extracted with this program." Weird, but I've learned to deal with it. The Unarchiver is set as my default, so much better then the built in BOM. – Josh K Oct 7 '09 at 12:58
  • they're probably using their own code (or basing off the open-source). so there may be format incompatibilities with the latest RAR format. – quack quixote Oct 7 '09 at 13:59

MacPar Deluxe will handle RAR files quite easily....

MacPAR deLuxe is a utility program that runs on the Apple Macintosh. It is useful to you if you download (or upload) binary files from internet newsgroups (a.k.a. “usenet”). Often, binary content comes in the form of sets of many files that together form a “rar” archive. MacPAR deLuxe assist you in combining these files after the download finishes. •It verifies that the file set is complete, and all files are undamaged. MacPAR deLuxe can recover missing information by processing so called "par" and "par2" files. •After the verification step, MacPAR deLuxe unpacks the data. If possible with its built-in unrar engine, or otherwise by launching the appropriate program.

The program automatically cooperates with Loek Jehee's Split & Concat. Features •Full support for the "par 1" and "par 2" standards. •Perform verification, recovery and automatic unrar (if applicable) by just double-clicking the ".par" or ".par2" file in the Finder. •Get a clear overview of the status of all files (see example screenshots). •Create a par or par2 volume set by dragging files to the window and simply save the document. •Open a rar archive and unpack the files inside. •Can automatically start an external program to process files in the par set. •Can open multiple windows and run multiple jobs at the same time. •Alternatively, multiple jobs can be queued and processed one after the other, to save machine overhead. •Many configurable options. •Fully compatible with "other" par and rar utilities. •Extensive documentation included via the "Help" menu. •Shareware: you can make make a donation if you like the program.


If you buy Pathfinder, which is relatively costly ($39) but solves a whole different set of problems, it comes with .rar expansion thanks to StuffIt. This sounds like an absurd answer, however I can't use my Mac without Pathfinder anymore. So I have .rar expansion built-in :)

  • Pathfinder is overkill if you are just extracting RAR files. Booting it up takes a while too. It's great for integration at the expense of Finder. – Josh K Oct 7 '09 at 13:02
  • @Josh K, this was true in 2009, but now SSDs and bootup are much faster, at least. – Dan Rosenstark Sep 1 '11 at 20:28
  • Not everyone (and by that I mean a majority of Mac users) don't have SSD's. Pathfinder is still–in my opinion–overkill on a system. – Josh K Sep 2 '11 at 0:25
  • That's true @Josh K, it's a hassle to start up, but I don't think the memory or processing footprint is significant. But this is an empirical question: what do you want to compare it to? – Dan Rosenstark Sep 3 '11 at 2:24
  • Nothing really to compare it to. They took Finder and added a bunch more stuff to click on. – Josh K Sep 3 '11 at 6:02

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