How to Do Exponents on the iPhone

Typing exponents on the iPhone, such as the squared symbol (2) or the cubed symbol (3) isn't supported as standard on the keyboard, but you can do it using a few different methods. Since exponents are primarily used in math, the iPhone calculator is the only part of the device that is set up to type them by default, but you can also type exponents in a text message or using the ordinary keyboard.

Image Credit: PhotoAlto/Dinoco Greco/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/GettyImages

Exponents on the iPhone Calculator

Using the exponent calculator function is the easiest way to get exponents on your iPhone. Open the Calculator app, which you do by swiping upward from the bottom (or downward from the top in iOS 12) to open the Control Center. Tap the calculator icon and rotate the iPhone horizontally. When the calculator is open and you turn the phone so it's in landscape mode, the built-in scientific calculator opens. You can only do this if "Rotation Lock" is disabled, so disable it in the Control Center if you need to.

To type a squared symbol on the iPhone's calculator, type the number you want to square and then tap the "x2" button. To type a cubed symbol, type a number and press the "x3" button. Alternatively, you can type any number, and then press "xy" to add any number you want as an exponent. Press "=" to evaluate the expression.

Text Exponents: Copy and Paste

The easiest way to insert exponents on the iPhone in text or other apps is to copy and paste the required symbol from elsewhere. For example, if you copy one of the following numbers – 0123456789 – you can insert it directly into a text field of any app included with the iPhone. You can also search online for a "squared symbol," for example, to bring it up. Double-tap on the symbol you want and then choose "Copy" from the options that pop up. Press and hold at the location you want to insert the symbol and choose "Paste" to position the exponent there. This method isn't the most tech-savvy way to approach the problem, but it is certainly the simplest.

Text Exponents: Making a Shortcut

If you plan to type exponents on your iPhone regularly, you can set up text shortcuts to perform the task. Go to "Settings," then tap "General," "Keyboard" and "Text Replacement." Tap the "+" symbol in the top right corner of the screen. Under "Phrase," paste the symbol you want, such as "2" if you want the squared symbol, and then type "^2" in the Shortcut field. Tap "Save" to confirm. This tells the phone to add the exponent whenever you type the shortcut phrase. If you want to type any exponent, you have to repeat this process with all other numbers in place of the 2 in the example, which is time-consuming, but when it's complete, it provides a natural way to type exponents.