I'm using Calculator on Mac OS X 10.7.5. I switched it to the "Programmer" view, and the upper right only has "8", "10", and "16" buttons, which means it only allows you to enter octal, decimal, and hexadecimal numbers. How can I enter binary numbers?

enter image description here

  • If your dead pressed on using apples native calculator its not that easy. There are better web alternatives or even use terminal if you feel like it. But theres only so much you can do with that calculator.
    – soulshined
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 8:34
  • There is a better calculator for dealing with bits: bitcalc.abeghyan.com
    – Pablo
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 12:42
  • Yes, such a shame Apple did not add the "2" button for switching to binary input mode. Just why? A really weird decision to only let users click individual bits, which is nice by itself, but the ability to use a keyboard for entering 0s and 1s is really missing. The build-in calculator in Windows 10 and 11 is head and shoulders above Mac's calculator. Sad... Commented Jun 6 at 21:02

2 Answers 2


Click "show binary" button, this shows in your screenshot, and then you can click the "bit" you want to set.

  • 14
    Thanks, that is a really bizarre way of doing it (what the heck was Apple thinking?). You also can't paste a binary number into Calculator that way, so I wonder if there's an easier way to enter binary numbers. Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 8:10
  • 2
    Haha, 2021 outside and still same issue.
    – Ross
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 13:18

There's a little trick to entering and doing binary math on the built in Calc App and that's to put it into RPN mode via ⌘ CommandR

Then, add the binary digits to the stack by clicking on each bit then performing your operations. Below is a very basic calculation showing how you can enter binary numbers (Sorry for the large size, needed to show the bit selection)

enter image description here

(IMO) This isn't the easiest calculator to utilize, but this will do in a pinch.

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