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, but they still hold a special place in the hearts of those of us who prefer the physical print medium to the digital format we’ve grown accustomed to. You don’t necessarily need a fully-fledged computer to serve all your basic printing needs, however. Your smartphone will do just fine, and we’re here to break it down for you. You’ll know how to print from an iPhone or iPad in no time.
There are plenty of options for printing Instagram selfies, work-related emails, or directions for when you have plans to venture into the boonies and getting a cell signal is nigh impossible. The best inkjet printers and best photo printers on the market have also made the task of wireless printing from an iOS device a breeze, having incorporated Apple AirPrint functionality and a number of native and third-party apps that utilize your local Wi-Fi network for remote printing. Regardless of which method you prefer, here’s how to get it done.
Looking to offload content? Lucky for you, we have guides on how to transfer photos from an iPhone to your Mac or PC and how to import videos from an iPhone to a Mac.
How to 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. 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, which makes the software incredibly easy to use no matter if you have an iPhone 5c or a 7 Plus.
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 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. You can also tap Options to reveal color options and which pages to print (if there are multiple pages).
Step 4: Print
Once you’ve selected the printer and the number of pages you want, hit Print in the top-right corner of the page. You can cancel your print job or check its status by double-tapping the Home button, choosing Print Center while in the App Switcher, and tapping Cancel Printing.
How to print using email
Did you think people were the only ones with email addresses? Many of Epson and HP’s new models feature HP ePrint or Epson Email Print for printing anywhere in the world by simply emailing a photo or document file to your printer’s assigned email. Once set up, the process is relatively easy and straightforward, requiring you to merely send an email from your iPhone to your email-compatible printer. This is obviously not an option for all users and printer models, but it is available for many models, such as the Epson Expression and WorkForce series, as well as most recent HP printers.
Step 1: Activate email printing
Assuming you have an email-compatible printer, the first thing you need to do is activate the email function. The enabling process will vary from device to device — Epson users are going to want to activate Epson Connect, for instance — but the entire process should be outlined in greater detail in your printer’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website. The printer will be assigned a default email address upon activation, which will likely amount to a series of random characters at a specified domain name, but you can change this later to something you’ll actually remember. Although your iPhone doesn’t need to be connected to the same wireless network as your printer in order to use email printing, the printer will still be required to connect via Wi-Fi as opposed to a standard USB cable.
Step 2: Print
If set up properly, all you need to do is email a document or image from your iPhone to your printer and it will automatically print the file to the default specifications — typically letter size on plain paper unless you adjusted the default settings during activation. Your printer won’t accept all file formats, but should be able to handle files from Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, as well as JPGs, GIFS, and PNGs, among others. Check your printer for details regarding acceptable file formats, size, and the number of printable attachments you can include per email.