Calculator (Apple)

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MacOS Calculator icon.png
Calculator screenshot (macOS).png
A screenshot of the Calculator in macOS Mojave
Operating systemClassic Mac OS, macOS, iOS, watchOS

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.[citation needed]

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 currently ships a different application called Grapher.[citation needed]

A calculator function has been included with iOS since its launch on iPhone[2] and iPod Touch.[3] However, iPads have never had a first party calculator application.[4] A native calculator function was added to the Apple Watch with watchOS 6, which included a dedicated button for calculating tips.[5]


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)[6]
  • 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.[7] 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,[8] as well as a simple calculator widget available in the Notification Center.[9]


The Mac OS Calculator as it shipped in 1984, with System 1

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.[10]


  1. ^ "Seven Tips and Shortcuts for the Mac Calculator app - by Christian Boyce". Mac & iPhone Answers. September 14, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  2. ^ Thurrott, Paul (June 29, 2017). "10 Years Later: My Original (and Epic) Apple iPhone Review". Thurrott. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  3. ^ Bangeman, Eric (September 17, 2007). "The iPod meets the iPhone: a review of the iPod Touch". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  4. ^ Dormehl, Luke (April 7, 2016). "Why the iPad has never shipped with a calculator app". Cult of Mac. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  5. ^ Apple, Download the iDB appAbout | Contact | Disclosure | Privacy | Unsubscribe2020 © iDownloadBlog com-This website is not affiliated with (June 4, 2019). "Apple finally brings a native Calculator app to the Apple Watch in watchOS 6". Retrieved December 14, 2020. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  6. ^ "How to Convert Currency in Mac OS X with Calculator App". OS X Daily. June 26, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  7. ^ "Use Spotlight as a Calculator in Mac OS X". OS X Daily. November 4, 2009. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  8. ^ Cunningham, Andrew (July 23, 2014). "Preview: A closer look at OS X Yosemite, just in time for the public beta". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  9. ^ Snell, Jason (October 16, 2014). "OS X Yosemite: New Notification Center finally gives widgets their due". Macworld. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  10. ^ Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. Simon & Schuster. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-4516-4853-9.