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FingerPrint turns any printer into an AirPrint printer

This utility, available for Windows and Mac, enables wireless printing from your iDevice. It also lets you beam photos and whatnot right to your Dropbox folder.

FingerPrint for Windows/Mac adds AirPrint capabilities to all your printers--and even some apps.
FingerPrint for Windows/Mac adds AirPrint capabilities to all your printers--and even some apps.
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Ever wish you could beam a photo from your iPhone or iPad to your printer?

That's the promise of Apple's AirPrint technology, which debuted way back in iOS 4.2. Unfortunately, few printers support AirPrint, meaning most users are stuck copying photos to their PCs and then printing them.

Screenshot by Rick Broida

A little over a year ago, I posted a workaround: Make AirPrint work with non-AirPrint-compatible printers. It works for some printers, but not all--and it's kind of a hassle to implement.

For example, I recently dug out an old HP Photosmart 475 "lunchbox" photo printer, harboring dreams of churning out snapshots right from my iPhone. Alas, my workaround didn't work. And the Photosmart 475 isn't supported by HP's ePrint app.

Then I found FingerPrint, a clever utility that turns nearly any printer connected to your PC into an AirPrint-enabled printer. It works, and it's pretty cool.

I tested the software on a Windows machine; it's also available for Mac. After a quick setup, FingerPrint found all four (yes, four) of my installed printers, along with "print-to" apps like Microsoft OneNote. There's also an option to add a Dropbox folder if you have one configured--meaning you could "print" just about anything from your iDevice to your Dropbox account. Likewise, you can "print" directly to your PC--a fast and easy way to transfer a photo.

From there I opened up my Camera Roll, tapped Print, and then selected the aforementioned Photosmart 475. Presto! In about 60 seconds, my snapshot emerged as a 4x6 glossy.

I then printed both an e-mail and an attached document to my laser printer; both came out quickly and perfectly. The ease of AirPrint printing versus using a dedicated print app can't be overstated. It rocks!

FingerPrint costs $9.99--far less than you'd pay for an AirPrint-enabled new printer. However, the developer told me that the price is soon to increase (he didn't say by how much), and that FingerPrint will evolve into multiple products with more feature sets. I'm not sure what's left to add, but the good news is that current customers will be grandfathered in to one of the new, higher pricing tiers.

Bottom line: if you want this functionality--and, trust me, you do--I'd buy FingerPrint now. There's a trial version available so you can make sure it works with your setup, but all prints will appear with a large watermark.