Thursday, February 25, 2016

Printing from iOS

    iOS is a tricky beast. It shows you just enough to entice you, then slaps you in the face with its built-in limitations. Printing should be a fairly simple task, and for the most part it is, if you follow the correct steps.

    You probably (without even realizing it) went the easy route and chose a printer that is AirPrint compatible. There are actually a lot of these on the official list. Just about any home printer you buy from either Brother or Canon will do, sort of. Getting the printer is the easy part.

    After doing my do diligence I decided on the Canon MG6620 Printer. Not a spectacular printer, or fast, but the ink lasts an amazingly long time and it does print double sided. So I hooked it up and got the iMac and MacBook Pro working easy as pie. Even connecting the printer to the wireless network was easy.

    Then I tried to print from an iPhone. "No printer found" was the message I got. I tried a second iPhone. "No printer found". Then I thought, I just got a new iPad Pro and surely this will work. "No printer found". I was getting very frustrated.

    As it turns out, you need an app. Both Brother and Canon make their printer apps available for free in the App Store, but it would have been nice knowing I needed them.

    Setting up the app was easy enough. Once connected to the printer you can close the app and, as far as I can tell anyway, you never need to re-open it. All of your apps that print, such Pages or Microsoft Word, print just fine without needing to open the Canon Printer App.

    Wile a bit annoying, the apps themselves are very small and I can put them away in folder and forget about them until I need to do something else with it. I do, however, need to leave the app installed in order to print.

    This is not a big deal while I am at home, but if I am at a friends house, or somewhere else while out-and-about I may have to find an appropriate app for whatever printer is available. I have come to think of these apps as iOS printer drivers. Since not everyone who uses iOS needs to print from it, I will just assume that Apple left that part out to save space since they still sell (and I have no idea why) a 16GB phone.

    That's all there really is to it. So go ahead and buy the home printer you want, just make sure it is both AirPrint compatible and the manufacturer has an app for it.