RAR is an application developed by RARLAB, the manufacturer of WinRAR, the “official” program for opening and creating RAR files on your computer, which I have talked about extensively in my dedicated tutorial. It allows you to open archives in RAR, ZIP, TAR, GZ, BZ2, XZ, 7z, ISO and ARJ formats (including those protected by passwords) and to create archives in RAR and ZIP format. It is free, but it contains advertisements: to remove the advertisements, you need to subscribe for 1,19 euros / year (after a free trial of 14 days).
To download RAR to your smartphone or tablet, launch the Play Store (the icon with the colored ▶ ︎ symbol located on the home screen or in the screen with the list of all the apps installed on the device), search RAR within the latter and proceed with the installation of the app by pressing first on its name in the search results and then on the button Install. If you are reading this tutorial directly from your Android device, you can reach the Play Store page dedicated to RAR by tapping here.
When installation is complete, start RAR through its icon that appears in the Android drawer, allow the app to access the memory and / or SD of the device in use (by pressing the button Allow) and tap on the buttons No, see ADSL that are less relevant e Agree to deactivate advertising tracking. At this point, all you have to do is reach the folder on the device or SD where the RAR file you want to open is located (you can quickly access the folders SD memory, External SD card e Withdrawals / downloads pressing the ☰ button located at the top left) and pressing the icon of the latter.
A screen will immediately open with the list of all the files contained in the archive. To open one of them, tap on its icon and choose the app in which to open it (eg. Drive PDF Viewer if it is a PDF document). To extract it in a folder of the device, instead, put the check mark next to its name, press the icon with the book and up arrow (top right) and choose the destination path of the data by tapping on the appropriate button. Once all preferences have been adjusted, press the button OK (bottom right) to start the data extraction.
Alternatively, you can download a RAR file from the browser you usually use to browse the Internet (eg. Chrome), select its icon from the Android notification menu and choose RAR as an application in which to view it.
Please note that, if the RAR archive you have selected is password protected, to view the files contained in it or extract them, you will first need to type the correct unlock key.
Another application that I recommend you to try for open RAR files on Android è ZArchiver, which allows you to open archives in RAR, RAR5, 7Z, ZIP, BZIP2, GZIP, XZ, ISO, TAR, ARJ, CAB, LZH, LHA, LZMA, XAR, TGZ, TBZ, Z, DEB, RPM, ZIPX, MTZ, CHM, DMG, CPIO, CRAMFS, IMG (FAT, NTFS, UBF), WIM, ECM, ARC (FREEARC) and LZIP, as well as create archives in 7Z, ZIP, BZIP2, GZIP (GZ) format , XZ and TAR. It is free, even if a paid version is available (1,60 euros), useful to support its future development.
To download ZArchiver on your device, start the Play Store (the colored ▶ ︎ symbol icon located on the home screen or in the Android drawer), search ZArchiver within the latter and proceed with the installation of the application by pressing first on its name and then on the button Install. If you are reading this tutorial directly from Android, you can open the Play Store page dedicated to ZArchiver by tapping here.
At this point, we can say that the most is done. Once ZArchiver is installed, you can in fact view or extract the contents of any RAR archive present on the device memory or downloaded from the Internet.
Visit, therefore, the site that hosts the RAR file you want to view on your phone, press the link to start the download and wait for the procedure to finish (you can follow the progress of the download through the Android notifications menu, by performing a swipe from the top of the screen to the bottom). When the download is complete, expand the Android notification area, select the notification related to RAR file downloaded, select ZArchiver from the list of available apps and this will take care of opening the archive automatically, showing you its contents.
Alternatively, if the RAR file of your interest is already present on the smartphone (or tablet) memory, you can open ZArchiver through its icon in the Android drawer, reach the folder that houses the archive (you can quickly access folders such as Phone memory, SD card e Download by pressing on the drop-down menu located at the top left) and tap on the icon of the latter.
At this point, depending on the operation you intend to perform with the file, choose one of the items in the menu that appeared below: Show to view the contents of the file without extracting it (you will then have to select the files contained in the archive and choose whether to extract them or open them in one of the apps installed on the device); Extract here to extract all the contents of the archive in the current folder; Extract to ./ to extract the contents of the RAR file into a folder having the same name; Extract ... to copy the files contained in the archive to a folder of your choice.
