The process of printing from an iPad has improved since the device was first released with no built-in printing functions. Several printer companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Epson, Kodak, and Brother, took it upon themselves to release apps that allow photo printing from an iOS device to specific printer models when both are connected to the same wireless network. There are also some third-party apps for printing, but they can be expensive, and many require downloading and running software on a host Mac to which a printer must be attached. Here how to use Airprint on iPad.
How To Use AirPrint on iPad
Apple has attempted to solve the printing dilemma by adding a wireless printing feature called AirPrint to the iPad operating system. With this feature, iPad users can print Web pages, e-mail messages, and photos directly to an AirPrint-enabled printer.
How to use AirPrint? an iPad must be running iOS 4.2 or later and must be connected to a wireless network. The printer must also be AirPrint compatible (See AirPrint Compatible Printers). At the time of publication, the only printers that work with AirPrint are a handful of HP printers. The app you wish to print from must also have built-in support for AirPrint. For example, Apple’s own Calendar and Contacts apps still do not feature AirPrint in the latest iOS version as of this writing (iOS 4.3.2). However, all the iWork apps have been updated to support AirPrint, as have third-party apps like Calculator HD for iPad and FeedMe News.
How to Print
Once you have connected your iPad to a wireless network, you should see a new entry titled Print when tapping the Sharing menu icon in Mail, Safari, and Photos. Third-party apps that support printing might place this command elsewhere. Tap the Print button and a Printer Options menu will appear, allowing you to select your printer and choose the number of copies to print.
If you’ve already chosen a printer, its name will appear. Otherwise, tap Select Printer, and AirPrint scans your wireless network for a compatible printer. Select the printer you want and the number of copies you need, and tap Print. From there, it just works. You can view or cancel your pending print jobs and even receive a notice when a printer is running low on ink.
A Print Center icon will appear in the iPad’s multitasking bar. Tapping the Print Center button brings up a Print Order pop-up window showing the print jobs in your queue. Tap a print job to get a job’s full summary, including the document name, the printer it is going to, the number of copies, whether it’s double-sided, print time, and status. There’s also a large red Cancel Printing button.
The Future of AirPrint
The smooth yet limited functionality of AirPrint just makes users want more—more compatible printers from different vendors, more apps with printing services, the ability to print from an iPad to a printer shared on the network by a host Mac, and more control over print quality. The ability to print in grayscale to save ink would also be welcome.
You won’t necessarily have to purchase a new printer to use the AirPrint feature. HP offers firmware updates for a number of its older models, and other companies may follow its lead, so check with your printer’s manufacturer. All in all, AirPrint is a good start to Apple’s promise of cross-platform wireless printer sharing.