You’ve been misusing the iPhone calculator this whole time

iPhone’s built-in calculator is more than just a math tool⁠. It comes with some nifty features that can make day-to-day computing much easier.

One of many built-in apps that iPhone users regularly access the calculator, but some may not be using its full potential. iPhone’s Calculator app is a useful tool that’s quite simple to use, but few people know about its many features that go beyond basic arithmetic calculations. With knowledge of some of the simple commands, the versatile application becomes even easier and more convenient to use.

The iPhone Calculator is also much more efficient when used in conjunction with other iOS features, such as Siri. Dictating simple calculations to Apple’s voice assistant can certainly save users a lot of time, such as when calculating tips at a restaurant or trying to determine a person’s age using their year of birth. Another way to save time using the calculator across multiple apps is to use the iOS Control Center.


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A not-so-well-known feature of the iOS Calculator app is the ability to remove the last digit without having to clear the display. This feature is incredibly useful when entering calculations involving a long string of numbers and allows a user to remove errors without losing progress. In the event of a typing error, the last number accidentally typed can be deleted by swiping left or right at the top of the screen. If there are more digits to delete, continue to swipe back and forth across the number display until only the correct digits remain in the number field.

Other iPhone Calculator App Tips

iphone calculator

When viewed in portrait orientation, the Calculator app displays basic arithmetic operations. However, when the iPhone is rotated to landscape orientation, the app turns into a cool scientific calculator that includes exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. It might not be a daily need for most Apple users, but having the option can benefit those who work in science and math. Users can also easily copy and paste calculation results by long-pressing the number display and pasting the number into another app. When there’s been a lot of app jumping and other copy and paste work since using the calculator, there’s a nifty trick available through the iPhone’s control center that provides quick access to the answer to the last calculation. Simply swipe down from the top right corner of the screen to access the control center, long press the calculator icon and tap ‘Copy last result.’

Using the Calculator app in combination with other iPhone features is great for quick calculations. In a pinch, the iPhone’s Spotlight search can be used as a quick calculator. Swipe down from the home screen until the Spotlight search bar is visible and directly type in the base equation to calculate. Be sure to use * to multiply and / to divide numbers. The result should appear at the very top of the search results. Another useful mathematical tool is none other than Siri. Users can wake up the virtual assistant with “Hi Siri” and have it perform mathematical functions such as “What is 75 times 7?” Where “What is 26% of 823?.“Siri can even be used to calculate tips by saying the total bill followed by the desired tip percentage. For example, users can ask something like”One hundred and seventy-five dollars and sixty cents with a twenty percent tip‘ and the bill, broken down by subtotal and tip, will briefly appear on the screen.

iPhone users who also have an Apple Watch can actually use the Calculator app on their smartwatch to calculate how much to donate. The integrated Point even includes a numeric field to add the number of people, in case a group splits the bill. The tip amount, the total amount and the amount each person owes should be displayed on the screen. While the Apple Watch Point feature may not be available in all regions, a iPhone Calculator can still be a very useful application.

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Source: Apple 1, 2

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