Smartphones and tablets pack an incredible amount of computing power into a compact package, making them great portable calculating and mathematical tools. The right apps can take the headache out of dealing with mundane or complex calculations, or even make learning math — gasp — fun. If you're looking for great calculator replacements, detailed math reference tools or just plain fun math games, check out our 15 favorite math apps for Android and iOS devices. (Image Credit: perfectlab/Shutterstock)
PCalc Lite for iOS has a well-deserved spot on this list as a free, extremely flexible scientific calculator armed with powerful features that you can augment with numerous add-ons. The basic package gives you a fair amount to work with, such as trigonometric and logarithmic functions, a radian mode, undo and redo operations, as well as unit conversions and constants. Users looking for more power can buy additional features and operations through in-app purchases, or spring for the complete version for $9.99.
If you're looking for a smart, tape-style calculator that keeps track of your operations and results, check out Calctape on Android and iOS. Calctape keeps track of your calculations on a paper tape but with the convenience of digital, allowing you to go back and change variables or operations and have those changes reflected down the line. Users can label and add new lines, and the premium version can save calculations into files, customize keypad layouts and share and print calculations.
Soulver is a powerful replacement for the stock iOS calculator that mimics some of the best features of a tape-style office calculator while offering digital extras. Soulver displays all of your calculations in a straight column, allowing you to quickly reference previous calculations, while an editing cursor allows you to go backward and forward to change lines, with each modification automatically updated downstream. The app includes support for custom labels, unit and currency conversions. Users can save their sheets and share them or work on them later.
MyScript Calculator (Android, iOS) comes to the rescue of those of us accustomed to writing down equations on pen and paper rather than transcribing them into a calculator. A handwriting recognition system allows users to write down equations and have the app calculate results. MyScript supports basic arithmetic, as well as percent, square roots, trigonometric (and inverse) functions, logarithms and constants such as pi and Euler's number.
Of course, if you can't actually be bothered to write down an equation or problem, there's Photomath (Android, iOS). Simply snap a picture of a math problem and the app's handwriting recognition and camera calculator gives you an answer and step-by-step solutions. The app supports basic arithmetic, fractions, linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, systems of equations, trigonometry and more.
If you're taking up algebra and calculus but can't afford a fancy dedicated graphing calculator, don't fret, as there are great options for free graphing calculator apps on iOS and Android devices. Free Graphing Calculator (iOS) and Algeo Graphing Calculator (Android) both provide great graphing calculator functions, as well as many scientific calculator operations and constants.
Wolfram Alpha's (Android, iOS) computational knowledge engine is a wizard when it comes to a wide array of subjects, so it's no surprise that it's also fantastic at queries involving math, numbers, calculations and statistics (along with 29 other disciplines). Not only will Wolfram Alpha help you do the math, it'll also give you formula details, graphic representations and explanations for how the app got to the solution.