Why Is There No Calculator on the iPad?

Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Ernest

With the calculator being used frequently by a person of every age group – be it a student or a professional, you might wonder why there is no calculator on the iPad. After all, calculators have indeed become a part of our lives!

The reason why there is no calculator app on the iPad is that Apple has still not designed a calculator application that is great enough for them to deem it worthy of the iPad. 

However, the iPad, at the start – did actually include a calculator application. In this article, we’re going to be discussing the best calculator applications for the iPad alongside why it still isn’t developed by Apple.

Why Is There No Calculator on the iPad?

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. And, there’s no indication that they are working on it as of yet.

In fact, during an interview with 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. So, they haven’t pulled the trigger just yet. 

Apple has always been known to be a trendsetter rather than a trend follower. So, I wouldn’t hold my breath for Apple to insert a calculator app anytime soon unless they develop an indigenous calculator app in the near future.

How To Get Calculator App On iPad

There is no way for you to get an official calculator application on an iPad simply because it does not exist. No worries though, there are still a few ways you can perform some calculations and get a calculator on your iPad.

Using Siri

siri using ipad calculator

Siri, your voice assistant, allows you to perform complex calculations with the power of just your voice. To use this feature, follow these steps:

  • 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.

Third-Party Applications

If you want to crunch in a larger set of numbers and don’t want to speak all of them out loud, a calculator application is your best bet. Here’s a quick look at the best free calculator applications for the iPad:

1. Calculator – Pad Edition

calculator app on pad - pad edition on ernests ipad pro with ads

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.

You can see how the ads look in the screenshot I took. Annoying, but you can get your work done.

2.  Desmos Scientific Calculator

desmos scientific

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

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.

Can I Add A Calculator Widget On The iPad?

Yes, you can add a calculator widget on iOS 14 or later using the Shortcuts application. Here’s how:

  • Head to this Shortcut gallery link
  • After doing so, tap on Get shortcut
  • The Shortcuts application should open up now, tap on Add Shortcut
  • Now, head to your home screen and long press any empty space there
  • Tap on the plus button on the top left, head to Shortcuts, and drag and drop the Calculator widget to your homescreen.

You can now perform all arithmetic calculations that you can be using Siri by using just the widget. To use it, tap on the widget and enter a series of numbers. After a singular operation has been performed, you have the option of either continuing, clearing the calculator, copying the result, or exiting the widget.

In my opinion, the widget is great for anyone who just wants to get some basic arithmetic calculations done and isn’t in the mood of installing entire third-party applications just for this functionality.

Summary

The iPad does not have a calculator application by default, and there seems to be no new one coming, at least for now. This is because Apple has yet to find innovation with calculator applications that entice them to release an application for the iPad.

You can either use Siri to perform calculations on an iPad or download any of the three free applications we’ve mentioned above to crunch your numbers according to your needs. Ultimately, we don’t see Apple developing its own solution any time soon.

Founder & Chief Editor | + posts

I love tech and all about it. I'm interested in finding ways how they can make my life more productive, and I share my knowledge with my blog readers. I'm an iPad Pro, iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch user, so I know a thing or two about these devices and try to write helpful content around these topics.