AirPrint is Apple’s modern wireless technology that enables iOS devices (like the iPhone and iPad) to beam documents directly to a wireless printer. AirPrint is very friendly compared to other wireless printing options, but AirPrint only works if you have an AirPrint printer.

You can save money by hooking up an old printer to AirPrint. There are different ways to make your printer work with AirPrint. This feature looks into options to setup a printer to work with AirPrint, so you can print documents straight from an iPhone or iPad.

In this AirPrint feature we’ll look at the following options:

  • Turning a printer into an AirPrint printer with HandyPrint.
  • Using an AirPort Extreme base station to add AirPrint to any printer.
  • Using an AirPrint alternative like Google Cloud Print.

Read: How to set-up a printer so you can print over WiFi

Install an app like HandyPrint

if your printer is attached to a Mac computer, then you can install an app like HandyPrint which fakes an AirPort connection.

The latest version is HandyPrint 5.1.0, which works with Mac OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, Mac OS X Mavericks and OS X Yosemite. HandyPrint enables you to print from an iPod, iPad and iPhones on printers that do not support AirPrint.

Setup HandyPrint to turn old printer into AirPrint model

HandyPrint works like any other Mac app: you copy it to the Applications folder and run it from there. Once you turn the application switch to On it mimics AirPrint and turns any printer that is Shared by Mac OS X (in System Preferences > Sharing > Printer Sharing) into an AirPrint printer. You do not need to install or add anything to the iOS device.


Buy an AirPort Base Station

If you want a more official option you can pick up a an AirPort Express base station. This has AirPrint technology built in, and can connect to your printer via the USB port on the back. Just plug the printer into the AirPort Express base station and that printer becomes an AirPort printer. This enables a non-AirPrint printer to connect to join your Wi-Fi network, and print directly from a Mac.

The AirPrint Express, on its own, only enables you to print wirelessly from other Macs on your network. If you want to also print from a iOS device you will need to install the HandyPrint app (above) on a Mac. This will then bridge to the AirPrint printer attached to the AirPort Express.  

Note that if you have an AirPrint printer you should not connect it to the USB port of an AirPort Express. Instead you should connect it directly to your Wi-Fi. 

You can pick up an AirPort Express from the Apple Store for £79. Or opt for the more expensive AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule (both of which also include AirPrint technology).

See also:

AirPort Express base station connected to printer

Use Google Cloud Print instead

Apple fans should opt for an AirPrint solution if possible. It’s worth noting that Google makes a rival service called Google Cloud Print that connects the printer to the wider web. If your printer lacks AirPrint it might be armed with Google Cloud Print technology, so other options are available.

Lots of applications can print directly to Google Cloud Print and an iOS app called Print Central Pro £5.49 can be used to print directly from the iPhone to a Google Cloud Print printer. You can also print directly from Google Chrome and other apps.