How to Convert RAR Files Into iTunes MP3 Files on a Mac
By Andrew Schrader
RAR is one of the most common formats for archiving or compressing multiple files into one, as it is able to archive entire folders while preserving their inner structure. Although Mac OS X operating systems come with the default "Archive Utility" installed, it will not open RAR files. Instead, Apple's suggests the free software called StuffIt Expander, which supports RAR and more than a dozen other formats. Once you decompress the audio in a RAR file, you can easily import and convert the tracks to MP3 in iTunes.
Opening RARs With StuffIt Expander
Open your Web browser and visit Apple's download page for StuffIt Expander. Click the "Download" button in the upper-right corner of the screen to download the latest free version of StuffIt Expander and wait for download to finish.
Navigate to the RAR file on the computer and right-click its icon. Hold the mouse pointer over the "Open With" arrow and select "StuffIt Expander" from the list of available programs. If StuffIt Expander does not show up in Finder, click "Other" at the bottom of the list and double-click "StuffIt Expander" in Applications. StuffIt Expander automatically opens the RAR file and display the audio files.
Importing and Converting to MP3 in iTunes
Open iTunes. Go back into Finder and highlight the unarchived folder or individual audio files. Drag and drop their icons into the iTunes library and wait for them to copy.
Click the "iTunes" button at the top of the screen and choose "Preferences."
Press the "Import Settings" button in the lower-right corner of the General Preferences window. Click the "Import Using" drop-down box and select "MP3 Encoder." Press "OK" twice and exit back to the iTunes library.
Locate the newly imported audio files and highlight their icons. Create new MP3 versions of the music (while retaining your files in their original format) by clicking "Advanced" and "Create MP3 Version." Convert your actual files -- replacing the audio with MP3 versions -- by clicking "Advanced," holding down "Option" on the keyboard and selecting "Convert to MP3."
- The "Create MP3 Version" function duplicates the track in a different format, so both versions are available in iTunes. This will take up more space in your library and on the hard drive.
- Customize the MP3s' bit rates, sample rates and channeling options (mono or stereo) in the "Import Using" drop-down box. It is best to leave these settings alone for general conversions.
- The audio contained in the RAR file must be in an iTunes-compatible format, like WAV, AAC, AIFF or Apple Lossless to convert to MP3.
Andrew Schrader has been a professional writer and filmmaker since 2004. He works as a writer and director, holding a Bachelor of Arts in film and media studies from UC Santa Barbara. Schrader specializes in writing about technology and computer software.