Tag Archives: AirPrint

Print n Share App Review

Print n Share EuroSmartz

In this section I discuss one of the popular third-party printing apps for the iPhone and iPad called Print n Share by EuroSmartz Ltd.

EuroSmartz develop several iPhone and iPad printing apps, including another popular printing app called PrintCentral (and PrintCentral Pro).

In terms of features, Print n Share is almost indistinguishable from the PrintCentral Pro app and are both from the same developer. I refer to them interchangeably on this website. The developer tells me the difference is that Print n Share is a universal app for both the iPad and iPhone whereas PrintCentral Pro must be purchased separately for each device.

Unfortunately it is confusing for the customer that they (and some other developers) offer several different printing apps that are essentially the same. Both Print n Share and PrintCentral Pro are good choices.

Print n Share App Review

Print n Share iPhone Screenshots

What I really like about Print n Share is that it is full-featured:

  • Its a universal app. You only pay once to use it on both your iPhone and iPad.
  • It can print to almost all printers (one should never say all!) whether they be AirPrint, Wi-Fi, or printers connected to your Mac or PC. This means you can print to most Bluetooth printers using your iPad or iPhone as long as they’re connected to your computer.
  • Print via 3G, 4G or the cloud.
  • Converts files and documents to PDF.
  • Your purchase includes free technical support and the app is regularly updated.
  • Access files direct from cloud storage including Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, WebDAV and others. This is a very useful feature. You can print your Microsoft Office documents stored in OneDrive directly from inside the Print n Share app. There’s no need for complex or messy work-arounds to be able to print.
  • You can also print your calendar and contacts. You cannot do this in the native apps on your iPad or iPhone.
  • You can fine tune your print job. For example, you can print in portrait or landscape, print multiple pages of a document or presentation to one page and adjust your page scaling amongst other features. Print n Share also has a print preview. These printing features are not available in the native print menus of apps on your iPad.
  • Other features. Print n Share has many other features, a lot of which you won’t normally use (like zipping / unzipping files or transferring files from one device to another) but they’re there if you need them.

The biggest selling point though is Print n Share is supported. Technical support is offered 24/7 with turnaround times averaging around 1 hour. On each occasion I’ve asked for support, I’ve received a response within the hour.

Not only that, there are pop-up messages within the app that encourage you to contact support if you have any issues. EuroSmartz also make it easy to do so by opening a support request form directly in your email client.

After testing a USB connected printer, Print n Share produced a dialog asking if the page printed, and if not, would I like to contact support? For me, that’s a deal closer. Printing is not one of those things you want to wait a day (or worse, a weekend or longer) for an email response to your support request.

In summary, I see Print n Share as kind of like a Swiss Army knife. It has loads of features, some of which you may never use but they’re there if you ever need them. Granted, the design and interface is nowhere near as elegant as some of its competitors like Printer Pro for iPhone by Readdle. However, it still manages to pack in all of its features without feeling bloated.

Finally, while PrintCentral Pro and Print n Share cost a little extra than some other printing apps, for me that premium support is worth the price of admission.

For more information on printing from your iPad or iPhone, see the separate discussions of third-party printing apps and all of your options for printing from an iPad or iPhone.

Print from an iPad or iPhone to Portable and Mobile Printers

HP OfficeJet 100

In this section, I look at portable or mobile printers for your iPad or iPhone. (Sometimes, people call them travel printers). These are the kind of printers you can take with you in your truck or vehicle if you want to print whilst on the road. It includes a discussion of some typically larger (although still ‘portable’) AirPrint compatible printers and some of the small non-AirPrint compatible printers popular with road warriors and other mobile workers.

(I’ve written separately about portable or pocket printers for printing photos from your iPhone – as this is a different type of printer.)

This is the most technically complex article on this website and the one which the most misinformation abounds on the Internet. Therefore, I’ve linked liberally to others and included videos of people who have completed the workflows so that you can see that they actually can be done… even if they sometimes look a little messy.

