We love that Apple includes the ability to wirelessly print to our iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches via its signature AirPrint technology. The beauty of AirPrint is that you don’t need to download or install drivers on your iDevice to print. But the downside is that AirPrint, introduced way back in iOS 4.2, only works with AirPrint enabled printers.
- 1 Is Your Printer Not AirPrint Enabled?
- 2 How-To AirPrint On Your Current Printer
- 3 2-Thinking Big? Look no further than Presto
- 4 3-Let’s go to Printopia
- 5 4-Using Windows? Give O’Print a go
- 6 Don’t Forget Your Printer Manufacturer’s Apps!
- 7 Looking for a list of printers that support AirPrint?
Is Your Printer Not AirPrint Enabled?
So what do you do when you don’t have access to an AirPrint-enabled printer, don’t want to purchase a new printer that has AirPrint pre-installed, and instead want to print from your current printer or just about any printer out there? The good news is that there are several third-party solutions out there for those of us just not ready (or willing) to upgrade our printers just for AirPrint! So don’t go out and buy a new printer just yet! Read on and see if one of these third-party solutions works for you!
These third-party solutions act a go-between from your iDevice to your printer, usually with a computer as the intermediary. Think of these third-party solutions as a translator–translating your iDevice’s print data to your printers that don’t recognize the AirPrint protocol. Essentially, these tools turn your printer into a virtual printer so you can access it wirelessly.
How-To AirPrint On Your Current Printer
handyPrint (formerly called AirPrint Activator) is a small application for macOS and Mac OSX that allows you to print from your iPods, iPads, and iPhones on most legacy printers that do not support or include the AirPrint protocol. And it’s compatible with iOS4.3 and above and on Macs running OSX Snow Leopard and above.
Plus installing handyPrint is simply–just download it, install it, and turn AirPrint on. That’s it! You don’t have to spend any additional time manually selecting printers. Depending on your security and privacy settings, after the installation is completed you may (or may not) get a message reminding you that the application was downloaded from the internet and asking you to confirm opening it.
Once you toggle handyPrint ON and allow it to accept incoming connections, you can print from most generations of Apple iPhones, iPad and iPod Touch to a printer shared over your WiFi network. Our readers tell us this software is easy to install and better yet, easy to use! So give handyPrint a try today and see if it works with your printer too.
Price: Donation of at least USD $5
2-Thinking Big? Look no further than Presto
Using an older or non-AirPrint printer in a work, government office, school, or business setting with multiple users? Then, Presto from Collobos Software is for you! It offers easy printing for iDevices and Android too, as well as Windows, macOS and Mac OS X. Presto’s motto is “we worry about the differences so you don’t have to!”
Presto includes apps for a wide variety of devices, from iOS and Android to ChromeOS and Windows 10. You can even set-up a guest account for infrequent printing.
Price: Presto is variably priced depending on the number of users, starting at USD $75
3-Let’s go to Printopia
Printopia from Decisive Tactics, Inc allows any AirPrint capable iDevice to wirelessly print to any printer, old or new. There’s no app to install on your device. Instead, like handyPrint, Printopia uses your Mac as a go-between to print from your device. And as long as your Mac is on, you can print from your device–even when there’s nobody logged in to your Mac.
Printopia allows you to add up to five printers and you can also print your files to your Dropbox. For large organizations with more than five printers, there’s a Pro version that offers wireless mobile printing for anywhere between 10 to an unlimited number of printers. All without you needing to reconfigure your network or purchasing any new printers.
Price: Printopia offers a 7-day free trial and then USD $19.99. Pro versions start at USD $99
4-Using Windows? Give O’Print a go
O’Print AirPrint Activator for Windows from Zero One Technology allows folks with Windows (Windows XP SP3 and later) to print from any AirPrint capable iDevice to almost any printer. Like the previous Mac options, O’Print uses your Windows computer as a go-between to communicate with and enables your existing printers to support AirPrint via your computer, just like an AirPrint printer. So you can send jobs from all your iOS devices to your printers.
O’Print installs a Windows utility that allows the Windows PC to be AirPrint-Compatible and detects all your existing printers so you can share them with your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone. There’s no need to install any additional apps on your iOS device. However, O’Print does require you to log onto your Windows computer when you want to print. An additional benefit is that O’Print allows you to set up a password for each shared printer to secure your printing jobs.
O’Print, like Printopia, also allows you to print to PDF and print directly to your Dropbox.
Price: 30-day free trial, followed by USD $19.80
Don’t Forget Your Printer Manufacturer’s Apps!
Many of the major printer manufacturers have at least one app out there for printing from your iPhone and iPad. So if AirPrint isn’t possible and you’re not inclined to try a third-party, check out your printer’s manufacturer information and see if there’s an app for that!
Printing via a manufacturer’s app usually requires your printer to create a direct wireless access point. To see if your printer supports this, review your user guide and look for a button that resembles a broadcast icon or the icon for WiFi Direct. Something like these two examples:
Press that button and then open your iDevice’s Settings > Wi-Fi and look for a new WiFi network with your printer’s name, brand, or model. Connect to that network and then open the app to print!
Looking for a list of printers that support AirPrint?
Check out Apple’s website for the latest list of all printers and manufacturers that support AirPrint natively. This list is based on information provided by each printer manufacturer and Apple updates the list once a month. If you don’t see your printer’s model listed, check with the manufacturer for more information.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.