How to Solve Math Problems by Taking a Photo [+12 Solver Apps]

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Math can be challenging for many students. Thankfully, technology has made it possible to solve math problems easily just by taking a photo! With math solver apps, you can get step-by-step solutions and explanations right on your smartphone or tablet.

In this guide, we‘ll explore what math solver apps are, why you should use them, their key features, and the top 12 apps to try. Read on to learn how taking a photo can help you or your child conquer math struggles.

What are Math Solver Apps?

Math solver apps allow you to take a picture of a math problem, whether typed on paper or written on a whiteboard, and receive the step-by-step solution. The app uses optical character recognition (OCR), artificial intelligence (AI), and algorithms to identify the problem and work through it.

After processing the image, the app generates the full solution along with explanations of the steps taken. This allows you to follow along and understand the logic behind the answer. Many apps also provide different methods for solving the same problem.

Math solver apps cover topics like:

  • Basic arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Statistics

They can solve simple addition problems or complex calculus derivations. The best apps work for any grade level.

Benefits of Using a Math Solver App

Here are some of the main benefits of using a math problem solver app:

  • Get unstuck: When facing a problem you can‘t solve, a math app can provide the answer and show how to get there. No more frustration over being stuck on a homework question or studying for a test.

  • Step-by-step guidance: Math apps don‘t just give you the final solution. They walk you through each step along the way. This helps you learn the problem-solving process.

  • Develop understanding: By seeing the step-by-step logic, you gain a deeper grasp of the mathematical concepts and improve your skills.

  • Available 24/7: Unlike a tutor, these apps are available anytime you need help. They provide instant answers whenever you‘re working on math.

  • Multiple methods: Some apps show more than one way to arrive at the solution. This exposes you to different problem-solving approaches.

  • Fun and interactive: Many apps gamify the experience, making learning math more engaging. Interactive graphs and visuals make the concepts more concrete.

  • Convenience: You can access these apps on your smartphone or tablet, making math help available wherever you go.

Key Features of Math Solver Apps

Math solver apps share some standard features that enable them to provide solutions:

Photo Math Capability

The defining feature of these apps is the ability to take a picture of a problem and receive the solved steps. This photo math functionality allows you to snap a picture of the math question as it appears in your textbook or on a worksheet.

Advanced OCR technology can detect and process typed or even handwritten math problems. The app scans the image, identifies key data points, and formulates the solution.

Built-in Math Tools

In addition to the photo math feature, many apps also integrate tools like calculators, formulas, and converters to provide further math support.

You may be able to input questions manually using a digital math calculator. Apps also give you access to math formulas, constants, and units. Plus, you can quickly convert between units of measurement.

Step-by-Step Explanations

A core component of math apps is detailed explanations accompanying the solutions. Quality apps don‘t just provide the final answer—they demonstrate the thought process and calculations required to get there.

You‘ll be able to follow each step, see how the app arrived at the solution, and fully grasp the problem-solving pathway. Animations, graphs, and visual aids further enhance understanding.

Interactive Graphing

Visual learners will appreciate apps that incorporate interactive graphing capabilities. Being able to see functions and equations plotted out graphically can really cement math concepts.

Some apps let you draw graphs by hand using a touch screen pen. You may also be able to manipulate graphs by shifting functions, zooming, or tracing points. Exploring graphs helps deepen comprehension.

Algebra Tools

Apps focused on algebra provide tailored tools for solving equations, factoring expressions, completing the square, and more. You‘ll gain access to an algebra calculator along with lessons and examples for reference.

Look for apps that allow inputting math expressions and variables in addition to plain numbers. Algebra-specific math apps have the right features for working with unknowns.

Trigonometry Functions

For trigonometry help, seek out an app with a scientific calculator able to handle sine, cosine, tangent, cotangent, secant, and cosecant. It should also cover trig identities, inverse functions, and radian/degree conversions.

