Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How To Print From Your Iphone or IPad To Favorite Printer?

When the Iphone first arrived, IOS was very basic and Apple didn't make any provision for printing. I guess they thought no one would want to print from such a small device. Users gradually started clamoring for a better method than emailing a document to themselves, and printing it from a Mac or PC. When the Ipad arrived printing became a necessity. Printer manufactures started responding with Apps and hardware capable of excepting a print queue from an IOS device. The latest versions of IOS support printing from most Apps, via the Sharing Extension - the little icon with the square and arrow. So, let's take a look at a few different ways that you can get that Ipad or IPhone to give you a nice clean hard copy.

  1. Buy a wireless printer that supports AirPrint - Apple's IOS printing protocol. All IOS versions, greater than 4.2 support AirPrint. In addition, most modern printers, from the major manufactures, support it, as well. Keep in mind that your Iphone or IPad needs to be on the same LAN (local area network) as the printer. The printer can be connected via cable (Ethernet), or via WIFI.
  2. Suppose you have an excellent printer that you have used for many years and you like it. But, it doesn't support AirPrint. You don't want to buy a new printer. What should you do? Luckily, you have two good options.

  • You can Install and run a printer server (software) on your Mac or Windows PC. Any printer connected to the computer will be available to the Ipad or IPhone for printing. Once again, this assumes that the computer (Mac or Windows) is connected to the local network. In this scenario, the printer can even be connected via USB, to the computer. There are some disadvantages. The computer needs to be powered on, and running whenever you print, and you will have to install and maintain the print server software. This works out fine for some users because they leave their desktop computer on. Or perhaps they have some type Server - like a media server, that runs 24/7. There are several excellent software solutions. On the Windows platform - O'Print and Presto (formerly called Fingerprint 2) work well. On Mac - check out Printopia.
  • Instead of using a software based print server you can pick up a hardware device. In my opinion, this is the best solution for those that want to use their older, existing printers. I like the XPrintServer by Lantronix. It is easy to setup, simple to use and it works great with almost any printer. Just attach it to your Network and it does the rest. The home unit supports 8 - USB printers and up to 2 network printers. It retails for around $100, but you can often find one for $75. You might be thinking that it would be cheaper to buy a new printer. Yes, new ink jet printers are cheap, but the cost of ink refills, is not. Many users have an old workhorse, like a HP Laserjet printer, that is very inexpensive (per page) to operate. From this viewpoint, a $75 XPrintServer may be a bargain.