The printer is the Keith Richards of machines – slowly on the decline, but seemingly immortal. They are no longer our go-to source of information like they were in the ’90s and early ’00s, but they still hold a special place in the hearts of those of us who prefer the physical print medium to the eye-straining digital format we’ve grown accustomed to on our laptops, tablets, and smartphones. However, you don’t necessarily need a fully-fledged computer to serve all your basic printing needs. Your nifty, spiffy iPhone will do just fine.
There are plenty of options for printing work-related emails, selfie Instagram photos or directions should you be trekking into the boonies where obtaining cell reception is nigh impossible. Modern printers have made the task of wireless printing from an iPhone or iPad a breeze, incorporating Apple AirPrint functionality and a number of native and third-party apps that utilize your local Wi-Fi for remote printing.
Here’s our straightforward guide on how to print from an iPhone or iPad using AirPrint, email, or other available print apps. Also, make sure to take a look at our printer buying guideas well as best apps for iPhone.
Updated 7-15-14 by Emily Schiola: Added iPad instructions and Google Cloud Print.
Choose your method:
Print using Apple AirPrint
AirPrint-enabled apps let you create and print full-quality documents and graphics without the chore of installing drivers or configuring the printer queue. The requirements are rather minimal – you need any model iPad, an iPhone 3GS or later, or a third-generation iPod Touch – as well as the latest version of iOS and an AirPrint-compatible printer with the latest firmware. Feel free to check Apple’s AirPrint basic support page for a comprehensive list of all compatible devices, including popular models from Canon, Epson, HP, Samsung, Brother, and a ton of other noteworthy manufacturers. AirPrint functionality is also the same across all iPhone models, making the software incredibly easy to use no matter if you have an iPhone 3GS or a 5.
Step 1: Connect to Wi-Fi
In order to use AirPrint, both your printer and iPhone must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Keep in mind there may be multiple networks available in an office setting and you might have to enable the AirPrint function depending on your printer. Check your printer’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for a more detailed instructions about how to turn on the function and connect to Wi-Fi.
Step 2: Select the printer
Check the connection between your iPhone and the printer by opening an AirPrint-supported app such as Mail, Safari, or Evernote. Most apps will feature a familiar arrow that resembles a forward or reply email icon. Tap the icon, select “Print” and your printer should appear as the selected device by default, otherwise tap “Select Printer” at the top and allow your iPhone to scan for nearby printers.
Step 3: Choose the number of copies
Select the number of copies you want to print by tapping the addition and subtraction arrows to the right of “Copy.” Obviously at least one copy is mandatory, but you can print up to a total of 99 pages at once if you’re feeling trigger happy.
Step 4: Print
Once you’ve selected the printer and the number of pages you want, hit the “Print” button in the middle of the page. You can cancel your print job or check its status by double-tapping the Home button and choosing the printer summary from the multitasking bar (the icon looks like a printer and should appear as the first app on your left).