Ideally, you‘ll be able to input trig expressions and the app will simplify, evaluate, and solve them step-by-step. Extra trig practice problems and examples also help.

Calculus Capabilities

For calculus, the app should handle limits, derivatives, integrals, series, and vectors. A graphing calculator makes calculus much more manageable.

Apps that can take derivatives, find integrals symbolically, solve related rates problems, and graph 3D functions will provide robust calculus support. Look for plenty of calculus examples as well.

12 Best Math Solver Apps

Here are 12 of the top math apps for solving problems by taking a photo:

1. Photomath

Photomath demo video

One of the most full-featured and robust math solver apps, Photomath can handle problems ranging from basic arithmetic to advanced calculus. Just point your camera at a problem and the app provides the solution along with explanatory steps.

Photomath covers math topics like algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, and statistics. It can read handwritten, printed, or typed problems. An integrated calculator lets you manually input questions as well.

Useful math learning tools include interactive graphs, a formula list, math dictionary, and practice exercises. Photomath is free to use with optional paid subscriptions for access to more examples and detailed explanations.

Platforms: iOS, Android

2. Microsoft Math Solver

Microsoft Math Solver demo video

Developed by Microsoft, this solver app combines computer vision and AI to deliver step-by-step explanations for math problems. You can snap a photo of the question, draw it using a finger or stylus, or type it in.

Microsoft Math Solver handles topics like arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, chemistry, physics, and calculus. It can read both handwritten and printed math problems. The app provides detailed step-by-step solutions with instructions.

Useful features include a scientific calculator, a graphing tool, digital math notebook, and math dictionary. You can even ask follow-up questions if you need clarification on the concepts. The app is free to download and use.

Platforms: iOS, Android

3. Mathway

Mathway demo video

Mathway is designed to provide instant answers and explanations to tough math problems. Just type the question into the app or use the camera to scan a problem. It can solve math ranging from pre-algebra to calculus, along with statistics, chemistry, and more.

Once you submit a problem, Mathway displays the full worked out steps to get to the solution. You can see different methods for arriving at the answer. There is also a graphing feature for visualizing functions.

Mathway has over a billion solved problems in its database, so you can search for examples similar to yours. Other handy tools include a unit converter, formula list, and math dictionary. The basic app is free with an optional paid subscription.

Platforms: iOS, Android

4. Cymath

Cymath aims to explain math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way. It can solve problems in arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, and more. Just type in your question or scan a photo of the problem.

One of the best features of Cymath is showing multiple solving methods for each problem. Seeing different approaches helps you gain a well-rounded mastery. Step-by-step explanations walk you through each method.

Cymath also incorporates interactive visuals and practice exercises to reinforce understanding. A formula sheet provides quick access to math rules and properties. There is a free tier of the app with the option to upgrade for more features.

Platform: Android

5. Math Papa

Math Papa is an algebra app equipped to solve math problems from basic to advanced levels. It functions as an AI-powered tutor able to provide detailed step-by-step solutions for free.

The app covers topics like pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, physics, calculus, and chemistry. Just snap a photo of the problem or use the built-in calculator and Math Papa will walk through the process to get the right solution.

Interactive graphs help visualize concepts. You‘ll also have access to a formula sheet, math dictionary/wikpedia, and practice problems. Upgrade to Math Papa Premium for additional features like ad-free usage.

Platforms: iOS, Android

6. WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha takes a computational knowledge approach to solving math problems. Instead of searching the web, it computes the answer from structured data. You can enter math problems and queries using plain text.

This app covers mathematics topics like algebra, number theory, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, calculus, and more. It provides step-by-step solutions along with visualizations, tables, graphs, and relevant examples.

WolframAlpha adds context to the solutions by providing helpful related facts and concepts. You can get answers in terms of units relevant to your question. The app offers a free version with an upgrade option to Pro for more features.

Platforms: iOS, Android

7. Symbolab

With Symbolab, you can input a math problem by typing, using the built-in calculator, drawing with a finger or stylus, or scanning a photo. It provides the steps to solve advanced math problems along with explanations.

