How To Use AirPrint on the iPad

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AirPrint is one of the headline new features in the latest version of the iPad software – iOS 4.2. It allows you to print directly to certain wireless printers from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch (see below for which models and other requirements).

This new feature has almost no settings, requires no setup on the user’s part, and is one of those typical Apple offerings that should ‘just work’ if you have the right device and printer.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s needed and how it works …

AirPrint Requirements

– You need one of the following AirPrint capable devices:

iPad

iPhone – 3GS or later model

iPod Touch – 3rd generation or later

– The device needs to be running iOS 4.2 or later.

– You also need a wireless printer that supports AirPrint. Sadly that list is very short just now, with only seven HP printers currently on it. These are the printers listed as at 11/22/10:

  • HP Envy eAll-in-One series (D410a)
  • HP Photosmart Plus e-AiO (B210a)
  • HP Photosmart Premium e-AiO (C310a)
  • HP Photosmart Premium Fax e-AiO (C410a)
  • HP Photosmart e-AiO (D110)
  • HP Photosmart Wireless e-AiO (B110)—Europe and Asia-Pacific
  • HP Photosmart eStation (C510)

** It is likely that the list of supported printers will grow rapidly now that AirPrint has been released. It’s worth checking on AirPrint support when considering a new wireless printer and also checking whether an existing wireless printer (if it is a relatively new one) may be updated with new drivers that enable AirPrint support.

– The printer must be connected to the same network subnet as your iPad or other iOS device.

– AirPrint works *only* with wireless printers. It will not work with shared printers or printers connected directly to your PC.

How To Use AirPrint

This really couldn’t be much easier if you meet the above-listed requirements. There is nothing to turn on – AirPrint is on by default, and nothing to adjust in your Settings app.

– To use AirPrint you just open an app that supports it – such as the built-in Safari, Mail, or Photos apps, and more 3rd party apps as they add support for the new feature.

– Once you’re in an app that supports AirPrint, you just tap the Share icon (generally the one that looks like an envelope with a rightward pointing arrow in it).

– That will bring up a popup with a short list of actions you can take on the photo / email / web page you are on. Print will be one of those actions. Tap on that.

– Now you’ll see the Printer Options popover. The first field in is Printer, with a prompt to Select Printer. Tap that and AirPrint will search for supported wireless printers on your network. If you have one, it should find and show your printer – just tap to select it.

– Once you have selected your printer, the only setting under Printer Options is number of copies to print. It defaults to one copy, but you can tap to adjust it. If you need to alter other print settings, you’re going to need to do that on the printer itself or via your PC.

That’s all there is to it. As you can see the hardest part is just having the right equipment. Hopefully we will see support for shared printers added soon via an Apple update and more new wireless printers offering AirPrint support.

If you need any more information on AirPrint, check this Apple Support document: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4356

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.

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18 thoughts on “How To Use AirPrint on the iPad

    • I agree it's very lame in its current form. Hoping they will improve it via future .x updates.

  1. Incredibly overhyped feature that 99.9% of all current iPhone/iPad users cant use. What even more surprising is how much the press have written about such a USELESS feature.

  2. *Not true* that it works only with certain printers.
    I have it printing to my supposedly incompatible 4-year-old Brother printer, which on LAN but seen as a local printer by each computer in the house. All I had to do was install an AirPrint service on one of the PCs, per the instructions found at http://jaxov.com/2010/11/how-to-enable-airprint-s
    The only glitch is typing the command line string precisely when installing the AirPrint service. I left out a space, so had to look up sc.exe syntax to undo it and start over. Not too hard,

    • No, it is absolutely true. You're having to install a new service on your Windows machine, which not everyone is capable of doing or even wants to do, to make this work. The link at the Jaxov site for Mac instructions is the well-known hack that alters OS X system files to make this work. Again, not something everyone feels able to or comfortable with doing.

      It is absolutely true that AirPrint – out of the box and without making changes to your desktop OS – works only with a very limited range of printers.

  3. I went and tried this out, but there is no way to change any print settings, like simple things like switching the paper to landscape in Safari!

    Pretty useless if you can't change the paper orientation or paper type on the device…

    • I think the idea is to keep it simple and let you set everything via your printer or its own applets. I still think it's lame that at least a few more basic options are not included.

  4. Pingback: 6 More HP Printers Add AirPrint Support — Just Another iPad Blog

  5. Really lucky as I found out about it my dad just bought the right printer :)

  6. Just got an HPC410 and AirPrint works seamlessly with iPad and iPad2. Do wish you could change settings like orientation, draft, B/W, etc as I see it gobbling ink. Luckily we don’t need to print that often. Haven’t really explored the possibility of changing default settings on the printer or thru MacBook print commands which also prints well using wireless. But, older half basketball desktop running 10.4 lost ability because HP doesn’t have a driver. Don’t print often from that machine and hp’s ePrint seems to work well.

    • Glad it’s mostly going well for you. It would be nice to have access to more print settings, and hopefully that will come along in future updates to AirPrint and 3rd party apps.

  7. I use Printopia on the Mac. It works perfectly. Not hard to setup. I can print from my iPad to Evernote, PDF file, or to printer.

    Why is AirPrint based on certain new printers. I think, Apple has been moving the iPad away from requiring a computer. This means that the printer must do “thinking” about how to print. This is why older prints can’t be AirPrint, older prints would need to be updated. I don’t see printer companies doing that.

  8. Why does the iPad take so long to print out. Using an Epson NX430 printer, it takes about 5 minutes ti print a 2 page Wikipedia article. I have tried finding any way to reset the settings to make the printing quicker – like by taking the quality down. But there does not seem to be anything on either the iPad or the printer that allows this. Any ideas?

  9. I have not been able to get AirPrint to work with my canon mx410 a wifi printer. Air print is of little use to me. A wasted feature