Best Photo Printers for iPhone iMore 2021
We snap a bunch of photos with our iPhones every day. Sometimes, we actually want to print those memories out on, you know, paper. 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. We think the Kodak Step is one of the best photo printers for iPhone for most people. Read on to find out why.
- Best overall: The Kodak Step
- Best colors: The Fujifilm Instax SHARE SP-3
- Best for all ages: The Kodak Smile
- Best size: The HP Sprocket
- Best for large prints: The Kodak Dock
- Best innovation: The Lifeprint portable photo and video printer
Best overall: Kodak Step
The best photo printer for your iPhone is the Kodak Step, a miniaturized model that fits in your pocket. Available in white or black, the Kodak Step is compatible with iPhones, iPads, Android devices, NFC, and Bluetooth devices.
The Kodak Step uses Zink, a zero-ink technology that does away with expensive ink cartridges and toners. Colors come out bright and warm, printing on glossy 2x3 paper. With the Step, there's no need for a computer connection or wires. Connections are made simply and securely over Bluetooth, moving your images from your iPhone to the printer in seconds.
My one complaint is that the Step uses Kodak color profiles, which have always run a bit warm. They won't reproduce your iPhone's colors perfectly without editing. Thankfully, there's a full editing suite of software included to do just that. If you want the best photo printer for iPhone, go with the affordable Kodak Step.
- Uses Zink zero ink technology
- Photo edits are easy to make
- Works with iPhones and iPads
- Colors run warm
Best colors: Fujifilm Instax SHARE SP-3
Your iPhone photos will love Fujifilm colors. The Fujifilm Instax SHARE SP-3 is a perfectly portable size, so you can print out memories wherever you happen to be. It uses INSTAX SQUARE instant film, printing pictures in the classic 2.4 x 2.4-inches size.
Like all things Fujifilm, colors, and sharpness are enhanced. If you want to take that a step further, you can. Filters are built-in, allowing you to adjust brightness, contrast, and sharpening. You can even transform color photos into beautiful black and white or sepia. Photo output is superb and on par with some of the best full-size photo printers today.
The Instax SHARE SP-3 has its own Wi-Fi network. It instantly connects to your iPhone or iPad, doesn't need Bluetooth, or require you're near home Wi-Fi. How cool is that? My only beef is that the free iPhone app is finicky. If you have an older iPhone, it tends to lock up periodically. For most, this is one of the best photo printers for iPhones.
- Prints beautiful photos
- Has an internal Wi-Fi network
- Photo edits are easy to make
- Works with iPhones and iPads
- Finicky app
Best for all ages: Kodak Smile
Some portable printers come with a manual a mile long, and they're still confusing to use. The Kodak Smile Instant Digital Bluetooth Printer is different. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned photographer, you can snap pics on your phone and transfer them over to the Kodak Smile with the free Kodak app and print anything in seconds.
The Kodak Smile outputs shiny, bright pics on 2x3 Zink paper. Photos are editable in the Smile app. You can adjust color, lighting, crop pics, and apply fun effects before printing or posting to social media. The only possible miss here is that photos have an antiquated look. This is intentional but may not be for all.
The Kodak Smile is a mini printer that's simple and fun to use. It charges in less than two hours and prints up to 40 pictures per charge. Get it now in white, blue, black, red, or green.
- Easy to use
- Edit photos in the app
- Available in four colors
- Connects via Bluetooth
- Photo colors not for all
Best size: HP Sprocket
Some portable printers are so small they skimp out on important features like ergonomics. Others are so big they're not portable at all. The HP Sprocket hits the sweet spot, and is a superb companion for your iPhone or iPad.
A big plus to the HP Sprocket for having a free app that allows for shareable photo albums! You can also personalize prints using HP's free software. Once printed out, you can use photos to decorate walls, lockers, photo albums, and more. The 2x3-inch glossy paper is sticker-backed, so you can show off your prints anywhere you want.
One word of caution: the battery life is lacking. You'll be able to print for an hour or so, but after that, it'll need a recharge. If that doesn't worry you, the HP Sprocket is a doozy of a compact printer that will satisfy your needs.
- Small and compact
- Nice color rendition
- Albums are shareable
- High-quality prints on sticky-backed ZINK paper
- Editing software included
- Battery life is lacking
Best for large prints: Kodak Dock
Many 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 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 it'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 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 with 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 3x4.5 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 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, but the added AR element spices things up from the norm.
- Small and compact size
- Big, beautiful prints
- Unique AR element
- Connects via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Uses ZINK technology
- Definitely "gimmicky"
There are many mobile printers on the market, but none measure up to the Kodak Step. This pintsize printer is small in size and price and delivers good results if you want instant camera-looking photos or you're willing to take the time to edit pictures.
Kodak colors print out on the warm side when not edited. We found the Kodak suite of photography apps helpful with correcting this, allowing you to choose color profiles and settings more to your liking.
The Kodak Step works over Bluetooth, making it compatible with all your iOS devices, Android phones, and tablets, plus NFC and Bluetooth portables. If you want the best of the best, go with the Kodak Step. It's portable, easy enough for anyone in the family to use, and comes with a price tag that won't shock your wallet.
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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