Posted by: glasskeys | 12/11/2011

How to use RAR to copy large files to an iPad or iPhone using only a cell data connection. (Mac users)

NOTE: This tutorial has been made with Mac users in mind, as I usually present Mac specific information first, I decided to mix it up a bit and have already provided Windows specific instructions in an earlier post, so some of the material may be similar, but I have managed to cut a few steps, and I am using a different RAR software application in this tutorial version.

One of the most frustrating experiences in the world of tablet and mobile computing are the brick walls erected by cell carriers imposing “ad-hoc” limitations on the maximum file sizes permitted for download. This tutorial will not only show you how to bypass these limitations regardless of file size, but also on how to get around restrictions on maximum file sizes imposed by cloud storage providers.

As with every large tutorial on Glasskeys, there are a few prerequisite steps that needed taken before you “dive right in”:

For purposes of demonstration, I have on my system a video file, appropriately named video_file.avi, residing in a new folder called rarspot in Home:

Open the SimplyRAR app and drag the video file from your Finder window to the SimplyRAR application:

Change the following options to match these values and set Compression Method to Store, Split volumes into to 15MB files, and ensure to tick the Split archive box ON.

These settings instruct SimplyRAR to create RAR files of 15MB in size, with no compression (AKA Store) because attempting to compress binary files such as video usually result in larger file sizes and would be a rather silly thing to do.

Therefore, we are guaranteed that each RAR file created will be smaller than the maximum file size limit imposed by a mobile data carrier, cloud storage provider, or both.

This collection of smaller, legal, and “download friendly” sized files can then be placed on “cloud-based” file storage, then downloaded at your leisure one at a time to your iPad or iPhone. At the point when all of the files have been downloaded to your iOS device, they can be recombined and restored back to the original full-sized file — completely bypassing the arbitrary size limit imposed by your mobile carrier, the same one that is too cheap & greedy to pay for proper mobile data infrastructure in the first place.

When finished adjusting the settings, click the Create RAR button on the toolbar:

Enter video_file (or whatever floats your boat) in the Save As text box. I also selected rarspot as the destination folder:

SimplyRAR now displays a progress bar whilst creating the RAR files:

SimplyRAR has finished generating the files and they appear in the Finder window:

Now navigate to your Dropbox folder. The easy way to do this is to click the Dropbox icon on the top toolbar, then choosing the Open Dropbox Folder option in the menu:

Create a new folder called rarfiles, so that Dropbox doesn’t get cluttered up:

Drag only the RAR files from rarspot to our new rarfiles folder. At this point you may be asking yourself why the RAR files were not directly saved to the Dropbox folder during their creation in SimplyRAR. The answer is corrupted and unusable RAR files:

Depending on your bandwidth speed and other factors, Dropbox will need some time to copy all of the RAR files to their new home. So in other words, do not paste the files into the Dropbox rarfiles folder, immediately shut down your Mac, and expect the files to all be found on Dropbox. The quickest way to ensure that they have all been transferred is to click the Dropbox system tray icon and look for the All files up to date caption. If you see the Uploading files caption, you need to wait a bit:

At this point, the RAR files will be able to be usable on our iPad or iPhone:

At this point, we now turn to our iPad or iPhone, and open GoodReader:

Tap the Connect to Servers category at right, then select your Dropbox account, the rarfiles folder, and tap the Download button:

I selected the My Documents folder for the download location, then tapped the Download folder here button:

GoodReader immediately begins copying the entire folder and displays the progress:

It took around 8 to 10 minutes to copy the entire folder:

The rarfiles folder has been copied, with 24 files residing in the folder. Tap the rarfiles folder…

…then the video_file.part01.rar file. When presented with the RAR archive dialog, tap the Unrar button:

GoodReader starts unarchiving:

When done archiving, the video_file.avi has been created and is visible in the file list. Tap the Manage Files category on the right side of the GoodReader screen:

Now that the RAR files are no longer needed, tap the Select All button, then untick the video_file.avi as we want to keep it, but remove all other files in the folder:

With video_file.avi file not selected, tap the red Delete button:

Tap a Delete button once more for confirmation:

Whilst still in Manage Files mode, select the remaining file in the file list, then tap the Open In… button:

Because .AVI files are video, I chose the Azul video player:

I am now watching the full sized video, split with SimplyRAR, downloaded from Dropbox via a 3G data connection, and recombined back into the original video file with GoodReader on the iPad. The final two screen shots illustrate how to download each RAR file individually. Please enjoy and take advantage of all of the flexibility that RAR files provide!

Downloading a single RAR file

Instead of selecting the entire folder to download, I opened the folder, then selected one file, then tapped the Download file here button.

For illustration purposes, I downloaded the single RAR file to the My Documents folder:

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