You may use your smartphone or tablet for just about everything — from tracking billable hours to attending meetings — these days, but chances are you still rely on your laptop or desktop to print documents.
But you don’t have to. Here’s how to print directly from your mobile device to most printers.
All of the major printer manufacturers now offer free apps that allow for easy, reliable printing from mobile devices on their compatible printers. The software, available for various platforms, includes: Brother iPrint&Scan, Canon Easy-PhotoPrint, Epson Connect, HP ePrint, Lexmark Mobile Printing, Samsung Mobile Print, and Xerox PrintBack.
Choose the app that matches your mobile device’s OS and the manufacturer of your printer. Along with the capability of printing from a mobile device, some apps pack extra features, such as scanning or uploading to cloud-based services. As long as your printer is on the company’s list of compatible models, setup is simple: Each app comes with configuration instructions.
Would you rather go with a third-party solution? Here are our top three picks.
Apple AirPrint — If your printer is AirPrint-enabled and you use an iOS device, you’re probably good to go right now. Provided that your mobile device and printer are on the same network, you can print from any iOS app that allows for printing: Mail, Photos, Safari, iBooks, and more. If you cannot print and you have an AirPrint-enabled printer, read the Setup and Troubleshooting instructions on Apple’s website.
Google Cloud Print — Even if your printer isn’t listed as one that’s compatible with mobile printing on the manufacturer’s website, Google may have a solution to allow you print over the web from your PC, Mac, or mobile device. According to its website, you can, “print anywhere, from any device.” The platform allows you to connect your printer to the web and to print from a web-connected device.
Setting up the service is more complicated than AirPrint and requires that you use Google Chrome on your PC or mac or Chrome for Mobile on your mobile device. You will also need a free Google account. But Google provides detailed instructions on how to set up Google Cloud Print. For more information, visit its help section.
PrintJinni — If none of the above options work, try downloading PrintJinni. This highly rated app is available for Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices and allows you to print to compatible printers made by most major manufacturers. After your 30-day free trial ends, you have to purchase one of the app’s subscription packs.
Other apps are available at the various app stores, but read the user feedback before committing: According to users, many don’t work effectively. Before purchasing any printer app, try the free options available from your printer’s manufacturer (see above). You’re likely to find all of the features you need without spending a dime.