iOS 4.2 features: AirPrint for iPhone, iPad goes wireless but not network

Just like AirPlay, AirPrint is a flagship feature of iOS 4.2 that initially offered more functionality than Apple finally delivered, yet despite arriving without network printing support, if you have one of the few supported HP printers it does indeed feel like the future.

AirPrint is a system-wide service available in built-in Apple apps like Safari or Photo, App Store apps like iWork's Pages, and 3rd party Apps that have enabled support. Like any new feature, more and more apps will add that support as they push updates through the store.

To use AirPrint simply tap the appropriate button -- the "arrow coming out of the square" Action Button in most cases -- and then select your AirPrint compatible printer from the list (if you haven't selected it previously). Choose how many copies you want and hit Print.

Once the print job has started you can double click the Home Button to reveal the Fast App Switcher interface and the new Print service that will pop in there. Tap it and you'll get a snapshot of what's going on with your print job, including the ability to cancel it.

Right now, the current list of supported printers is sparse:

  • HP Envy e-All-in-One series (D410a)
  • HP Photosmart Plus e-AiO (B210a)
  • HP Photosmart Premium e-AiO (C310a)
  • HP Photosmart Premium Fax e-AiO (C410a)
  • HP Photosmart e-AiO (D110)
  • HP Photosmart eStation (C510)
  • HP LaserJet Pro M1536dnf Multifunction Printer
  • HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fn Color Multifunction Printer
  • HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw Color Multifunction Printer
  • HP LaserJet Pro CP1525n Color Printer
  • HP LaserJet Pro CP1525nw Color Printer

More models from more manufacturers will no doubt be hitting the market eventually, and hopefully Apple will iron out whatever bugs or kinks were affecting AirPrint on networks and restore that feature in an upcoming software update. (If you're the adventurous sort who doesn't mind tracking down files and hacking in Command Line or Terminal, we have tips up on how to re-enable network AirPrint for both Windows and Mac.)

For more, check out our complete iOS 4.2 for iPad walkthrough and iOS 4.2 for iPhone and iPod touch walkthrough.

Have you tried AirPrint yet? If so let us know how it worked for you and what, if any, features you'd like to see Apple add to it in the future!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iOS 4.2 features: AirPrint for iPhone, iPad goes wireless but not network

23 Comments

I guess something is better than nothing. It doesn't really matter to me, because I rarely print anything and have never wanted to print something from my iPhone or iPad. Now that I've said that, watch me want to print something today.

I am printing in my house from my iPhone, my sisters iPod touch, my Mac, my sister Macs all wireless :). ITS THE FUTURE

Checkout my blog, if you've got a recent Linux distro you can pretty easily setup CUPS and Avahi to support AirPrint. It works fabulously - my only hope is that more apps start to support this functionality (Notes would be a great example of that...)

I used the same hack as Chris Oldroyd and it works great.
I can print from my iPad to the Canon MX860 that I use with my HP desktop.
The message going out that AirPrint will only work on a few HP printers is no longer vaalid.
AirPrint will work for everyone with an iPad if they want it to and to use the hack you have provided.

@Heathroi-
I also have a Lexmark printer (Prestige Pro805). The link you provided was for a .exe file. Do you have anything for OSx?
Thanks.

Printopia FTW! Not just for the simple fact of printing to paper, but also the ability to send to the cloud via Dropbox. My network Epson Workforce 600 works like a charm with the Mac and Printopia.

I agree with JNGold. I have been trialing Printopia and am thoroughly impressed. I think it is well worth the $10. I have iPhones and iPads printing effortlessly to a Xerox Phaser 8560MFP.

Omg AirPrint is here now I have to how and buy another $400 printer. On my way ring now. NOT!!! This is crazy that doesn't support wireless network printers. This iOS future is not worth anything. I can't believe that they were sitting and writing codes for something that will be used probably only by 5% of iOS users.

How much do you think HP paid Apple to make it so AirPrint only worked with their printers? I bet sales of these printers has spiked considerably.

AirPrint needs to work with networked printers, not just shared printers. Besides the obvious problem of needing to leave an attached computer running all the time, it's useless in a business environment where all the printers are networked.

If you are thinking of buying a new printer, before buying look at the cost of Ink cartages. It can be scary. About four set of black, and color, you have the price of the printer again. I have really cut down on printing, and just save everything into a doc, or photo program. Air print is a nice feature, but more printer support is needed.

Rene, I thought we were going to be able to print through our Mac on printers it was connected to. Did this change, or am I just wrong or something?

Misiu, dont be ignorant. Best Buy has one for $69 that takes $12 ink refills. The only thing natively supported right now is ePrint. Which is what the above HP printers have installed to make it work.

Got a new HP C310a (on sale at Best Buy) and configured for home wireless. Then had to enable ePrint. But the iPad just wasn't "seeing" the printer. Ended up needing to update the HP printer software (which was easy.. took about 10 minutes to download/install). Once that was the loaded, the iPad saw the printer and was able to easily print.