This website is designed to teach you how to print from an iPad or iPhone regardless of whether you have an AirPrint or non-AirPrint compatible printer. It explores in depth, all of your printing options and covers all types and aspects of printing from an iPad or iPhone.
So, if you’ve wondered, ‘can you print from an iPad?’ The answer is most definitely: Yes!
That said, its often not without its challenges.
There are many scenarios under which you may find you need to print from your iPhone or iPad, some you of which you may not have considered. Examples might include printing a boarding pass, tickets, photos, web page, map, a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation, a Microsoft Word document, a PDF file, an invoice, email, your calendar, a newspaper article, and more.
Sometimes you’ll want to print to a printer you have set up at home, and other times you might be at work, or traveling.
With a little bit of knowledge you can be prepared to easily tackle any of these types of jobs, and more.
Options for Printing from an iPad or iPhone
There are several (quite different) options for printing from the iPad or iPhone.
These differ in terms of price, features, complexity of setup and operation, and the way in which you print from your device. However, the process for printing content is exactly the same, regardless of whether you’re using an iPad or iPhone. (And so, whilst reading this website, you can also substitute the word iPhone wherever you see the word iPad.)
Broadly speaking, your options are:
- AirPrint. Using AirPrint you can print directly to an AirPrint compatible printer on the same Wi-Fi network as your device. There are now hundreds of natively AirPrint compatible printers available including models from all of the major printer manufacturers. I write elsewhere in more detail about everything you need to know about AirPrint.
- Print to a printer connected to your Mac or PC. Options here include handyPrint, Printopia, and Presto for Mac. O’Print – AirPrint Activator and Presto are two options for PCs. If you have a compatible Netgear modem, the free Netgear Genie software will do the same thing with either a Mac or PC.
- Connect your existing printer to a print server. Lantronix produce the popular xPrintServer ($100) and Hewlett Packard the relatively unknown HP 1200w NFC/Wireless Mobile Print Accessory ($87). Both function to turn non-AirPrint printers into AirPrint printers.
- Install third-party printing apps on your iPad or iPhone. Manufacturers of printers including HP, Brother, Epson, and others have developed their own iPhone and iPad apps to work with certain models of their printers. There are also a host of relatively inexpensive third-party printing apps on the App Store such as PrintCentral Pro and Printer Pro.
- Printing via the cloud (including Google Cloud Print, HP ePrint or 3G/4G using a third-party printing app). By printing through the cloud, you can print from anywhere in the world to a printer you have set-up or have access rights to and is connected to the Internet.
On this website I consider each of these options in depth to help you figure out which is the best for your circumstances.
For most people, having an AirPrint printer will be the best solution. The main reason is that you don’t have to purchase and download any additional apps for your iPad or iPhone, nor is there the need to install additional software on your Mac or PC. Using AirPrint, you can also print from the native print menus inside any app that supports printing. With some third-party printing app solutions you can’t and instead have to execute all of your printing inside their third-party app.
If you don’t have an existing AirPrint compatible printer (or don’t want to buy one), options (2) and (3) above will make your existing printer appear and behave on your iPad exactly like an AirPrint printer would.
Why AirPrint Isn’t Always the Best Option
Using an AirPrint compatible printer is not necessarily the best solution for everybody, or in all circumstances.
You may have a non-AirPrint compatible printer that functions really well as a part of your existing workflow and may not want to replace it. Similarly, many tradespeople, consultants and salespeople want to use a mobile printer and there are few existing AirPrint compatible printers that fulfil this need. Others have USB or Bluetooth printers that have served them well for years and don’t want to replace them with a new printer that they may potentially have issues with.
Also, for example, you might to print whilst you are traveling, at work, or otherwise away from your normal printer. In these cases you may not have access to an AirPrint compatible printer and so it might be worthwhile to understand your other printing options.
There is another consideration. Some of the third-party printing apps for your iPad give you more control over your print jobs by offering features that aren’t currently found in the native print menu in iOS. For example, you can print a document in landscape format or print a multi-page document onto one page. Many third-party apps also enable you to print your Contacts or Calendar which is also something you can’t natively do using the default apps on your iPad. And so, even if you own an AirPrint compatible printer, you might want to investigate these printing apps to enhance your printing workflows.
In many situations then, you might want or need an alternative solution. This website discusses those solutions.
Layout of this Website
I’ve broken this website down into a number of articles. Each article discusses an aspect of printing from an iPad or iPhone in depth to answer all of the questions you may have.
