Wirelessly printing photos and documents straight from your iPhone and iPad can be as easy as sending someone a text message, using one of several built-in and third-party options.
Though paperless reading and sharing of documents is easy and affordable these days, there are occasions when we all still need to use print documents and photos on paper. Apple’s printing technology AirPrint and a few handy third-party apps and cloud services support a wide range of printing options whatever you’re working on.
Here’s how to print from your iPhone or iPad to just about any printer.
The default option for printing documents and photos from your iOS device is AirPrint, which is popular on most compatible printer models that share the same local network as your iOS device. If a printer model supports AirPrint, it typically works automatically. If not, you may have to configure the settings in your printer to enable AirPrint. Print sharing also needs to be of course enabled on your Mac (System Preferences > Sharing > Print Sharing).
To print a selection on an iOS device, tap on the share button (either an arrow icon pointing left or straight up), which is usually at the bottom of an iPhone app, and sometimes at the top an iPad app.
In the resulting dialogue box, select the print option. If you iOS device shares the same network with an AirPrint printer, the printer option should automatically appear.
Choose the printer, the number of copies you want to make, and tap print.
Some iOS apps don’t include a printing feature, and you will need to export the selected content to a print-supported app, using the Open In… feature, also found under the Share button.
If your printer does not support AirPrint, Netputing’s handyPrint is a Mac application that works similarly to AirPrint. When handyPrint is launched and enabled, it will automatically make any printer on your Wi-Fi network show up on your iOS device when the print option is selected, as described above.
handyPrint allows you to set up and save a specific “landscape mode” printing option (see the handyPrint site for instructions) that can be selected from your iOS device in the list of printers.
handyPrint provides a 14-day trial, and access to the licensed version is a $5 donation.
If you don’t have a Mac connected to your printer, or if AirPrint is not available, stand alone printer apps like Printer Pro ($6.99) can handle wireless printing directly from your iOS device to a huge range of printers connected to your Mac or PC via the Printer Pro helper application you will need to install your computer.
To test out Printer Pro, download Printer Pro Lite (free) to check that it adequately supports your printer. From the lite version, you can print sample documents included in the app.
The full version of Printer Pro doesn’t work like AirPlay or handyPrint. Instead, you need to open documents in Printer Pro ($4.99) and print them from there. Once the pro version is installed on your iOS device, you can share a document from (for example) your Dropbox account or the PDF reader app, GoodReader 4 via the Open In… option under the iOS Share menu.
The Pro version also includes settings for auto rotating documents, changing the paper size, and the print range of documents, much like it is done on a regular desktop printer.
To print from a Safari web page, you change the URL header from “http” to “phttp” in the address bar and tap Go. That process will quickly open the page in Printer Pro, where it can be printed.
Model Printer Solutions
There are also iOS apps developed specifically for Epson, HP, and other printer models. Epson iPrint, for example, wirelessly connects with your printers on the same network. The app can print multiple photos from your photo library, documents from your Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive accounts, and documents shared to it via the Open In… feature.
Epson iPrint also includes a built-in web browser for downloading and printing web pages, and users can register an email print service that allows for remote printing over the Internet to email-enabled Epson printer.
HP’s ePrint Enterprise app works similar to Epson iPrint. It can print wirelessly to your networked HP printers, and it supports cloud services like Box, Dropbox, and Facebook Photos.
If you’re not near your networked printer, ePrint also allows for sending documents to one of 30,000 nearest public print locations such as a UPS Store, FedEx Office or Swiss Post branch. You can set up and activate locations printing from within the app, select a location, and then choose an item from your photo library, cloud storage service, the app’s built-in web, or from your email account to be sent to the printer location.
Google Cloud Print
Another way to print from your iOS device is to use Google Cloud Print, which allows users to print to a cloud-ready printer, which connects directly to the web and doesn’t require a PC to setup.
Classic non-Google Cloud printers that connect to the Internet through a laptop, Mac, or PC can be setup and registered with Google Cloud Print via the Google Chrome web browser. See this page for instructions and specifications for print models.
On an iOS device, users will need to sign into their Google account via the Google Chrome app (shown above), the Google Docs app, or through another web browser from which emails, documents, spreadsheets and other doc files can be printed to a designated printer connected anywhere over the Internet. The setup allows you to share your printer with others, just as you share files from your Google Docs account.
Printing Made Easy
AirPrint and one or more of the apps and options described above should make printing for your iOS as easy as printing from a hard-wired desktop printer. Let us know which apps or other solutions you have used for successfully printing from your iOS device in the comments.