iOS/Android/Desktop: Default calculator apps suck. They work like a traditional handheld calculator, which only displays one value at a time and can only do basic math. If you want to do anything more than calculate a tip, you’re better off with these free and cheap calculator apps.

Basic math

These apps help you do typical “real life math” or solve basic textbook math problems.

MyScript Calculator 2 ($3 on iOS/Android): Write equations onto your phone or tablet with your finger, and MyScript will recognize and solve them. The app supports advanced arithmetic, absolutes and factorials, trigonometry, logarithms, and constants like pi.


Soulver ($9 on macOS, $3 on iOS): Type and edit math or word problems to solve. Supports arithmetic, algebraic variables, and currency conversion. Great for adding up expenses or income.

Calc+ (free on Android): Type and edit arithmetical calculations to solve. Save calculations or export to notes apps.

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Advanced math

PhotoMath (Free and ad-free on iOS/Android): Type or photograph a math problem (printed or hand-written) to solve and to see a step-by-step guide to the solution. Supports arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and graphing. Great for helping your kid with math homework, checking your answers, and tackling complicated problems.

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AutoMath (free on Android): Similar to PhotoMath, but contains ads and doesn’t support hand-written equations. Type or photograph a math problem to solve and see the steps to the solution. Supports arithmetic, algebra, inequalities, basic trigonometry, and graphing.

Wolfram Alpha ($3 on iOS/Android/Windows Phone, free on web): Enter a math problem or word problem to solve and get step-by-step solutions. Supports arithmetic, algebra, calculus, trigonometry, geometry, graphing, differential equations, alternate bases (e.g. binary), factorization, functions, logic, set theory, statistics, probability, definitions and history of math terms, and real-world variables.

Wolfram Alpha is like a nerdier Google, so it’s great for figuring out complicated real-world math problems as well as working on advanced math homework. $7/mo pro subscriptions add “image as input” support.

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Fake calculators

These apps are for cool teens who want to hide things from their parents because their family has trust issues.

Secret Calculator (free on iOS): Secret browser and file vault hidden behind a working calculator app. Requires passcode to unlock. Watch out for less popular apps with very similar names. And don’t bother buying the “pro” version, which hasn’t been updated in years.

Vault Calculator Hide Pictures (free on Android): Similar to Secret Calculator: a secret browser and file vault with cloud backup, hidden behind a calculator app. Supports multiple passwords for specific albums, and can send alerts when a user enters the wrong app passcode.

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