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Printing From iOS Without An AirPrint Printer

Some people may class printing an archaic process. Others, like myself rely on it everyday for a multitude of reasons.

Apple introduced AirPrint to iOS, with the release of version 4.2, in late November 2010. The basic concept is to allow you to print from your iOS device, directly to your printer, wirelessly.

Immediately following the announcement HP had a series of AirPrint compatible printers available. They differed from the previous network compatible printers in HP’s lineup by the simple fact that Apple chose to undertake the printing process via a custom method, rather than running with the industry standard at the time.

Over the next couple of years, all the major printer manufacturers would release printers compatible with AirPrint.

To see the complete list of supported printers, please view Apple’s AirPrint 101 support article HT4356. If you would like a printer that we don’t stock, simply ask the team at Mac-Fusion to order it in for you.

Do I Need To Buy An AirPrint Compatible Printer? 

No! Developers have managed to write applications that allow you to use your Mac or PC as a AirPrint compatible print server. Printer compatibility isn’t a major concern as the general rule of thumb states that if you can print from your computer, then adding either Printopia or FingerPrint to your computer will make it AirPrint compatible.

The only downside of using applications, such as Printopia and FingerPrint, is you need to leave your Mac or PC running in order for the print functionality to work. Whereas, AirPrint compatible printers can be used without a computer.

Printopia

For the Mac, we recommend Printopia 2 from Ecamm. Their application is well respected in the Mac community and has earned five mice from Macworld magazine.

The application is available directly from Ecamm’s website and priced at $19.95. The price includes free upgrades and customer support. Printopia is compatible with Leopard (OS X 10.5), running on both Intel and PowerPC Macs.

Once the download has installed, and you have run the easy setup process, you will need to proceed to System Preferences > Printopia. Upon launching, the following options will be presented:

Within this window you have the ability to turn the functionality on or off, check for updates, and select certain printers, and services, to work with the application.

If you have more than one printer connected to your Mac, it will show up in the printers window. There is no limit on how many connected printers the application can have assigned which makes it perfect for office environments.

At anytime, you can double click on a printer from the list and edit custom settings such as paper size and quality. These settings will not overwrite the default options for the printer when using your Mac, but they will determine the default options when printing from iOS.

Printopia also offers the ability to send prints directly to the Mac, iPhoto, Evernote, and Dropbox. These options will simply save the content as a PDF and store them in the area that suits you best. When using the print to Mac or Dropbox options, a PDF will also be opened in Preview for immediate viewing.

These additional options are a perfect solution for those of you who no longer physically print, and want run a paperless office.

FingerPrint

For Windows users we recommend FingerPrint 2 from Collobos Software. Priced at $19.95 per install, it will run on any PC with Windows XP SP3 or later.

After the initial installation, the application will be available on your Desktop or within the Program Files folder. Launching it will present the following options:

Despite the obvious design variations, the control within the application somewhat mimics that of Printopia for the Mac. You can easily customize the paper size, orientation, and color output.

Like Printopia, FingerPrint will allow you to print directly to the PC. To perform this function, you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed as Windows does not have a native PDF viewer.

How To Print From Your iOS Device

Once you have your printer installed on your Mac or PC, along with either Printopia or FingerPrint, you can then proceed with printing from your device.

Simply tap the action button that appears as an arrow facing towards the left. If we use the Mail app as our example, the popup menu will present the options of Reply, Forward, Print, and Cancel. Tap print and you will be presented with one of the following options:

Printopia On The Left, FingerPrint On The Right

If the printer is correct, simply enter the number of copies you would like and tap the Print button. Your printer will then commence the print process.

If you would like to select a different printer, or save the content as a PDF file to your computer, then tap on the printer name and you will be presented with one of the following options:

Printopia On The Left, FingerPrint On The Right

Once you have changed your selection, simply go back to the Printer Options and tap Print.

There are no customizable print options in iOS to control additional functionality such as quality or paper size. This is all handled within either Printopia or FingerPrint on your computer.

Regardless of the application you choose, you will undoubtedly be more productive on your iOS device with the ability to print directly.

If you would like more information or assistance with setting up your AirPrint compatible printers, please call us or drop into the store to discuss your specific requirements.

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Posted in iPad, iPhone, iPhone 4, iPod Touch, Mac, Peripherals
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