We love Apple and our Macs and iPhones and iPods and iPads. Unlike Apple, which has $50-billion in the bank, most of us can’t run out and buy a new printer when Apple tells us we need a new printer for a new feature.
Apple’s AirPrint promises to print from your iPhone or iPad or iPod touch. But it’s not quite ready for prime time and requires a new printer. Is there a better way? As it turns out, there are a couple of better ways.
Apple’s Way Is Not The Highway
One of the most frequent requests I get from teachers in the school where I work as a Mac system administrator (Official Help Gopher) is how to print from iPhone to Mac or PC.
Apple’s way is to use AirPrint, built-in to iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
It’s wireless printing from iDevice to your printer.
Of course, you have to have one of the latest HP wireless printers to make it all happen. Thankfully, Apple gives us a nice list. Unfortunately, our school doesn’t have any of those printers. Yet. So, is there a better way to print from iPhone to a printer?
FingerPrint Prints Now
Assuming you haven’t rushed out to get one of HP’s new ePrinters because you already have a printer or two and they work just fine, then try FingerPrint instead. It’s less expensive than a new printer, and it works with your Mac and the printers you already have.
FingerPrint is a nifty utility that enables printers to work with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch. It uses Apple’s Bonjour technology to find the shared printers on your network. Open up FingerPrint, select the printers you want to AirPrint enable, and you’re good to go.
Then, open up a printing app in your iDevice, select the printer or destination you want, and print away.
Not all iDevice apps are printer capable yet, but many are.
FingerPrint gives you a number of additional options. Simply touch the printer of choice and your iDevice will send the print job to be printed, through your Mac to the printer.
Other options include Send to Mac, where the print job is stored as a file on your Mac.
Or, Send to Dropbox, where the print job is stored as a file on your local Dropbox folder and synced up with Dropbox online.
FingerPrint is inexpensive and ultra easy to install, and, so far, works with most (but not all) printers connected to our Macs. In function, features, and usability, FingerPrint is nearly identical to the more popular Printopia.
More Than AirPrint
The whole idea of AirPrint technology in Apple’s iDevices is to be able to print wirelessly. Unfortunately, that requires a new breed of printers, unless you use an app like FingerPrint or Printopia.