Printing from an iPhone
Paper is passé and printouts are old hat, but sometimes you just have to have a hard copy of something. You can view websites and read books on your iPhone – particularly on the huge screen of the iPhone 6S Plus – and you can share all kinds of files with colleagues and friends; but if you're delivering a presentation, for example, you might also want to hand out notes on paper, or you might want to print out a poster to put on the wall.
The simple solution is a built-in feature called AirPrint, which enables you to print directly from your iPhone or other iOS device to a compatible wireless printer.
Except for the very cheapest models, a wide range of home printers are AirPrint-compatible, where you can also read more about how it all works. AirPrint is built into iOS, so you don't need any extra software or apps in order to print, though some printer manufacturers also have free iOS apps that you can use to select advanced printer settings from your iPhone or iPad.
To use AirPrint, you simply set up your printer on the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and use the Print option available in iOS apps, including Photos, Safari, Mail and most third-party apps you install.
Your iPhone or iPad will automatically detect the printer on your network and connect to it in order to print. What's more, multi-page documents are printed with the last page delivered first, so the final stack of paper is in the right order for you to pick up and take away.
Not AirPrint compatible?
Even if your printer isn't AirPrint-compatible, there's a handy solution: install an app called Print n Share (£4.99 / $6.99). This will enable you to use any printer attached to your Mac or PC.
You'll need to install a free helper utility called WePrint on a Mac or PC, which then enables your iOS device to relay to any printer that's connected to the computer via USB or Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi.
You can even print remotely via 3G/4G, so your document is ready and waiting for you to pick up on your printer when you get home.
Printing from some apps isn't as straightforward with Print n Share as it is with AirPrint: from Pages, for example, you first need to use Open With to send the file you want to print to Print n Share. Once it's set up, though, Print n Share offers other useful features, including the ability to zip and unzip files and support for cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
At the price, it's worth adding to your armoury as an adjunct to AirPrint!
1. Set things up
Your iOS device and AirPrint printer need to be connected to the same wireless network. On your iPhone, check your network details under Settings > Wi-Fi. If you want to switch to another network, tap Wi-Fi and select the other network from the list that appears.
2. Check printer setup
An easy way to check your printer's setup is to open a document on your computer and press Command+P (Ctrl+P on PC) for the Print menu.
If the printer is connected to the same network, it will be listed under Printers. Click the Wi-Fi icon on the computer to see the network name.
3. Print an email
For the Print option in the Mail app, oddly, you need to tap the Reply button. Tap Print and a Printer Options menu should appear, with your printer listed next to the word Printer.
Tap + if you want more than one copy, then tap Print to send the document to your printer.
4. Print a photo
In most apps, Print appears among the Share options. To print a photo from the Photos app, for example, tap the photo you want to print, then the Share button (a square icon with an arrow pointing out of it).
Two rows of sharing options will appear in the panel that pops open.
5. Print multiple photos
Swipe to the left on the lower row to find the Print option. Tap any additional photos you also want to print. A blue tick appears on each selected shot; to deselect one, just tap it again.
When you're ready, tap Print. Then, in the Printer Options menu, tap Print again.
6. Print from Safari
Printing from Safari works in the same way. First, however, check if the web page can be printed in Reader View (plain text). A threebar symbol at the top of the web page shows that it supports this mode.
Tap this to make the page text-only, then tap Share > Print as before.
7. Check print progress
To check on a print job, double-tap the Home button to go to Multitasking View. Swipe left until you see a new pane next to the Home Page: Print Centre. This appears only when you are printing, and if it's not there, then printing has already finished.
8. Cancel printing
If Print Centre is available, you can tap it to view how many pages remain to be printed. If several items were sent to print, they're listed in the order in which they'll print. Tap an item to see its individual status and, if it is still pending, to cancel printing that item, if need be.
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