How To Make AirPrint Work with Just About Any Printer

Share This:

AirPrint Hacktivator

A quick rundown on How to Use AirPrint Hacktivator to Make AirPrint Work with Any Printer:

I’ve talked a lot here recently about how hugely disappointing the much-hyped new AirPrint feature has turned out to be in the recent iOS 4.2 update. Apple originally promised it would support a wide range of wireless printers and virtually all shared printers. On release, it supports a very small handful of HP wireless printers and no shared printers at all – making it unusable for the vast majority of iPad users.

The good news is that now there is an easy and free way to get AirPrint working as it was originally intended, and use it with your shared printers on your network. Read on for the very easy steps required to use the AirPrint Hacktivator app to get AirPrint going …

How to Use AirPrint Hacktivator to Make AirPrint Work with Any Printer:

Some Notes on what the app does and how it does it:

irPrint Hacktivator is based on the Troughton-Smith hack.  Version 1.0 to 1.6 essentially automated the addition a urftopdf mime types reference to two cups files and add a urftopdf filter for cups.

Starting with version 1.7 only the following two lines are added to the “/usr/share/cups/mime/apple.types” file:

# Added by AirPrintHacktivator

image/urf                       urf string(0,UNIRAST<00>)

No Apples files are redistributed nor installed by the latest version.  A backup of the original file is done prior to adding the necessary line to allow for easily reverting the hack.

I had known about a few hacks that have been around for this purpose for a while, and shied away from them. The reason I am happy using this one is that it makes minimal changes, backs up the one file it alters (I’ve verified this while testing the app), and it is very easily reversible.

Steps to Use AirPrint Hacktivator:

— Download the latest version of the app (currently 1.0 of the new AirPrint Activator) here:

— Unzip the application and launch it

— When the app launches, you’ll see just the simple Off / On toggle for it. Move it to On. You’ll be prompted to enter your password to approve the change – do that and click OK to confirm.

— You’ll then see a popup from the app that tells you what you need to do under System Preferences:


— Go to System Preferences > Print & Fax

— Click on the minus sign symbol to remove your printer from the list. Then add it back via the plus button. Once it is back in the printer list, tick the checkbox to share the printer on your network.


*** Please note that you *must* remove the printer as stated in the step above. Do not think you’re already good to go if you see your printer listed and ticked as shared when you first open the Print & Fax preferences.

That’s it. Once you’ve done the above, you should find that you can use AirPrint on your iPad (or iPhone) in all supported apps, such as the built-in Mail, Safari, and Photos apps. To use AirPrint:

— Launch Safari, Mail, Photos, or another app that supports it (more and more apps will be updated to add AirPrint support now that iOS 4.2 is out).

— Tap on the standard ‘Share’ button – the one that looks like an envelope with an arrow coming out of it – and choose Print from its shortlist of actions.

— On the Print popup dialog, tap on Printer field where it will say Select Printer. Now AirPrint should look for printers and find yours. Select it and you’re all ready to print to it.

*** Please note this is a Mac only app for now. There is a promising sounding Windows solution now as well. See HERE for details (translated from German) on this.

UPDATE: The developers of the AirPrint Hacktivator app recently received a take-down request related to the website for the app. They complied with it, effectively killing off the app – but they also immediately reincarnated the app as AirPrint Activator.

The new app doesn’t just have a new name and the same excellent functionality as its predecessor; it also has take the necessary steps that should keep future take-down requests away, as it no longer contains any Apple files.

The download link for the app in this post has been updated to point at the new version.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

More Posts

Follow Me: TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

Share This:

20 thoughts on “How To Make AirPrint Work with Just About Any Printer”

  1. Do I need a Mac to use this or can I use my pc. I have two hp printers, laser jet p1102w and Photosmart premium 309. Neither supports the AirPrint as far as I can find out. Can I download to my iPad 2?

    1. The p1102w supports AirPrint with a firmware update- available from HP. I’ve got a bunch of them at work and one at home.

      1. Thanks for this post, gives me some hope i can print from my ipad. How do I find the update? I couldn’t get my HP p1102w to show up on my ipad4.

  2. It’s a shame IPad does not support the relatively new Canon MX870 multi-purpose printer.

    As I have several of these and they’re not iOS compatible the purchase of IPads to replace all the Dell laptops this month just went out the window.

  3. Will I still have to have my laptop open and my Lexmark printer plugged into my laptop in order to print form my iPad2? In other words, will my laptop have to be used as a server in order to print form my iPad2?

  4. I downloaded and intalled on my Mac mini as instructed and air print worked beautifully with my HP Officejet L7500 and my iPad 2. My printer is not air print compatible originally, but now it is!!

  5. I followed the above link. The app is now called handyPrint. I didn’t have to subtract or add a printer, it found it on it’s own. I then pulled up an email on my iPad and printed it. It did just fine, thanks.

Comments are closed.