It’s 2022, and for some reason, the iPad still doesn’t ship with a calculator app. The iPhone, Mac, and even the Apple Watch come with a calculator, so it’s a strange omission. Here are some great iPad calculator apps you can use without getting ripped off in the App Store.
Beware Predatory Calculator Apps
It makes sense: As soon as you look for a calculator app on the iPad and discover there isn’t one, you might reach immediately for the App Store. We did too. Unfortunately, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of predatory calculator apps in the App Store. The worst offenders charge obscenely high subscription fees, feature ridiculous in-app purchases, or include annoying ads. With computerized calculator technology solidified in the 1970s, no one should subscribe to a basic calculator app in the year 2022.
It had been rumored that an official Apple calculator app might come with iPadOS 16 later in 2022, but for now, it’s looking like that might not be the case, and you’re still on your own. Luckily, there are alternatives and apps out there to fill the void.
Calculator App Alternatives
In a pinch, you can open Safari and type simple mathematical expressions into the Google search box, and you’ll see the answer on the results page. Even better, a touch-screen calculator will pop up directly in the Google website that you can use.
You can also verbally ask Siri to do math for you, such as “Hey Siri, what’s 1447 divided by 256?” If you’d prefer not to talk, you can open Spotlight and type in math expressions. You’ll get results just below the search box. Pretty handy!
Great Calculator Apps to the Rescue
Still, for some people, the non-app replacements we’ve listed above might not be good enough. Maybe you need scientific calculator functions, RPN, or even graphing capability? If that’s the case, here are some great iPad calculator apps you can use.
- Best Free Calculator App: After some testing, we’ve found that Uno Calculator is possibly the best completely free, no-strings-attached calculator app in the App Store. It’s simple, has no ads, costs nothing, includes standard, scientific, and programmer modes, and even helps with unit conversions. There’s also a web version online. The only drawback is that the interface is very spartan. Numerical² is also a good choice for a free calculator app if you’d like a splash of color.
- Best Paid Calculator App: If you’d like a paid calculator app with all the bells and whistles, try PCalc ($10), which includes deep scientific calculator functionality, a variety of interface designs to suit your personal preferences, and split screen support. If you purchase PCalc, you can also use it on iPhone and Apple Watch. Sure, it’s $10, but it has no ads, and you’ll be supporting a great app.
- Best Graphing Calculator: While PCalc is nice, it doesn’t do graphing. If you need that kind of functionality, you could try Desmos Graphing Calculator, which is free with no ads. Also, GeoGabra Graphing Calculator is a great free choice as well.
- Best Equation Solver: If you need help with your algebra homework, you can’t go wrong with Microsoft Math Solver, which is a free app that lets you scan equations with your iPad’s camera and solve them easily. Or you can write out the equations on the screen with your finger (or an Apple Pencil) and get step-by-step explanations. It’s amazing.
Between those four categories, you’ll find everything you’ll likely need in a calculator on the iPad—and most of them are completely free. Good luck, and happy calculating!