If you're one of the many people who use their iPad for work, you'll likely wind up wanting to print something out. Fortunately, the current iPad printing situation is a lot better than it used to be. An Apple-designed solution, AirPrint, works if you have the right printer -- but even if you don't, we've got a couple of workarounds.
The easiest way to print from any iOS device, including an iPad, is to use a printer that supports AirPrint. AirPrint is a technology that printer makers can integrate into their devices, so you don't need to install additional drivers to make your iPad "talk" to the printer.
Today, most printers come AirPrint-ready. To check if you have an AirPrint printer, or to find one to buy, check out Apple's list here. To print a document, web page, email or anything else from your iPad, do this:
- Connect your iPad and your printer to the same Wi-Fi network
- Find the document, web page or email you want to print.
- Click the share button (usually at the top or bottom of the screen) and select "Print."
- The printer name will appear. If you have more than one AirPrint printer on your network, select the desired one from the list that appears.
There are several software and cloud-based solutions if you don't have an AirPrint printer on your network. Printopia is one popular alternative. Install the software to your MacOS computer and it allows you to print over Wi-Fi ($96 at Amazon) by using your Mac as a middleman, routing the file from the iPad to the printer. The nice thing is that there's no software needed for the iPad, just install the MacOS software and select your printer to share during the setup process.
There are other programs that achieve the same thing, but this is the one we've successfully tested in our lab. It's free to try and $20 (converting roughly to £15 and AU$25) to buy.
Take it to the cloud
Google Cloud Print is a great alternative for users tied to the Google ecosystem. It allows you to print to your non-AirPrint printer by sharing via your Mac or PC. You set this free solution up using the Google Chrome browser.
- Open Google Chrome on your PC or Mac, and click on the three dots on the top right, then go to the settings menu.
- Scroll to the bottom and click "show advanced settings."
- Scroll down until you see Google Cloud Print, then click "manage." (If you are not logged in to your Google account, do so now.)
- If your printer isn't a network printer, but instead connects directly to a computer, select "Classic Printers."
- Select "Add Printers," then check off the printer(s) you want to add.
- When done click Add printer(s).
- You should get a message saying "Thanks, you're ready to go!"
Note that while this guide is primarily aimed at iPad users, these solutions will also work with other iOS devices such as the iPhone.