AirPrint is one of the big new features included in the upcoming release of iOS 4.2 for iPad and iPhone (which many expect will be released this week). I really hope the feature is going to work much better in the final public release of 4.2.
I say this because I’m currently running the GM (gold master) release of iOS 4.2 and have upgraded to Mac OS X 10.6.5 (released yesterday) that is said to be required for AirPrint to work correctly. And so far that has got me a whole lot of nothing as far as AirPrint goes. Every time I try to use it, all I see is the ‘No Printers Found’ error message shown in the screenshot above.
I have a very recent HP Photosmart Plus multi-function wireless printer which I hoped AirPrint would recognize either as a supported wireless printer or as a printer shared via my MacBook Pro, where I had enabled sharing on it in preparation for AirPrint.
So far, it’s no go at all for me on getting AirPrint to see the printer. I tried unsharing it to see if it would pick it up as a wireless printer, but it doesn’t see at all with sharing on or off.
Normally, with an issue like this there would be a number of factors to consider. Perhaps there could be a problem with the printer’s own connectivity to my wireless network. Maybe it can connect but has not been advertised / shared correctly on the network via its own settings. Maybe it’s just not a wireless printer that plays nice with iOS or iDevices.
But … none of those are relevant questions for examination in this case. Why? Because I have * three * separate third party apps on my iPhone and iPad that all have zero problems seeing the printer and very happily print to it. All of them use standard Bonjour networking to happily connect to my printer.
So I know network connectivity is fine and the printer is visible and ready, willing and able to print from my iPad and iPhone. It is only AirPrint that seems to believe I own a super-Ninja, stealth printer that it cannot possibly be found. And as far as I can see there are no settings or troubleshooting tools at all for AirPrint – certainly nothing in the Settings app and nothing in the minimalist popup that comes up when you launch AirPrint.
I was hoping AirPrint would be similar to Apple’s treatment of copy&paste – something simple and elegant to use. I still hope that may be the case when the final version of 4.2 is released, but from what I’ve seen so far I don’t feel at all optimistic. It looks decidedly inferior to various 3rd party apps, and offers little to no guidance on how to make it work when it doesn’t do the Apple thing and ‘just work’.
If any of you are running OS X 10.6.5 and the iOS 4.2 GM build and have suggestions on how to make AirPrint see a printer, please share them in the comments.