To reiterate (for emphasis), there are numerous (incorrect) comments online saying that you cannot print from an iPad or iPhone to several of these models of portable printers. You’ll find these comments in support forums, on product pages on Amazon.com and even in support responses from printer manufacturers.

Its a reminder that you need to be careful about the information you find online and do your own research into your important workflows. This is because there are occasions where even people who own the product or are considered technical experts are not aware of all of the options that are available in a given situation. Another possibility is that the situation has changed since their original comments were made and the webpage has not been updated.

Whilst I wish it wasn’t the case, this is also possible for some of the information you find here on my website. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of living in a world of such rapid paced technological change. (If you find an error, please let me know so that I can update the website at hello AT howtoprintfromipad.com.)

Let’s return to the problem at hand.

In essence, the solutions for printing to portable printers from an iPad or iPhone are exactly the same as for any other printer I’ve discussed on this website. You have two additional challenges:

  1. Finding a printer that suits your needs and is portable.
  2. Powering everything.

Okay, strap yourself in. Let’s begin.

The Challenge of Mobile Printing

One of the essential issues for people looking for a portable or mobile printer to use with their iPad or iPhone is that there are currently no ultra-portable AirPrint printers. (In this sense I’m referring to printers small enough to fit in your briefcase or maybe just a little bit larger.)

And those few models of portable or mobile printers that do tend to appeal to consultants, tradespeople, salespeople, and so on are typically either Bluetooth or USB printers and not Wi-Fi printers.

Therefore you can’t directly connect to these printers from your iPad or iPhone without an additional hardware or software solution. And, some of the typical solutions you might use at home where you have a non-AirPrint compatible printer (i.e. those discussed in depth elsewhere on this website – see the home page for a summary) that allow you to print from almost any printer from your device involve connecting your printer to your Mac or PC. Clearly, most people would want to avoid this situation whilst they travel.

Although, as I’ve shown in other parts of this website, you can get most printer set-ups to work with the iPad and iPhone if you’re willing to spend some money on the solution and maybe make a compromise or two.

However, here’s the second major hurdle. Even after you find a printer that you like and you could set it up to overcome the lack of AirPrint compatibility as you would at home… how do you power the whole solution when you’re away from home? (That is how do you power the printer, the router (if needed), and print server such as the Lantronix xPrint Server (if needed).)

Surprisingly, and despite many claims and comments online to the contrary, there are several models of printer that are popular with consultants, tradespeople, and so on that can, and have, been made to work in a mobile way.

[I note here that its probably useful for you to read the article I’ve written on routers for printing with an iPad or iPhone because it supports some of the content in the following sections. For example, it explains, amongst other things, how you might be able to use your iPhone or iPad (3G model only) as a portable router.]

Printing from Portable AirPrint Printers

Let’s first consider the easiest option, which is if you have an AirPrint printer.

My understanding is that there are a few AirPrint printer models that are still attractive (size and feature wise) to some people that would use them as a mobile printer.

That is, there are some AirPrint printers that are smaller than a typical desktop printer but larger than an ultra-portable printer. One example is the HP Photosmart 5520e printer shown below. However, there are several others. Some people find these of an acceptable size for their truck or vehicle. However, for many others, they’re still too large, and they want something smaller. For a discussion of these smaller printers, continue reading below.

If you have one of those models of AirPrint printers you just need something to power the printer and the router such as an inverter (with a sufficient power rating).

However, if your printer model is one that uses a technology called Wi-Fi Direct, HP’s similar technology called Wireless Direct (for HP printers) or the printer has the ability to create its own ad-hoc Wi-Fi network then you wont need a router… you can connect the printer to your iPad or iPhone directly by Wi-Fi and print your heart away. Here’s an example of how this works using the HP Photosmart 5520 e-All-in-One Printer:

Here’s a video showing the entire process of setting up a mobile printer to work with your iPhone or iPad if it isn’t wireless direct and you need to carry a router with you:

Note that in this video Joe was using the HP Photosmart D110A Wireless Printer. This printer model has since become AirPrint compatible with a firmware upgrade. Also note, that it is not essential to have a router that you strap onto the computer. An AirPort Express will work just fine. Importantly, the example in the video shows how you can achieve the workflow with a very inexpensive router – there’s no need for something fancy, unless you want.

