As Apple keeps enhancing iPads with M1 chip, 5G, improved ports, and great productivity features, more and more people decide to lighten their backpacks by replacing Macs with iPads. Or maybe you use an iPad as an extension of your workspace.
One way or another, you might need to learn how to print from iPad. There are two major ways to go about this. The easiest is to print with an AirPrint printer, using Apple's native printing technology. But if your printer doesn't support AirPrint, worry not, we'll explain how to print from iPad without AirPrint. We also answer the questions such as "what is an AirPrint printer," "why it's better to choose an AirPrint printer," and "what should you do if your iPad doesn't connect to printer."
How to add printer to iPad
The process of pairing your iPad with a printer is pretty straightforward. If you have an AirPrint printer, you basically just need to connect both your iPad and printer to the same Wi-Fi network. With non-AirPrint printers, it's a bit more complicated — you'll have to download some third-party software and use your Mac to print from iPad.
So the first step is to check if your printer supports AirPrint. The good news is most modern printers are equipped with this technology, but there might be exceptions (check the list of AirPrint printer models here)
Here's how to add printer to iPad if your printer is AirPrint-enabled:
- Check if your iPad is running the latest iPadOS: go to Settings > General > Software Update
- Install software update if there's one pending
- Connect your printer to Wi-Fi (the instructions differ according to your printer model, but it's usually a simple process)
- Connect iPad to the same network your printer is connected to: go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Toggle the green button to turn on Wi-Fi > Choose the network.
You might need to wait a few minutes before your printer connects to the network, and then you're ready to print from iPad.
If you're wondering how to connect iPad to printer without AirPrint, one of the ways could be to install an app from your printer manufacturer and follow the instructions it provides. Canon, Lexmark, HP, and other popular printer makers offer such apps.
Alternatively, you can download an app called PrintCentral on your iPad and WePrint on your Mac, connect iPad to Mac, and then use these helper apps to establish a connection between your iPad and printer. Honestly, it's easier to move files to Mac and print them from there, though. We talk about this method below.
How to print with AirPrint
AirPrint is a unique technology that enables you to print from any Apple device, without installing extra software (drivers). You can print high-quality photos, PDFs, and all kinds of files without any complications, relying on a super simple iPad printer setup. Here's how it works:
- With both your iPad and printer connected to the same Wi-Fi network, locate the file you want to print on iPad
- Tap the Share button (you might need to tap your screen or take a screenshot for the Share button to appear)
- Swipe down and choose Print
- Select your printer and tap Print in the top-right corner.
How to print from iPad without AirPrint
Can you print from an iPad without AirPrint? Sure. We recommend installing an app from your printer manufacturer and following its instructions on how to set up the printing process. If there's no dedicated printing software for your printer model, you can try apps such as PrintCentral, Printopia, or Printer Pro by Readdle.
Why is my iPad not finding my printer?
If you follow the instructions above but something seems to be off — your iPad doesn't connect to your printer — there are a few possible explanations. First of all, make sure you know what AirPrint is and whether your printer supports this technology. Second, check your network connection. Lastly, consider a workaround — move your files to Mac and print from there.
AnyTrans for iOS is a superb tool for moving, copying, and syncing files across Apple devices. After you connect your iPad to Mac with a cable, you can then dive into your iPad contents on Mac, pick the file you want to print, and send it to a printer.
Printing from Mac has many extra perks. For example, you can make use of some great desktop publishing tools such as Swift Publisher. It can help you tweak the layout of the file you want to print. Even turn your file into a brochure, flyer, business card, etc. Check out its 500+ ready-to-use templates for all your printing needs and projects.
Print from iPad or Mac with a combo of tools
Swift Publisher and AnyTrans for iOS are part of the larger Setapp toolkit, a productivity platform where you'll find hundreds of solutions to your daily tasks on Mac and iPhone. It's free for 7 days, then $9.99 per month.
Other than that, if you have an AirPrint printer, you're pretty lucky and can print images and docs directly from your iPad, simply by connecting to the same Wi-Fi network.