Calculator (macOS)

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Calculator icon macOS.png
Operating systemClassic Mac OS, macOS, iOS

Calculator is a basic calculator application made by Apple Inc. and bundled with macOS. It has three modes: basic, scientific, and programmer. Basic 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.

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.

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)[1]
  • Energy or Work
  • Temperature
  • Length
  • Speed
  • Pressure
  • Weight/Mass
  • Power
  • Volume


The calculator as it shipped in 1984

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 2002.[2]

Dashboard widget[edit]

A Dashboard Calculator widget is included in all versions of macOS from Mac OS X Tiger onwards. It only has the basic mode of its desktop counterpart. Since the release of OS X Yosemite, there is also a simple calculator widget available in the Notification Center.[3]

Spotlight integration[edit]

Since the release of Mac OS X Leopard, simple arithmetic functions can be calculated from the Spotlight feature.[4] They include the standard addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division operations, with exponentiation and the use of the percent sign to denote percentage.


  1. ^ "How to Convert Currency in Mac OS X with Calculator App". OS X Daily. June 26, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  2. ^ Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. Simon & Schuster. p. 132. ISBN 1-4516-4853-7.
  3. ^ Snell, Jason (October 16, 2014). "OS X Yosemite: New Notification Center finally gives widgets their due". Macworld. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  4. ^ "Use Spotlight as a Calculator in Mac OS X". OS X Daily. November 4, 2009. Retrieved May 14, 2012.