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Calculator (Mac OS)

Scientific Calculator view with Reverse Polish Notation
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Stable release 10.8 / July 25, 2012; 7 years ago (2012-07-25)
Operating system Mac OS X
Type Calculator
License Proprietary

Calculator is a basic calculator application made by Apple Inc. and bundled with Mac OS X. 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 history going back to the very 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
  • Energy or Work
  • Temperature
  • Length
  • Speed
  • Pressure
  • Weight/Mass
  • Power
  • Volume

Currency exchange rates may be updated from the Internet.[citation needed]


File:Macintosh Calculator 1984.png
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.[1]

Dashboard widget

A Dashboard Calculator widget is included in all versions of Mac OS X 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 notifications area.[2]

Spotlight integration

Since the release of OS X Leopard, simple arithmetic functions can be calculated from Spotlight feature.[3] They include the standard addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, exponentiation and the use of the percent sign to denote percentage.