Thursday, February 23, 2012


When Apple first announced that a new capability called AirPrint would be included in iOS 4.2, it sounded like a simple, thorough solution to most iPad printing problems. With AirPrint, an iOS developer could easily add a Print command to an app, letting users print wirelessly to either an HP printer that supports ePrint technology (see the sidebar About HP ePrint, ahead) or to any printer shared by a Mac, AirPort base station, or Time Capsule on a local network. iPad users wouldn’t need to install drivers or do any configuration, but merely select the printer they wanted to use.

When AirPrint finally appeared, however, it didn’t come close to its promise. AirPrint required changes not only to iOS but also to Mac OS X, with a minimum system requirement of Mac OS X 10.6.5 Snow Leopard. That’s fair enough, but for reasons Apple never revealed, the company pulled support for AirPrint from Mac OS X 10.6.5 at the last minute. As a result, AirPrint officially supports only a handful of HP printers that include ePrint capabilities. I’m sure that’ll help sales of new HP printers, but it doesn’t make life any easier for everyone who already has a perfectly functional printer and just wants to print from an iPad (or other iOS device).

Fortunately, developers found easy workarounds to the problem (read Enable AirPrint Support for Shared Printers, next), and almost immediately began shipping software that restored the promised-butmissing support for shared printers to AirPrint. So you can, in fact, print from your iPad to almost any printer you can print to from a Mac or PC, as long as you’ve installed a small, inexpensive application on one of your computers first.

However, even though this arrangement solves a lot of printing problems, it still has a few gaps:

• Developers must explicitly add AirPrint support to their apps. Many have done so, but many others have not, and if you want to print from those apps, you need to use a different approach.

• AirPrint works over a local network, but provides no way to print to a remote printer. (HP printers with ePrint do offer this capability, but not via AirPrint; see the sidebar About HP ePrint, ahead.)

• Although most printers can work with AirPrint, not all do.

• Even with supported printers, AirPrint doesn’t give you access to all your printer’s features.

• Mac OS X has a “print-to-PDF” feature whereby you can create a PDF file rather than sending it to a printer, but AirPrint doesn’t offer this capability.

So, if your iPad printing needs go beyond what AirPrint can handle, even with one of the third-party applications that extend support to shared printers, you may need to use more elaborate means to achieve your desired results, as I discuss later in this chapter, in Use a Third-Party Printing App and Print On a Computer.

HP maintains a PDF document with a list of all iOS apps that claim AirPrint support: (If this link won’t load properly, try copying it and pasting it into your Web browser’s URL field.)

Source of Information : TidBITS-Take Control of Working with Your iPad 2011

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