If the archive you have selected is password protected, to view or extract its contents, you will need to type the right keyword.
If you are not looking for a specific application for managing compressed archives, but a File Manager able to handle all types of files inside your device, take a look at Total Commander: it is a free file manager for Android (mobile counterpart of a well-known file manager for Windows), which allows you to easily navigate in all the folders of the smartphone or tablet in use, also allowing you to view files and perform various operations on them, such as copying, moving, deleting or renaming.
To download Total Commander on your device, open the Play Store (the colored ▶ ︎ symbol icon on the home screen), search Total Commander in the appropriate bar at the top and proceed with the download of the app by pressing first on its name and then on the button Install. If you are reading this post directly from Android, you can reach the Play Store page dedicated to Total Commander by tapping here.
Once the installation is complete, start Total Commander, allow the app to access the memory of your device by pressing the button Allow that appears in the center of the screen and proceed with opening the RAR files of your interest. Go, therefore, to the folder that contains the archives you want to open (by pressing the icon of floppy disk located at the top left you can access the Total Commander main menu and quickly reach locations such as the internal memory of the device, the SD card and the folder with i downloaded files) and tap on them.
You will be shown a screen with the list of all the files in the archive. To extract and view them, make a long tap on them, select the item Unzip and open with from the menu that appears on the screen and choose the application with which to open the selected document. If the RAR archive is password protected, you will need to type the right keyword to complete the operation.
X-plore File Manager
If Total Commander doesn't satisfy you, you can turn to X-plore File Manager, another free file manager that allows you to easily navigate through all folders of Android devices and access the contents of RAR archives, including those protected by passwords.
To download X-plore File Manager on your Android smartphone or tablet, open the Play Store, search for How to open RAR files on Android in the appropriate bar at the top and proceed with the installation of the app by tapping first on its name and then on the button Install. If you are reading this tutorial directly from your Android device, tap here to reach the Play Store page dedicated to X-plore File Manager.
When installation is complete, start X-plore File Manager through its icon on the home screen or in the Android drawer, allow the app to access the memory of the device in use (by pressing the button Conceded that appears on the screen) and navigate to the folder containing the RAR archives you want to open. To go back to the app's home menu and quickly access locations such as internal memory e SD card, always press the arrow <- which is located at the top left.
Once theRAR archive of your interest, tap on its icon and, at the bottom, the list of files contained in it will appear. If the archive is password protected, you will need to type the correct keyword to view the files. Subsequently, to open a file, select its icon and then the app with which to open it. To extract it, instead, put the check mark next to its name and press the button Copy present in the right sidebar. Once this is done, select the path to copy the file to, using the drop-down menu Copy to that appears on the screen, and presses the button OK but I will complete the operation.
More Apps for opening RAR files on Android
The ones I have proposed so far are some of the best solutions to open RAR files on Android, but they are not the only ones. If the applications listed above did not fully satisfy you, then take a look at the list that I propose below and find out if, in it, there is any app that may be more suited to your needs. I bet yes!
- Simple Unrar - as the name suggests, this is a small free app that allows you to open RAR files on Android. To use it, you have to press the button EXPLORE related to the field Select the RAR file (in order to select the archive to extract), then on the button EXPLORE related to the field Select the destination folder (to select the folder in which to extract the archive files) and finally on Extract. It also supports password protected archives.
- WinZip - is a well-known app for managing compressed archives. It is capable of viewing the contents of ZIP, ZIPX, 7Z, RAR and CBZ files (including password protected ones) and creating ZIP and ZIPX archives archives. It is free to download, but it contains advertisements. To remove the ads and get additional functions, such as creating encrypted archives and integration with cloud storage services, you need to make an in-app purchase of 1,46 euros. For more info, you can read my tutorial on how to download WinZip for free.
- ALZip - this is a free app for managing compressed archives. Supports ZIP, RAR, 7Z, EGG, ALZ, TAR, TBZ, TBZ2, TGZ, LZH, JAR, GZ, BZ, BZ2 and LHA files (including password protected and multi-volume files) and creates ZIP archives , EGG and ALZ.