Apple built a really cool feature (for owners of AirPrint printers) into the newest version of their iOS mobile operating system, which helps those with Bluetooth printers. You now have the ability to print directly to an AirPrint printer from an iPhone or iPod Touch. All you need is a printer that is compatible with Apple’s AirPrint.
But not everyone has an AirPrint-compatible printer. How can they print images and documents from their Apple mobile devices? This is where the Bluetooth printer solution comes into play. You need an app called Printer Pro.
Bluetooth Printer: What is Printer Pro?
Printer Pro is available as a Lite (free) version and a paid ($5.00) full version, with both being available through iTunes. The makers of the app and Apple recommend that the Lite version be downloaded first to make sure your printer is compatible with the app — not all are.
Using the application, you can print web pages from within the browser, email attachments, and documents on your mobile device. The application can connect directly to printers that are Bluetooth-enabled, or they can connect through the home or office network.
Those printers that are Wi-Fi-enabled can be directly connected to through the Wi-Fi. Additionally, there is a desktop helper application that supports more document formats and gives increased printing functionality.
Installing and Configuring the App
I’m going to guess that you’re already pretty hip on downloading and installing apps to your iOS device, so I’m going to skip that whole part, other than: choose the Lite version first to make sure your printer is supported.
The first part of the installation and configuration asks you whether you wish to sign up for email alerts for promotions and software upgrades. Follow these steps to complete the installation and configuration process for this Bluetooth printer solution:
1. Tap the “Add Printer” button at the lower left.
2. This gives you two options to add a printer: Automatically if it’s detected by the app, or manually (you’ll need the IP address of the computer the printer is attached to or the printer).
3. If your printer shows up as a selection, choose it. If not, you will have to manually input the IP address and maybe the printer name (By clicking the “Add manually” button at the lower left).
4. Make sure your printer isn’t currently printing anything and print a test page to check functionality and connection.
5. Exam the test page thoroughly. If it looks like it came out OK, click the “Looks Good” button. Follow the diagnostic steps, if you have to click either of the other buttons.
6. Closely examine the calibration markings that were printed. If any of these marking were cropped, locate the closest ones that weren’t cropped and select them in the “The Markers” dialog window.
7. Once this step is completed and the page is printing properly, click the “Start printing” button at the bottom of the page to begin using the app.
How to Use It
In most apps running under iOS, printing a document or image is simply a matter of selecting the print option and the correct printer. If you’re browsing the web in Safari and find a page you want to print, simply change the “http” in the address bar to “phttp” and tap the “GO” button.
Printer Pro will open and immediately present you with a print button. Whole pages, PDF documents, and text-based pages can easily be printed using this method.
Printer Pro also works within the cloud as well, allowing you to print from Dropbox and Google Drive. For this functionality, simply download the file you wish to print, using either the Google Drive app or the Dropbox app. Once the file is downloaded, simply send it to the printer using the Printer Pro app. The app supports the printing of several file formats, including:
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Txt files
- PDF files
- Safari webarchive
Printer Pro Desktop
This is all great, but what about those of us whose Bluetooth printers aren’t supported by the iOS app? Never fear, there is Printer Pro Desktop. This is a PC or Mac helper application that connects to the Printer Pro iOS app on the mobile device and gives the mobile device full access to any printer the desktop is able to print to, using the full features of the printer driver on the computer.
Photo Credit: Auxo