I had an iPad for two years before I found out it has no default calculator. I guess it says a lot about whether it even needs one.
Still, a lot of people are wondering, ‘Why Is There No Calculator on iPad?’ and I went on a mission and uncovered the truth.
Why Apple Didn’t Add A Calculator To iPads
The calculator was part of the first iPad when they were in production. But Steve Jobs pulled the app because he didn’t like the design of the calculator app! He then asked the lead of software development, Scott Forstall, to redesign the app as it looked stretched.
But with the iPad being introduced within a couple of weeks, Forstall was given an ultimatum of either redesigning the app in those couple of weeks or removing the calculator app completely. Forstall knew he wouldn’t be able to get a completely new redesigned app off the ground and work in the limited time he was offered.
And so, just like that, Steve Jobs decided to just remove the app from the iPad. Moving onto modern times, Apple still does not have a calculator application for the iPad.
In fact, during an interview, Craig Federighi, senior VP at Apple, when asked this question – he reinstated what Jobs originally had in mind: that there has been no idea for them yet that truly redefines what it means to use a calculator on the iPad.
In other words, if Apple can’t come up with a way to make the iPad Calculator great, they won’t add it to the device.
Do iPads Even Need Calculators?
I’ve been using the iPad for years. The only reason why I even installed an alternative calculator on my iPad was for this article, to show my readers that there are alternatives, but besides that, I have never had the need for a calculator on my iPad. You can go to Google and search for Google calculator and you will get it there:
and of course, you can download some alternatives, but for me personally, it’s easier to pull out my iPhone from my pocket and count whatever I need.
But you know that’s my opinion. I wanted to know other experts in the field and what they think, so I reached out to Paul Michael from MediaPeanut and asked his opinion on whether iPads need a calculator or not. Here’s what he said.
Founder and editor at mediapeanut
See, Apple’s products, they’re all about having their own unique jobs. They make sure each one does its own thing without stepping on each other’s toes. Like, if you could just use an Apple Pencil with a MacBook, iPads wouldn’t be as cool, ya know? Apple’s all about perfection and a giant calculator wouldn’t really feel right aesthetically on a screen that big. I think Apple has given up on the Calculator since they know that if you probably have an iPad, you have an iPhone in your pocket too.
iPad Calculator Apps
I understand, sometimes we just need to get s*it done, and all we have is an iPad. If there’s no default calculator app on iPad, you need some alternatives. So let me recommend you at least the best iPad calculators I found on the App Store.
1. Calculator – Pad Edition
If the calculator application from the iPhone was actually scaled up, Calculator – Pad Edition is a very accurate description of what it’d look like. Remaining sweet and simple, the application has everything the iPhone calculator application has, alongside a few extras such as a fractional mode. The application does have advertisements. But, they are fairly unobtrusive.
The calculator also has the following functionalities:
- Unit Converter: A currency converter that is updated with exchange rates alongside all vector conversions (mass, length, temperature, time, etc.)
- Fraction Calculator: A fractional converter that takes into account proper, improper, mixed fractions and decimal numbers, too.
- Tip Calculator: For calculating tips and splitting shares with multiple individuals.
- Customization: The application also includes multiple different themes and has a generally easy-to-use interface, including the ability to multi-view with different applications, resize the window, and copy / paste results too.
2. Desmos Scientific Calculator
If you were unlucky enough to opt for a STEM degree just like me, chances are that you’ll need a calculator that can do a bit more than just subtract and multiply. The Desmos Scientific calculator is the best free scientific calculator on the iPad, and for a good reason. From being able to view your history to being able to calculate complex trigonometric functions, the application adds a lot of utility to your iPad.
The calculator also has the following features:
- Arithmetic: Perform basic arithmetic operations such as exponents, rounding, absolute, and logarithms.
- Statistics: Compute mean and standard deviation through a list.
- Trigonometry: Evaluate answers to trigonometric equations and input trigonometric functions (sinx, cosx, tanx, etc.)
3. Desmos Graphing Calculator
If you need a graphic calculator for the iPad, the Desmos Graphing calculator is where it’s at. The application automatically plots all equations onto the screen and acts as a great aid for anyone who requires just a bit more of their scientific calculator in terms of visual representation.
- Tables: Add and input plot data for any function
- Statistical Analysis: You can see lines of best-fit, parabolas, and answers to parametric equations.
- Inequalities: Plot graphs in the Cartesian plane alongside the ability to zoom in / zoom out of graphs.
- Accessibility: Read and edit functions using a Braille display and use audio to move through graphs with sound.
You Can Also Use Siri As a Calculator on an iPad
You cannot get an official calculator application on an iPad simply because it does not exist.
But don’t worry I got you covered; you can go to Google and search for a calculator, you can download some alternatives, or there’s another workaround. There’s a hidden calculator on your iPad. That’s right. You can ask Siri to do your calculation.
- Invoke Siri by either saying Hey Siri (if you have it enabled) or by long-pressing the power button
- Once activated, usher your mathematical equation/function to Siri, and it’ll be solved and displayed for you.
I'm a writer and editor in iPads & Android Tablets, Windows Tablet section. I'm passionate about technology, especially about tablets. I'm on a mission to assist people in discovering their ideal tablets. In addition, I'm dedicated to producing helpful how-to guides and sharing top-notch tips and tricks. In my early carrier I founded and became and editor at worldoftablet and have been a guest author at many other tech blogs. In wolfoftablet I'm focusing on iPads, Tablets, Apple Pencil, Apps, Reviews, Buyers Guides and Tablet Accessories. In free time I like to play games on my PS5 or iOS.