Everyone knows to use ⌘P on your Mac to print files. Most people don't know how to print files from an iPhone, or even that you can. Given that it's easier than ever to work on iPhones using iOS productivity apps, it's a good thing that Apple has AirPrint: a tool that enables you to print directly from your iPhone or iPad to a compatible wireless printer.
Most iOS apps support printing by default. All you need is an AirPrint-compatible printer. This article will break down how to find the printing options you need, which printers work with AirPrint, and how to print from an iPhone on non-AirPrint printers.
How AirPrint works
AirPrint works a lot like AirDrop. Whether you're transferring files or printing them, you can do so without having to download a separate app or log into something. Instead, the Share/ Print button you need can be found in most apps by default; you simply need to make sure that your iPhone and printer are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
The AirPrint button's location varies from app to app. For most Apple apps like Photos and Safari, hit the Share button (the square with an arrow pointing upwards from it) and scroll to the bottom of the options to find print.
There are a few weird exceptions like Mail, where you have to hit 'Reply' to an email to find the Print option. And for third-party apps, it will depend entirely on the developer. Regardless of the app, tapping Print will always open a Printer Options menu, where you'll tap 'Select Printer' to search for a compatible printer.
Your iPhone will automatically detect these printers so long as they're both on the same network. If you see the message 'No AirPrint Printers Found,' make sure the printer is connected to Wi-Fi, then ensure your phone is on the same network using Settings > Wi-Fi.
If, for instance, you're trying to print on a public printer at a school or copy center, you'll likely need to ask for the network credentials.
Once you're connected, choose your printing options and hit Print to get started! Your print job will be sent to a Print Center utility.
To view its progress or cancel it entirely, swipe up from the bottom of the screen – or double-tap the Home button on older phones – to see your most recent apps, including Print Center. Tap that, then tap the print summary to review or cancel it.
Apple keeps a list of the hundreds of Airprint-compatible printers available from Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Fuji, HP, Konica, Panasonic, Xerox, and most other major brands – far too many to list here. Check and see if the one you own is there, or make sure that the one you plan to buy is.
- Buying a printer? Check the best printers for Mac,
- the best portable printers to travel with your iPhone,
- or the best wireless printers.
If your printer isn't on the list – or even if it is – check and see if the manufacturer has an iOS app. Brother, Canon, HP and others have their own iOS apps that connect directly to their respective computers.
These apps will make it easy to send files directly to your printer, and may even give you more advanced printing options than AirPrint does.
Your non-AirPrint options
Most people will be covered by the steps above. For the unfortunate folks still struggling to make AirPrint work, we're here to give you some alternatives.
Again, we recommend looking for a compatible print app from the manufacturer. Many of these have an email printing option, which allows you to email attachments to a dedicated printer email and automatically have those files printed out.
Another option is to make your non-compatible printer become compatible using Printopia. This Mac app serves as a go-between from your iPhone or iPad to your printer, while still allowing you to use AirPrint controls without a separate app. You will have to pay for it, but at least it's cheaper than buying a whole new printer.
Otherwise, you can find a ton of paid printing apps on the App Store, some of which have more printers available than AirPrint does.
- Check out the best printers of 2021