Apple’s iPad, a mobile touchscreen display that could run apps, play video, and kill productivity with games like Fruit Ninja, gave portable computing a huge advance in 2010. Despite its versatility, no iPad model, including the Pro, Mini, or Air, has ever come with a calculator, which has become a standard feature in operating systems.
The iPad has many features, but it doesn’t come with a calculator app. There’s been a peculiar omission in Apple’s preinstalled apps since the iPad’s inception. While the iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and iPod touch all come with a calculator, the iPad has never had one. It’s probably the best platform for the job out of all of them, especially if it’s one of the scientific sorts with extra features.
Why Doesn’t Apple Include a Calculator with the iPad?
While Apple has yet to provide a definitive explanation for not including a calculator, a Reddit post claiming to be an ex-employee presented a possible explanation in 2016. According to user Tangoshukudai, early iPad prototypes copied over Apple’s standard iOS calculator, which expanded to match the iPad’s screen. As a result, no one saw the calculator’s altered appearance as development advanced until far too late. When Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO, finally discovered it, he requested it is taken down.
Since then, no one at Apple, according to Tangoshukudai, has bothered to program a calculator to fit the iPad’s specifications. Moreover, iPadOS 14, the most recent operating system, has not had a built-in calculator.
Does this imply that iPad users will never be able to do math? No, not at all. Users can access a hidden calculator that initially emerged with Apple’s iPadOS nine or download third-party software.
To access the Spotlight search screen, swipe down from the home screen. The iPad will understand that some math is required and deliver an answer if you enter equations into the search box. You may also use it to convert currencies and units. However, having an Apple calculator easily available onscreen will have to wait.
The backstory of Steve Jobs: There was an official reason for the calculator app’s absence from the iPad.
Scott Forstall was in charge of the iPad’s software development when it was being developed. He designed the early iOS skeuomorphic interface, and the calculator app included with the iPad prototype was merely a scaled-up version of the iPhone’s. The software team expected Forstall to include the calculator in the final product, but when Steve Jobs viewed it a month before the iPad’s introduction, he immediately met with Forstall. “Where is the new calculator design?” he asks. “What new design?” Forstall responded, “this looks dreadful.” “This is what we’ll be shipping.” “No, pull it,” Jobs responded. “We won’t be able to ship that.” Despite Forstall’s best efforts to persuade Jobs to keep the calculator on the iPad, he was given an ultimatum: redesign its user interface to look good on its larger display or remove it. With the iPad’s launch just weeks away, Forstall realized his team wouldn’t be able to design a new app from the ground up. Therefore the first iPad didn’t come with a calculator.
Jobs, recognized for his great attention to detail, was not pleased with the app, which he thought was terrible. So, to Forstall’s displeasure, he removed the app since it had fallen to the bottom of the list of things that need to be done for every update or upgrade to iOS and then iPadOS.
This story may be false, as it’s hard to think that no one at Apple has been able to come up with quality calculator software in the last decade. Still, the continued absence of such a tool lends credence to the theory.
In an interview with MKBHD, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, was asked why the iPad still lacks weather and calculator apps. He responded to that, “I believe it is evident how simple it is to make a calculator app and that by doing so, we should feel as if we have created the best iPad calculator app ever. When we are able, we want to do it. We haven’t quite reached that point yet, but we will.”
On the iPad, how do you access the calculator:
Whatever the reason for Apple’s decision not to include its Calculator app on the iPad, the fact remains that the calculator is present, just obscured.
Ask Siri for help.
To conduct easy computations on your iPad, you can utilize Siri. Ask, for instance,
- Hey Siri, what’s 60% of 100
- Hey Siri, what’s 19-7
- Hey Siri, what’s 28.98 divided by 8
Other, more difficult questions may be routed through Wolfram Alpha. When we asked Siri for the square root of 16, for example, she got the answer from Wolfram.
So, while the iPad’s Calculator app is good for easy computations, it won’t provide you with all of the answers.
For iPad, the best calculator apps
If you don’t want to wait for Apple’s legendary calculator app to come to the iPad, the App Store still has a lot of good options. Calcbot 2, a free application that performs standard and scientific calculations and unit conversions, is one of our favorites. Unfortunately, advertisements are included in the free version, but you can pay £2/$2 to remove them.
PCalc, Calculator HD++, Calculator HD Pro Lite, and a slew of other powerful apps are also available. Although there isn’t an Apple Calculator app on the iPad, there are plenty of other options from third-party developers.
Check out the top free iPad applications, greatest iPad Pro apps, and best iPad productivity apps for more App store selections.