If you don’t have a router, you can create a Wi-Fi network using the Portable Hotspot feature of your iPhone or iPad (3G/4G models only) as a router.  However, this will only work IF your phone carrier allows you to use the Portable Hotspot feature as a part of your phone contract. (Some phone carriers block the Portable Hotspot feature. If you don’t have access to it on your phone (check in Settings > Personal Hotspot) you’ll need to contact your phone carrier.)

Battery Operated Portable or Mobile Printers

In this section I look at some of the few smaller, lightweight, and battery operated models of mobile printers that are available.

At the moment, I’m not aware of any printers that are AirPrint compatible out of the box that are in this category of printer.

And the few popular models of printer in this class tend to have inbuilt Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi connections. Unfortunately, you can’t print from the iPhone or iPad directly to the printer using a Bluetooth connection.

Printer models popular with road warriors and mobile professionals seem to be the HP Officejet 100 Mobile PrinterHP Officejet 150 Mobile Wireless Color Printer and the Canon PIXMA iP100 Mobile Photo Printer.

While the printers listed above are USB or Bluetooth connected printers, even if the printer model did have inbuilt Wi-Fi, the iPad or iPhone still wouldn’t necessarily recognise the device as a compatible printer without the use of a manufacturer or a third-party printing app or a solution like the Lantronix xPrintServer.

Fortunately there are still some solutions in the portable battery operated mobile printer category. This includes setups for the two popular HP portable mobile printers listed above. First, I’ll start with a thermal printer from Brother.

Brother PJ673-K

Brother PocketJet PJ673-K

The Brother PJ673-K printer is a portable, battery operated thermal printer that weighs in at 480g and is 1.5 inches wide. Most importantly, it works with the iPad or iPhone. While it is not AirPrint compatible, the PJ673-K model does have inbuilt Wi-Fi and can operate in ad-hoc mode (i.e. you can connect it directly to the iPad or iPhone). Moreover, it is compatible with PrintCentral Pro for iPhone/iPod Touch – EuroSmartz Ltd or its own special purpose printing app: PJ-673 Print – Brother Mobile Solutions, Inc..

Its important to note that it is only the model ‘K’ in this series that has inbuilt Wi-Fi and the other Brother printers in the Pocket Jet 6 series are Bluetooth printers. Also, only the ‘K’ model ships with the associated gear like the power cord and battery.

There is a slightly cheaper PJ673 model that does not ship with the battery. The correct model of this product in in this website’s Amazon Store or you can find it here: Brother PJ673-K.

Further details on the PJ673-K can be found on the Brother website, in the PJ673-K product brochure or in this online product review. You can see the PJ673-K in action in the video below:

If you haven’t seen a thermal printer like the Brother PocketJet in action, here’s another video that shows one of the other models from the PocketJet 6 series in more depth. (Note though, that the specific model shown in the video (i.e. the Brother PocketJet 663) is not directly compatible with the iPad or iPhone):

HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer and HP Officejet 150 Mobile Wireless Colour Printer

HP Officejet 150 Mobile Printer

There is at least one gentleman that has created an iPad printing solution that runs entirely from batteries using the HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer, a small travel router and the Lantronix xPrintServer.

Basically, you are using the hardware solution (i.e. the Lantronix xPrintServer) to make a non-AirPrint printer appear and behave with your iPad as an AirPrint printer does.

Its the same solution you might use for a non-AirPrint compatible printer at home or in the office but making the whole thing ‘mobile’. In this case the printer, router, and xPrintServer all run from battery power so you can print whilst on the road. (You could, of course, use an inverter to power the printer, router and xPrintServer.)

