Calculator (Apple)

Calculator is a basic calculator application made by Apple Inc. and bundled with its macOS, iOS, and watchOS operating systems. It has three modes: basic, scientific, and programmer.[1] The basic mode includes a number pad, buttons for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, as well as memory keys. Scientific mode supports exponents and trigonometric functions, and programmer mode gives the user access to more options related to computer programming.[2]

Stable release
macOS: 10.16
Operating systemClassic Mac OS, macOS, iOS, watchOS

The Calculator program has a long associated history with the beginning of the Macintosh platform, where a simple four-function calculator program was a standard desk accessory from the earliest system versions. Though no higher math capability was included, third-party developers provided upgrades, and Apple released the Graphing Calculator application with the first PowerPC release (7.1.2) of the Mac OS, and it was a standard component through Mac OS 9. Apple also ships a different application with macOS called Grapher for this purpose.[3]

A calculator function has been included with iOS since its launch on iPhone[4] and iPod Touch.[5] However, iPads have never had a first party calculator application. A native calculator function was added to the Apple Watch with watchOS 6, which included a dedicated button for calculating tips.[6]


Calculator has Reverse Polish notation support, and can also speak the buttons pressed and result returned.

The calculator also includes some basic conversion functions to convert between units in the following categories:

  • Area
  • Currency (exchange rates may be updated over the Internet)[7]
  • Energy or Work
  • Temperature
  • Length
  • Speed
  • Pressure
  • Weight/Mass
  • Power
  • Volume

Since the release of Mac OS X Leopard, simple arithmetic functions can be calculated from the Spotlight feature.[8] They include the standard addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division operations, with exponentiation and the use of the percent sign to denote percentage.

A Dashboard Calculator widget was included in all versions of macOS from Mac OS X Tiger onwards until Mojave, after which Dashboard was discontinued. It only has the basic mode of its desktop counterpart. With the release of OS X Yosemite, unit conversion functions were added to the Spotlight calculator,[9] as well as a simple calculator widget available in the Notification Center.[10]


The Calculator appeared first as a desk accessory in first version of Macintosh System for the 1984 Macintosh 128k. Its original incarnation was developed by Chris Espinosa and its appearance was designed, in part, by Steve Jobs when Espinosa, flustered by Jobs's dissatisfaction with all of his prototype designs, conceived an application called The Steve Jobs Roll Your Own Calculator Construction Set that allowed Jobs to tailor the look of the calculator to his liking. Its design was maintained with the same basic math operations until the final release of classic Mac OS in 2001.[11]

The app's absence on the iPad

The Calculator app is not available on any of Apple's iPad devices. This is the result of a misunderstanding during the iPad's software development between Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall, Apple's software chief at the time. Forstall thought that he should just scale the iPhone Calculator app to fit the iPad proportions. One month before the first-generation iPad's release, Jobs asked him about the new Calculator design adapted for the iPad, which had not been developed. He was dissatisfied with the app, saying it "looks awful", and eventually prohibited it from being released.[12]

As of March 2023, Apple has not released an official calculator app for the iPad because its development has been a low priority at the company since then.[12] In 2020, American tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee (or MKBHD) interviewed Craig Federighi and asked him why the iPad still does not have a default calculator app, and he said, "That day may come."[13]


  1. "Seven Tips and Shortcuts for the Mac Calculator app - by Christian Boyce". Mac & iPhone Answers. September 14, 2020. Archived from the original on August 31, 2021. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  2. Moore, Matt (October 18, 2021). "4 Useful macOS Calculator Features". MUO. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  3. "Getting Started With Grapher, Your Mac's Built-in Graph Tool". Computer Skills Envato Tuts+. Archived from the original on March 18, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  4. Thurrott, Paul (June 29, 2017). "10 Years Later: My Original (and Epic) Apple iPhone Review". Thurrott. Archived from the original on June 29, 2020. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  5. Bangeman, Eric (September 17, 2007). "The iPod meets the iPhone: a review of the iPod Touch". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on June 27, 2020. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  6. Bouchard, Anthony (June 4, 2019). "Apple finally brings a native Calculator app to the Apple Watch in watchOS 6". Archived from the original on January 24, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  7. "How to Convert Currency in Mac OS X with Calculator App". OS X Daily. June 26, 2012. Archived from the original on June 17, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  8. "Use Spotlight as a Calculator in Mac OS X". OS X Daily. November 4, 2009. Archived from the original on December 22, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  9. Cunningham, Andrew (July 23, 2014). "Preview: A closer look at OS X Yosemite, just in time for the public beta". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on June 27, 2020. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  10. Snell, Jason (October 16, 2014). "OS X Yosemite: New Notification Center finally gives widgets their due". Macworld. Archived from the original on April 11, 2021. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  11. Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. Simon & Schuster. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-4516-4853-9.
  12. Dormehl, Luke (April 7, 2016). "Why the iPad has never shipped with a calculator app". Cult of Mac. Archived from the original on February 21, 2022. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  13. "Why Apple still refuses to give the iPad a calculator". Archived from the original on December 28, 2021. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.