Printing from iPad apps can be a little confusing: There are a number of wireless solutions out there, but they don’t all offer the same compatibility, and updates to both printers and iOS are busy changing the game. The good news is that it is now easier to print from an iPad than ever before. Here the options you have when it comes to taking those photos, documents, PDFs and pages on your iPad and printing them to your wireless printer.
Apps for Printing From iPad
One of the simplest ways to print from your iPad (or any tablet device, really) is to make use of the printing capabilities of your printer. Most printers have wireless capabilities, and a lot of brands have augmented those capabilities with apps available on mobile devices. Pick a common brand like Samsung, HP or Kodak (which still has a number of printers in use, despite the fact Kodak doesn’t make printers anymore) and they will probably have an app that you can download, particularly for common operating systems like Android and iOS.
These apps allow you to quickly print materials from your tablet. Which materials they let you print varies based on the app. Some may only let you print image documents like PDFs. Some may play nice with other apps like EverNote or photo software. Some work with webpages, and some don’t. In other words, take a look at what your printer company offers to see if it will work for you. Because this is a printer app, it is one of the most reliable options for printing from iPad devices.
AirPrint is another dependable printing option, because it uses the iPad’s own software. AirPrint is relatively new iOS feature, so as long as you have a recent version of iOS downloaded on your iPad, you should be able to use it. Its primary function is to help with all sorts of wireless printing tasks: Evernote, the iWork suite, Instapaper, Google Maps…you name, you can pretty much print it using AirPrint.
The only trick is that your printer has to support AirPrint to work. Apple has a long, long list of supported printers and your chances are good of having a printer that plays nice with Airprint, but this step is required. Fortunately, it’s the only step. If both iOS and your printer have Airprint capabilities, they’ll take care of all the set-up details themselves and the print option should simply show up.
If printer apps and AirPrint are both out of the question for you, do not fear – printing from iPad devices is still possible. You just need an alternative app to make it work. There are a number of these floating around the market, and they all function in different ways. One of the more well-established versions is Presto, a Collobos software product that acts like a proxy server, basically tapping into AirPrint capabilities and creating a workaround so you can still print from an iPad.
The problem is that Presto is great for businesses but too expensive for the average home. For more residential options, consider options like Brother iPrint&Scan, Epson Connect, Print n Share, or PrinterShare, which all offer various workarounds of their own to enable iPad printing. This won’t be as easy as using something like AirPrint directly, but they will get the job done.
No Wireless Printer?
Note that we’ve been assuming you have a printer with wireless capabilities. If your printer cannot connect to a wireless network, your choices are much more limited. An iPad cannot connect directly to the average printer on the market. It can, however, connect to your desktop computer. So in this case you can hook up your iPad to your computer, which allows you to exchange and print files that way. If it is easier, you can simply email files to yourself and print them out via your desktop without the need for any cables.
Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center