Best Photo Printers for iPhone iMore 2020
We snap a bunch of photos with our iPhones every day. Sometimes, we actually want to print those memories out on, you know, paper so we can stick them into an album or frame. There are plenty of photo printers out there that let us connect wirelessly with our iPhone to print photos to slap them into a photo album or just on the fridge. Still, we think the Polaroid ZIP is the best option available for most people.
- Best Overall: Polaroid ZIP
- Best Large Prints: Kodak Dock Instant Photo Printer
- Best Innovation: Lifeprint Portable Photo and Video Printer
- Best Value: Polaroid Mint Pocket Printer
Best Overall: Polaroid ZIP
When it comes to iPhone photo printers, the smaller they are, the better. The Polaroid ZIP clocks in at 0.87-by-2.91-by-4.72 inches, so it's fairly small and compact enough to carry around daily, and the rechargeable battery prints 25 photos on a single charge. It connects to your iPhone via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and all you need is the free Polaroid mobile app, where you select and edit the photos to print out, or connect it to your social media accounts. The app also lets you add fun things like stickers, filters, borders, create a mini collage, and more.
Prints from the Polaroid ZIP come out on 2x3 ZINK Zero Ink paper with sticky backs, which are the perfect size for scrapbooks, refrigerators, albums, and notebooks. Since the prints are on ZINK paper, that means there is no need for film, ink, toners, cartridges, or ribbons. Just connect, select, print! All of the printed photos come out colorful, bold, and lifelike, while also being water-resistant, tear-resistant, smudge-proof, and they dry within seconds.
- Small and compact
- Prints 25 photos on a single charge
- Connects via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- High-quality prints on sticky-backed ZINK paper
- Very affordable
- Only comes with 10 sheets of paper
- Paper refills can be expensive
- Prints only in 2x3 size
Great value and quality
Polaroid ZIP is a popular choice because it is compact, easy to use, and the ZINK prints are good quality.
Best Large Prints: Kodak Dock Instant Photo Printer
A lot of the portable photo printers only print out in the small 2x3 size, which isn't ideal if you want to frame them to display. If you want larger prints, like the standard 4x6 size, then the Kodak Dock Instant Photo Printer is a good option.
While it is not as compact and even a bit bulky, it's worth it for the 4x6 printing capability. The Dock connects directly to your iPhone via an adapter (and charges it while printing), or you can connect via USB cable or Wi-Fi. The Kodak Printer Dock app lets you put stickers, filters, card templates, and more on your photos for extra fun.
As far as prints go, the Kodak Dock uses thermal transfer technology, so there isn't ink to deal with, but you do need to get the photo cartridges. Prints will be vivid in color, and high resolution, so fine details should appear. The thermal print won't bleed or fade, so they'll last quite a while.
- Prints 4x6 size
- Simultaneous charging of multiple devices
- Connects via Dock adapter, USB cable, or Wi-Fi
- High-quality prints
- App lets you customize and edit photos before printing
- Not very compact
- Requires photo cartridges
Best Large Prints
Large prints from home
Kodak Dock can do 4x6 size prints. The Dock also charges simultaneously, and you can connect via USB or Wi-Fi.
Best Innovation: Lifeprint Portable Photo and Video Printer
Looking for a printer that can do more than just print photos? If so, then consider Lifeprint — it does some wickedly cool Harry Potter magic to your prints to make them come to life through augmented reality (AR).
The Lifeprint printer is small and compact enough for you to take anywhere and wow your friends, as long as you're connected through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your iPhone. With Lifeprint, you can print photos from your device from the Lifeprint app, or just connect it to your social media accounts and print directly from there. The app also lets you share your real photos to friends and family (as long as they have the app), so they can print your photos from wherever they are too.
Prints with Lifeprint use ZINK technology, so you don't need ink cartridges or toner. The 3x4 size Lifeprint printer also means you get larger prints than the standard 2x3 sizes of other printers, though Lifeprint also comes in a smaller size if you want.
The real fun with Lifeprint lies behind the AR technology. This works by having the app embed a video inside of your photo print, and then you can view the video as you point your device's camera at it through the Lifeprint app. Think of the moving pictures in the world of Harry Potter, because that's what this is similar to.
It's definitely different, and you shouldn't expect high-quality prints from Lifeprint, but the added AR element spices things up from the norm.
- Small and compact size
- Two sizes available (2x3 or 3x4)
- Unique AR element
- Connects via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, one-touch printing
- Uses ZINK technology
- Definitely "gimmicky"
- Not the best quality prints
Lifeprint's AR implementation lets you be more creative. It's pricey, though, and the prints aren't the best quality.
Best Value: Polariod Mint Pocket Printer
Those on a budget should check out the Polaroid Mint Pocket Printer. It is small and compact, so you can take it with you everywhere you go.
Polaroid Mint connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth, and you can download the Polaroid Mint app for all of your photo printing needs. With the app, you can choose and edit the photos you want printed, and do fun things like adding borders, filters, drawings, and more before you print them out. The prints are on 2x3 sticky-backed ZINK paper, and there are no ink or toner cartridges to worry about. Plus, it's simple to use, and the rechargeable battery lasts around 50 prints per charge.
- Super compact
- Charges fast
- Easy to use
- Decent prints
- Connects via Bluetooth
- Only prints in 2x3 size
- Starter pack only contains 10 sheets of ZINK paper
Simple and affordable
Polaroid Mint is small enough to carry every day. It's easy to use and has good quality prints on 2x3 ZINK paper.
There are plenty of great portable photo printers to work with your iPhone, but our favorite is still the Polaroid ZIP. It's not a new product, but it works very well and is a trendy pick in the market for good reason. The prints from it are high quality for the price, and it's compact enough to be carried around everywhere you go.
It also uses ZINK Zero Ink technology in the paper, so you don't need to worry about annoying ink cartridges and toner. Plus, the app lets you get creative with your photos by letting you add stickers, filters, borders, and even making collages to print out. The ZINK paper is also sticky-backed, so you can easily add it to scrapbooks or journals, or trade with friends and family.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Christine Romero-Chan is a big fan of iPhone photography and loves to go out and take pictures with her iPhone. She likes to get those pictures printed out now and then, so she knows about iPhone photo printers like the back of her hand.
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