First, I cover the five core printing choices you have from an iPad or iPhone as were summarised above. They are:
In a series of blog posts that I will link to here, I cover specialist topics that round out everything you need to know about printing from an iPad or iPhone. A store, which contains all of the products discussed on this website, including many popular and high-rated AirPrint printers and Google Cloud Print ready printers can also be found at the top of this page. Its not something that has just been thrown together. All of the products are hand picked to help you get the most out of your iPad or iPhone printing.
Here are the blog posts:
- How to print to USB and Bluetooth printers.
- How to print from your iPad or iPhone whilst traveling. This discussion covers all of the options when you need to print content and the only device you have with you is an iPad or iPhone. You’ll find it useful for that one time you unexpectedly need to print a ticket, an assignment, an invoice, a boarding pass, and so on. Alternatively, you may be traveling with just your iPhone or iPad – this post will tell you all you need to know.
- Portable and mobile printers. This is an indispensable reference for tradespeople, consultants, salespeople and others that want to purchase a small printer for their car or vehicle and take their printer with them on the road. Yes, you can print from your iPad to mobile printers that on dozens of blogs and forums they say you cannot. I take an in-depth look at how its done.
- How to print photos from an iPad or iPhone. This discussion includes print kiosks, mobile apps and online services. Also included is a discussion of apps and other resources for editing photos. It also reviews some apps for printing physical and virtual postcards.
- Portable or pocket printers for your iPhone.
- How to print when your app does not support printing. Many apps still don’t support printing, including some Microsoft Office related apps. This article discusses your options for printing content from apps that don’t support printing.
- HP ePrint. An overview of Hewlett Packard’s popular third-party printing app.
- Wi-Fi routers for your printer including how to use your iPhone as a portable router. This section is an invaluable resource for those people who are traveling or away from their normal printer.
- Print Centre. Managing your print job using the hidden Print Centre in iOS 7.
I have made extensive use of video on this website to show you exactly how apps, services and products work. This should help you to make the best choices to suit your particular circumstances.
Troubleshooting iPad or iPhone Printing Problems
If you are having problems printing from your iPad or iPhone, there are a few things you can try:
- Check your printer. Check that your printer is turned on and online, connected to your Wi-Fi network, and has paper in the tray.
- Reset the printer. Try resetting the printer by turning it off and then on again.
- Check your printer firmware. Check on your printer manufacturer’s website to ensure your printer is running the latest firmware. (A few AirPrint printers need a firmware update in order to be AirPrint compatible.)
- Check online for a solution. First, you could try by searching for keywords related to your issue using a search engine like Google. Alternatively, you can search the Apple support forums. And, if you sign up, you can post your own questions to the support community. Other good support forums include MacRumours, iPadForums and that of your printer manufacturer. Here’s a link to HP’s popular support forum. If you purchased an iOS app for your printing and are having problems with it, contact the developer.
- Contact your retailer or printer manufacturer.
One thing that is important to keep in mind is that sometimes you will get incomplete, inaccurate or sometimes even wrong answers to your questions. These can include answers from technical experts, people on support forums with tens of thousands of helpful votes, Amazon reviewers, people who own and use your model of product, and even the printer manufacturers themselves. And – gulp – whilst I hope not, that could even include me on parts of this website. I’ll do my best to keep it up-to-date although its your responsibility to make sure your choices suit your specific needs and circumstances.
Its not that these people want to intentionally mislead you, its that they sometimes don’t know all of the alternatives that are available. Furthermore, circumstances often change since the comment you may have read was written and the webpage hasn’t been updated.
And if you’ve already been reading other online sources of information about how to print from an iPad, you’ll probably know there’s lots of conflicting information. It makes it very difficult to figure out what your options really are. Its best therefore that if the answer you seek is really important to your workflow that you seek multiple sources of information and assess them critically.
I really encourage you to explore the website in full. There’s dozens of iPad and iPhone printing tips, tricks, hacks, apps, products and services covered here including many that you will not have seen. The website covers everything from how to print from apps that don’t allow printing to tips for printing when you find yourself away home and unexpectedly needing to print from an iDevice.
There is no collection of specialist iPad and iPhone printing information like this anywhere else on the web. And with this information under your belt, you’ll quickly become an iPad and iPhone printing ninja!
I hope you enjoy the site and it saves you many hours of hunting for this information online. Happy printing!
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