The solution works by hooking up the printer, xPrintServer and router to the printer’s battery… but its not pretty! (I expect that you could also power the Lantronix xPrintServer and router with the type of external portable battery you use to recharge your iPad.)

Next, you need to get the printer communicating with the iPad through the Lantronix xPrintServer. This requires configuring the settings of the iPad, router, and Lantronix xPrintServer. It is quite an involved process and I suspect a few people might require some form of technical assistance to get it working.

The whole process is outlined in this blog post and shown in depth in this video:

‘Hat tip’ to him for devising it!

In theory, this solution should be able to work with any printer that can work with the Lantronix xPrintServer. (See the full list of xPrintServer compatible printers here.) It might also be worth contacting Lantronix to confirm its possible to get your printer to work with this mobile solution if its something you’re thinking of doing. Lantronix also suggest you contact them if you want compatibility added for your model of printer.

In practice though, I have only seen this strategy completed with the HP Officejet 100 and HP Officejet 150 models.

Australian Business Traveller wrote a detailed review of the HP Officejet 100 for business travellers and you can find it here.

Before closing this section, I should point out here that Lantronix advise me that the Canon PIXMA iP100 Mobile Photo Printer (a very popular printer with mobile workers) is not currently compatible with the Lantronix xPrintServer because of a proprietary printing language they use.  Lantronix, who have been trying to work with Canon to resolve this issue have not been able to do so and advise that the print experience is less than optimal. Therefore it is not considered to be a supported printer of the xPrintServer. (This means that if you wanted to use the PIXMA iP100 printer as a mobile printer, you’d have to connect to it through your Mac or PC.)

If running the whole set-up from a battery isn’t so important to you, then there is an alternative solution, which I’ll turn to now.

Power Operated Portable or Mobile Printers

Hewlett Packard Printers

First, if you’re using one of a select few Hewlett Packard models of printer such as the HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer or HP Officejet 150 Mobile Wireless Color Printer or any of the other models listed below, you can purchase an accessory, 1200w NFC/Wireless Mobile Print Accessory, to securely connect your iPad or iPhone directly to that printer without using a router.

HP 1200w NFC:Wireless Mobile Print Accessory

Few people seem to be aware of this accessory. It supports a few dozen HP printers including these two printer models that are very popular with mobile workers. At July 2014, the accessory supports the following printer models:

HP Color LaserJet Printer series: CP1025, CP1215, CP1515, CP1525, CP2025; HP Mono LaserJet Printer series: P1000, P1102, P1566, P1606, P2035, P2055; HP Color Multifunctional LaserJet Printer series: Pro 100 MFP, Pro M175 MFP, Pro M176 MFP, Pro M177 MFP, Pro M251 MFP, Pro M276 MFP, Pro M451 MFP, Pro M475 MFP, CM1312 MFP, CM1415 MFP, CM2320 MFP; HP Mono Multifunction LaserJet Printer series: Pro M401 MFP, Pro M425 MFP, M1120 MFP, M1132 MFP, M1212 MFP, M1319 MFP, M1536 MFP; HP Officejet Printer series: Officejet 100, Officejet 150.

While the printer (and particularly the compact Officejet 100 and Officejet 150 that I’ve talked about in detail above) can operate from its battery, the accessory needs to be powered so you will still need either an inverter to use in your vehicle or access to a wall socket.

The result of this setup is that you can then print through the native print menus in your desired app on your iPhone or iPad as if you were printing to an AirPrint printer. Alternatively, you can use HPs special e-Print app that you download from the App Store. In either case the printer you select in your app from the Printer Options is the HP 1200w Accessory. Here’s a video of the accessory:

You can find an up-to-date list of supported printers on the HP website. More details on the HP 1200w NFC/Wireless Mobile Print Accessory are here on the HP product support page.

Printing From an iPad or iPhone Whilst You Are Traveling

iPad Travel

Sometimes you’ll find the need to print from an iPad or iPhone whilst you’re away from your home or office.

