PhotoMath app's step-by-step solutions can help a student learn, while...

PhotoMath app's step-by-step solutions can help a student learn, while giving students and parents a tool to check accuracy in math homework. Others, especially on social media, say the app could be used to cheat. Credit: MicroBlink

A new app that can solve complicated math problems has jumped to the top of Apple's app store, though what the company touts as tutoring tool might also be a cheater's best friend.

As of Thursday, the free app PhotoMath ranked first in Apple's store, surpassing Facebook's stand-alone Message app.

The surge comes two days after PhotoMath creators MicroBlink Software unveiled the software at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in London. The app lets users scan any printed equation using a smartphone camera and then displays the answer. As of now, the app cannot scan handwritten problems.

MicroBlink says the app's step-by-step solutions can help a student learn, while giving students and parents a tool to check accuracy in math homework. But others, especially on social media, say the app will obviously be used to cheat.

"This PhotoMath app ... power! All math students can cheat on assignments now," Alex Lim wrote on Twitter.

"Making it easier for kids to cheat in school. Worked for Snapchat. Seems to be working for PhotoMath," tweeted Russ d'Sa.

PhotoMath is available for iOS and WindowsPhone, with an Android version expected in early 2015, according to the company's website.

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