How to open RAR files on iPhone


An archive file saves space and facilitates file sharing. ZIP, TAR and RAR are popular archiving formats and you can easily archive files in them on any device.


However, archiving and unarchiving files has never been easier on iPhones. While the Files app can open ZIP files, other popular archive formats, such as RAR, are not supported, requiring alternative solutions.

If you have received or downloaded a RAR file on your iPhone and are wondering how to open it, here are two easy ways to extract and open RAR files on iPhone.


How to Open RAR Files on iPhone Using Documents App

Since the Files app on iPhone does not support RAR files, using an external file archiving tool or file manager is the most obvious way to extract RAR files. Of the various apps available in the App Store that can do this, we recommend Docs.

Docs is a capable file manager for iPhone and iPad with a rich feature set. It allows you to view and manipulate different types of files, including PDFs and archives. In addition, you can even use Docs to access the Internet and connect to a server, among other things.

Due to this diverse feature set, we recommend Documents over any other file archiver app as you can use it not only to unarchive RAR files but also perform other file manipulation operations on iPhone.

To download: Documents (free, subscription available)

Once installed, follow these steps to open a RAR file on iPhone:

  1. Save the RAR file you want to unarchive in Files app.
  2. Launch Documents.
  3. On the My files tab, tap Files to open the Files app and navigate to the folder containing the RAR file.
  4. Tap the RAR file you want to extract.
  5. When Documents asks you to choose a folder to save the extracted files, choose one and hit the Extract knob.

Documents will extract the RAR file into a new folder with the same name as the file. Tap it to access all content. To access them from the Files app, open Files and tap Documents below Locations.

How to open RAR files on iPhone with a shortcut

While the Documents app works well and allows you to quickly open RAR files on your iPhone, there is a faster and more streamlined method to do it.

It involves creating a shortcut in the Shortcuts app, which you can run anywhere on your iPhone just like any other shortcut. And the best part is that you can use this shortcut to unarchive and open other archive formats as well.

First, create a shortcut to extract files using these steps:

  1. Open the Shortcuts app.
  2. Press on the plus (+) button in the top right corner to create a new shortcut.
  3. Tap on New shortcut at the top and select Rename. Give it an appropriate name and hit done.
  4. Similarly, tap the icon next to the name and choose a symbol and color for the icon. Click Done to save the changes.
  5. Press on the Add action button and in the search bar on the next screen, search for the Select file action and tap it to add it to the shortcut.
  6. Search in the same way Extract and add this too. Tap the Archive variable ExtractSelect Select Variableand tap the output file of the first action.
  7. Again, look up Save file and add it. Then tap the File variable and select Files.
  8. Now hit Done to save the shortcut.

Once the shortcut is ready, using it is quite easy. Just open the Shortcuts app and tap the shortcut you just created.

When prompted to select the archive file, select the RAR file you want to open. After that, the shortcut will ask you to choose a folder to save the extracted files. Navigate to the folder where you want to do this and press Open.

To access it, open the Files app and go to the folder where you just saved the files, and you should be able to see them there.

Easily open RAR files on your iPhone

Extracting RAR files on iPhone may seem like a challenging task at first. However, if you use the right methods, you should be able to unarchive and open RAR files on iPhone quite easily as explained in this guide. Both methods also work on iPads.

Of course, choosing a method depends entirely on whether you prefer to use an app or a shortcut. If you want a quick and easy solution, use a shortcut, and if you don’t mind installing an app, go for the Docs, as it also includes other tools to help you with various tasks.