Maybe you’re on holiday, at a client’s office, a friend’s house or just out in the city and you need to print.

You might want to print a document, a boarding pass, a PowerPoint presentation, a ticket, an itinerary, an assignment, or an invoice, amongst other possibilities.

Separately, I’ve written about portable and mobile printers for your iPad and iPhone if you regularly need to print whilst away from the home or office.

For times when you’re not carrying a printer with you, your options might include:

  • AirPrint. If the printer you want to print to is AirPrint compatible, you’re in luck. Your job is as easy as connecting to the Wi-Fi network your printer is on, and printing directly from any of the apps on your device that support printing. Its now you begin to appreciate the beauty of the AirPrint technology!
  • Third-party printing apps like PrintCentral Pro. These apps enable you to print directly to the largest range of printers including those that aren’t AirPrint compatible. If the printer you want to print to has inbuilt Wi-Fi Direct or HP’s Wireless Direct technology, you can connect directly to the printer from your iPhone or iPad rather than having to be granted access to somebody’s Wi-Fi network.
  • Emailing the content. Either to yourself, the print shop, accommodation, or person who has the printer.
  • Uploading the content to a cloud storage service. Cloud services might include Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, and so on. Then downloading the content and printing from a computer connected to a printer.
  • HP ePrint. Using the HP ePrint app, you can print your documents directly to the nearest HP Public Print Location. Over 10,000 locations worldwide are supported, and include FedEx Office stores, UPS stores, retail print outlets, hotels, airport lounges, universities, public libraries, and more.
  • Printing via 3G or Google Cloud Print. Many internet cafes now enable you to send your print jobs via Google Cloud Print. Some third-party printing apps like PrintCentral Pro can also be used for Google Cloud Print. 
  • Fax it. An old road warrior trick is to fax the document you want printed to your hotel or client’s office. Obviously, you wont get a great quality copy, and you should also make sure that you are not going to be charged for an incoming fax! Popular faxing apps include JotNot Pro by MobiTech 3000 LLC and Scanner Pro by Readdle. Costs will apply when using a faxing app.

Be careful about the security of any confidential documents that you might be printing, uploading to the cloud, or sending via email.

Also, be aware that when you download documents to another computer in order to print, the computer can save a temporary copy of the document to its hard drive. This document may, or may not be deleted when you finish your session on that computer. Likewise, copies of documents sent to cloud storage services or via Google Cloud Print may be backed-up or otherwise retained on their servers.

Consider investigating a service like Breezy (United States only) to help maintain the security of confidential documents whilst printing from an iDevice on the road.

So, as you can see, you have several options at your disposal if you need to print from your iPad or iPhone whilst away from the home or your office. Also worth reading is my article about how to print from an app that doesn’t natively support printing.

How to Print from an iPad or iPhone to a USB or Bluetooth Printer

In this section, I look at a summary of your options for printing from an iPad to a non-AirPrint printer using a USB or Bluetooth connection. I link to other sections of this website where I cover each of possible printing workflows alternatives in-depth, including its pros and cons, cost, along with videos and other resources.

If one particular alternative appeals to you, I’d encourage you to explore the related pages on this website so you can get an in-depth understanding of whether the solution will suit your specific circumstances. The home page presents a summary of all your iPad and iPhone printing options.

I’ll start with your options for printing from an iPad to USB connected printers and then move on to Bluetooth connected printers.