Symbolab‘s artificial intelligence can handle topics ranging from basic math and algebra to calculus, trigonometry, chemistry, and more. It generates detailed step-by-step solutions with hints and tips. You can also search examples in its database.

Useful math tools include graphing, a matrix calculator, equation solver, and unit converter. Symbolab offers a 7-day free trial period before requiring a paid subscription. There are monthly, annual, and lifetime subscription options.

Platforms: iOS, Android, Web

8. GeoGebra Graphing Calculator

If you need specific graphing calculator capabilities, GeoGebra is an excellent option. It allows you to graph, analyze, and solve math problems dynamically. You can enter equations to instantly visualize them on the graph.

GeoGebra covers graphing of functions, geometry, algebra, calculus, statistics, 3D math, and more. It enables constructing geometric objects and measuring them on the fly. The calculator handles derivatives, integrals, vectors, and matrices as well.

You can interact with the graphs by tracing points, dragging objects, zooming, and panning. GeoGebra also includes tools like a scientific calculator, spreadsheet view, and CAS (computer algebra system). The apps are free to download with premium subscriptions offering additional features.

Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Web

9. Mathway

Mathway allows you to take a photo of a problem or type it into the app to receive step-by-step solutions. It can handle questions from basic math to calculus, algebra, trigonometry, chemistry, physics, and more.

The app provides clear explanations for each step leading to the final answer. You have the option to ask for additional details whenever needed. Mathway can solve handwritten, printed, or typed problems.

Useful features include graphing, a calculator, formula sheets covering various topics, and a math dictionary. The app offers numerous examples grouped by subject to help build your skills. Mathway is free to download with an optional premium upgrade.

Platforms: iOS, Android

10. Algebrite Math App

Algebrite is designed to help you master algebra by solving problems and graphing results. Just input a math problem manually or scan a photo of the question. For graphing, you can plot multiple functions on the same axes.

The app covers topics from basic arithmetic operations to algebraic expressions, quadratic equations, trigonometric functions, logarithms, and more. It provides step-by-step explanations to boost understanding.

Algebrite also incorporates some useful math tools including a unit converter, triangle solver, and formula reference sheets. It offers free graphing and solving capabilities with upgraded pro features available as in-app purchases.

Platform: iOS

11. Maple Calculator

Maple Calculator provides step-by-step explanations along with graphing and diagramming tools. It can solve math problems ranging from basic algebra to calculus. You can input questions manually or take a photo.

The handwriting recognition can process both printed and handwritten math problems. Maple Calculator walks through solving the problem while explaining the concepts behind each step. Graphs and visuals further reinforce understanding.

You‘ll also gain access to advanced calculation tools, interactive 3D graphs, and example problems grouped by level. Maple Calculator is free to download and use with the option of in-app purchases for extra features.

Platforms: iOS, Android

12. Math Solver by Mathway

From the makers of the Mathway calculator, this app is specifically designed for solving math problems by taking a photo. It utilizes state-of-the-art AI to provide step-by-step explanations.

Math Solver by Mathway handles algebra, trigonometry, geometry, calculus, statistics, chemistry, physics, and more. Just snap a photo or pick an image from your library to scan a math problem.

The app can solve typed, handwritten, or printed problems. It breaks down solving the problem in an easy to follow format and identifies the exact steps needed. Math Solver by Mathway is free to download and use.

Platform: iOS

The Convenience of Math Solver Apps

Math solver apps put the power to solve challenging problems at your fingertips. When you come across a tricky math question, you no longer have to remain stuck and confused. Just grab your smartphone, take a quick picture, and allow the app to walk you through the solution.

These apps help ensure you or your child develop a robust understanding of mathematical concepts. By enabling you to view the full step-by-step process, math apps reinforce comprehension and problem-solving skills. Leverage the convenience of this mathematical knowledge in your pocket!

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