Most of you may be well aware of the fact stated in this post’s title – but I get asked this a lot and see lots of people talking about how it’s not possible to print from the iPad.
So I thought I’d do a quick post to confirm that yes, you absolutely can print from the iPad – and in fact if you have the right type of printer and a decent app, wireless printing from the iPad works very well.
I’m no expert on this subject (yet ) but I’ve been giving it a go at home with a couple of wireless printers – and finding that it’s quite easy if your setup is right.
Apple announced yesterday that wireless printing will be built into iOS 4.2, to be released in November – and hopefully their solution will be more universal, elegant etc than those currently offered.
In the meantime though, here’s a little rundown of how I’ve got wireless printing going for my iPads:
— First I needed a wireless printer of course. I started out with a Canon Pixma model, and it worked nicely with my iPhone and iPad – but its drivers for Mac didn’t work and I ended up returning it. The printer itself was very capable and if you’re on a Windows PC it may be a great choice, or if you’re on a Mac and willing to monkey around with finding the right drivers.
I ended up with an HP Photosmart Plus, and I’m very happy with it.
— Setup for the Photosmart Plus was very straightforward. It also required some driver updating for Mac OS X 10.6, but the process was smooth and successful.
— Once the printer was setup and working on my home network, I went looking for apps to use for printing from the iPad. Both the Canon and the HP have decent, free apps for printing photos from iPad. The Canon Easy Photoprint for iPhone app worked fine from both iPhone and iPad. HP iPrint Photo also worked a treat.
— Both of the above apps are fairly limited in terms of what they will print. They are geared towards printing photos and images from your photo libraries on your iPhone or iPad, as their names would imply. The HP app also lets you print .txt or PDF files.
— My favorite printing app for the iPad so far is Print Central for iPad. This is a real powerhouse of a printing app – here are just some of its features, via its App Store page:
FULLY FUNCTIONAL PRINTING
• Print direct to most WiFi without additional software, or use sharing software for ALL printers.
• USB & Bluetooth printers can be used with free sharing software
• Also use the print server software on your Mac or PC for best quality printing for ALL printers (e.g. USB, WiFi, Bluetooth & Network printers)
• Portable printing via WiFI or flash drive in Hotels/Internet Cafes etc.
• Print remotely via 3G/EDGE
FULL IPAD APP INTEGRATION
• Open & Print files directly into PrintCentral from any other app that supports the "Open in…" file sharing, including attachments from Apple Mail
• Print from Pages/Numbers via Mail or iWork.com print button
• Transfer docs and files via iTunes using USB cable (Apps Tab)
• Open documents stored in PrintCentral directly into iWork for easy editing
• Open files stored in the cloud directly into iWork
I especially love the fact that you can access and print files from Google Docs, Dropbox and lots of other places within Print Central.
There you go. I’m still learning and experimenting with wireless printing from my iPad and iOS devices – but I can already tell you that it just feels super cool to be able to do it. So there’s no need to wait for iOS 4.2 in November for wireless printing from your iPad.
I’d love to hear about your experience with printing from the iPad. Please share your thoughts and knowledge in the comments.