To print from your iPhone or iPad, find the print button in the app you’re using and select your printer name in the print options. If your printer doesn’t appear automatically, it probably doesn’t support AirPrint, in which case you can usually connect using your printer manufacturer’s app.
Printing from your iPhone or iPad is easy, as long as you have the right printer for the job. If your printer is giving you trouble, there are some solutions you can use to print directly from your Apple smartphone or tablet.
Print from iPhone or iPad using AirPrint
AirPrint is Apple’s easy-to-use wireless printing protocol. It requires almost no setup, as long as your printer is turned on and connected to the same wireless network as the iPhone or iPad you’re trying to print from.
Many printers now come with AirPrint as standard, especially since we are increasingly using our mobile devices for all sorts of tasks. If you’re not sure if your printer has AirPrint, you can try printing anyway and see what happens. The printer should appear if it meets the requirements.
To print from your iPhone or iPad using AirPrint, select “Print” in any app you’re using. This is often hidden in the Share menu, as is the case with apps like Safari and Notes. This is not the case for all applications; For example, under Reminders, you’ll need to tap the “…” icon. In third-party apps like Google Sheets, the “Print” option is hidden under “Share & Export”, which can be revealed with the “…” button.
From here, tap “Printer” to display a list of nearby printers you can use. If your printer supports AirPrint and has been set up correctly, it should appear in this menu. Touch a printer to select it.
You may see a notice about the app you are using asking for permission to scan for devices on your local network. Allow this when prompted. (And if you’re having trouble, head into the app’s preferences in Settings and make sure “Local Network” is enabled.)
With your printer selected, you can change your printing preferences by choosing how many copies you want, whether to print in black and white or in color, whether to use two-sided printing if available, as well as specify the size of paper currently loaded in the printer. You may also get additional settings for “Media & Quality” and “Layout” depending on your model.
Finally, press “Print” in the upper right corner of the screen to send your job to the printer. You can also use the “Share” button next to it to save a PDF version of your file locally if you’d like.
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How to print from an iPhone or iPad without AirPrint
Just because your printer doesn’t have AirPrint doesn’t mean it can’t print wirelessly. Many printers include wireless functionality but do not support Apple’s AirPrint protocol.
Use your printer manufacturer’s app
If you have a printer that is Wi-Fi enabled but doesn’t have AirPrint, there’s a good chance that wireless printing is supported by an app. You can usually search the web for your printer model (you’ll find it marked on the printer or on a label on the back) to see if this feature is supported.
Then it’s simply a case of downloading an app like HP Smart, Canon PRINT, Epson iPrint, Brother iPrint&Scan on your device and following the instructions. Some of these apps have the added benefit of remote printing over the Internet, allowing you to send a job to your printer at home no matter where you are.
Use your Mac or PC to enable AirPrint
If you have a reliable printer that doesn’t support AirPrint (or Wi-Fi), all is not lost. You can use your Mac or Windows PC as an “AirPrint enabler” to pass print jobs directly to your (wired) printer. There is no need for additional apps on your iPhone or iPad, the printer will appear and work just like any AirPrint printer would.
To do this, you’ll need to enable the functionality with a third-party app on your Mac or PC. The best tool for the job is Printopia, a $20 Mac app that transforms your standard printer into an AirPrint-enabled machine. Windows users will have to use the pricey Presto (formerly Fingerprint) or try O’Print, both of which come with free trials.
Once you’ve set up the application of your choice, your computer should act as an AirPrint gateway that provides other devices on the network with access to wireless printing. This is ideal if you have an always-on Mac mini, iMac, or Windows desktop computer that can do double duty as a print server for your iPhone and iPad.
Make sure your next printer is AirPrint compatible
If you still need a printer, particularly one you can use with your iPhone or iPad, it’s worth investing in something that will make your life a little easier. For the most part, AirPrint “just works” over your local wireless network, allowing you (and your guests) to print wirelessly whenever you’re within range.
We also recommend choosing a laser printer over an inkjet if your primary use is gray or monochrome printing. Laser printers use toner instead of ink, which lasts much longer and costs less in the long run. When choosing a printer, consider not only the price of the unit itself, but also the cost of refills over the life of the product. For monochrome printing, a laser printer is usually a cheaper option (and they print much faster).
Just like inkjet printers, laser printers come in all sizes and prices. Models like the Brother HL-L2370DW come with AirPrint support and standard Wi-Fi printing (for non-Apple devices), and print speeds top out at 36 pages per minute.
AirPrint laser printer
If you print primarily in monochrome, the Brother HL-L2370DW is a great example of an inexpensive laser printer. Print wirelessly from iPhone, iPad, or Mac with AirPrint, or use Wi-Fi printing with Windows devices on the same network.
Do you have problems with the printer?
Printers are less common than before, but many of us still depend on them. However, printers are still responsible for all sorts of technology-related headaches, from a printer that appears permanently offline to the lengthy process of setting up a shared printer in Windows.
Looking for a new printer? Check out our top printer recommendations. If you prefer to go paperless, sharing documents and media using cloud storage is a great alternative.