How to Print from an iPad or iPhone to a USB Printer

USB Printer

If you have a printer that has a USB connection then your options to print from your iPad or iPhone include:

  1. Third-party printing apps. Connect your printer to a router and print through a third-party printing app (e.g. PrintCentral Pro) installed on your iPad or iPhone. While you can print to many models of printers directly using these third-party printing apps, they don’t support printing to every make of printer. (You’ll have to check compatibility using a free lite version of the third-party printing app or with the app developer.) These apps have one significant shortcoming. That is that you must print all of your content (i.e. documents, emails, files, etc.) from inside the third-party printing app.
  2. Print servers. Connect your printer to a print server like the Lantronix xPrintServer and a router. Your iPad or iPhone will now see the printer in the same way as they would see an AirPrint printer. That is, you can print directly from any app that supports printing.
  3. Third-party software on your Mac or PC. Connect your printer to your Mac or PC and print from your iPad through the wireless network your computer is connected to. Your Mac or PC must be switched on, awake and have the special third-party software installed and running in the background. If you wish to print through the native print menus of any app on your iPad or iPhone then you would need to install special third-party software on your Mac or PC (e.g. handyPrint, Printopia, Presto, and O’Print). Otherwise you can install free third-party companion software on your Mac or PC (like WePrint from EuroSmartz) to print from inside a paid companion app (like PrintCentral Pro from EuroSmartz) that you install on your iPhone or iPad. (That is, using this option, you will not be able to print from any app on your device that offers printing, only through the special third-party printing app.). These options are explained in full in the article on Printing from an iPad to a Printer Connected to Your Mac or PC.
  4. Print via the internet using Google Cloud Print or HP ePrint.

How to Print from an iPad or iPhone to a Bluetooth Printer

Bluetooth Logo

It is not currently possible to print directly from an iPhone or iPad to a Bluetooth printer using the native print menu of any app on your iPad or iPhone.

This is because you cannot connect to your printer wirelessly from your iPad or iPhone by Bluetooth.

(For completeness, I do note that there are one or two ‘point-of-sale’ receipt printers that connect to the iPad or iPhone using a Bluetooth connection. However, my understanding is that they work because you can only print from the receipt printer manufacturer’s special-purpose app which communicates with the Bluetooth receipt printer. That is, you can only print receipts, not normal documents or files and so this is not a solution for most people.)

It is possible to print from an iPhone or iPad to a Bluetooth equipped printer as long as you don’t mind printing via your Mac or PC. There are two good solutions:

  1. Third-party apps and software. This option involves installing a third-party printing app on your iPad or iPhone (e.g. PrintCentral Pro) and its free companion software (e.g. WePrint in the case of PrintCentral Pro) on your Mac or PC. This solution works because the drivers for your printer are installed directly on your Mac or PC and not your iPad or iPhone. The downside is that your Mac or PC must be turned on and awake, connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPad or iPhone and the special third-party software running in the background. Secondly, all of your printing on your iPhone or iPad is carried out through the third-party printing app (e.g. PrintCentral Pro). You wont be able to print via the native print menus from the apps on your iPad or iPhone. The upside is that the solution will work with pretty much any Bluetooth printer you can connect to your Mac or PC. And so, if you have an old Bluetooth printer that you love, you can almost certainly get it to work with your iPad or iPhone.
  2. Third-party software. Similar to the first solution, its possible to purchase third-party software to install on your Mac and PC that makes your printer ‘pretend’ to be an AirPrint compatible printer. Here you have several options including handyPrint, Printopia, Presto and O’Print – AirPrint Activator. While this option may be slightly more expensive than the first, you can now print directly from any of the apps on your iPhone or iPad that support printing. Whereas in the first solution, you’d have to print through the third-party printing app. Now your iPad or iPhone will see the printer just the same way as it would any normal AirPrint printer. When using this option, your Mac or PC needs to be turned on and awake, connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPad or iPhone and the third-party software running in the background.

Conclusion

So, these are your options for printing from an iPad or iPhone when you have a USB or Bluetooth printer.

While they may seem a little inconvenient, if you don’t print from your iPad or iPhone very often, they might just fulfil your needs. They also save you from having to buy a new printer.

This is actually the solution I use most often because my laser printer is a non-AirPrint compatible printer. For $5, I print from my iPad via my Mac using handyPrint. Problem solved.

Be sure to explore the related sections on this website which give you more detail and the pros and cons of each of the individual options I’ve discussed here.