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Discussion in 'AirPrint' started by eoj25karfuno, Oct 29, 2011.
What application is the best for printing from an iPad 2?
Some printers are directly compatible with AirPrint on the iPad. This includes several HP printers and a smaller selection of Canon and Epson printers. Be absolutely certain the printer supports AirPrint before buying. Some printers may require a firmware update to work. These are usually available on the manufacturers site. If you get this kind of printer you can print directly from within apps that support the feature, which is many.
iOS: AirPrint 101
Of course some of us already have printers and do not want to buy a new one. There are a couple ways to do this.
One is to use a printing app on the iPad.
Most (or all) other print apps can only print pictures and/or files that have been copied to that app via Open In or other method. Print n Share used to be able to print from AirPrint enabled apps if it was loaded the background. It lost this ability with iOS 5. It may still work with iOS 4 if you get it before the app is updated in the App Store. Several printer manufacturers have their own apps for their printers. In general those apps will probably have the best results, quality wise.
The second method is to load a program on the computer that will emulate an AirPrint compatible printer. Your computer must be on and have the printer available to it. The cheapest (free) is Airprint Activator. More features can be had with FingerPrint (mac and windows) and Printopia (mac only).
There is a third way. A few printers (mostly HP's again) can be set up with their own email address. PDF attachments can be sent via this address to be printed. The last review I saw (several months ago) said it could be quite slow (big files not recommended), and sometimes the emails got lost and never printed. The advantage was that you could literally send/print from anywhere you have an internet connection.
Why doesn't the iPad print to any wifi printer? I have a Kodak esp7 that works great with my laptop via wifi, but not the iPad. Kodak does not have an app.
I also use AirPrint, but with a PC. I downloaded and installed the AirPrint software and shared my printer with the network. The only problem is that the XP machine has to be on for printing to be available. I couldn't get the software to install on Win7.
This is how I see it. I don't claim to speak for the the companies involved or have special inside access to the industry, so it is just me mussing on things.
Every printer requires a bit of software called a print driver to operate, and each manufacturer has dozens of different ones for each model and line of printers and Operating Systems (OS) that they intend to support. Computers have a great deal more space for the operating system, and because of this they usually come loaded with a large number of print drivers from the leading manufacturers. When a new driver is needed it can be easily loaded into the OS; but the system often breaks down. One because manufactures can't be expected to test every OS variation, and two, because those that write OS's can't be expected to test every print driver.
iPads are not loaded with print drivers, nor is it practical to try and support every possible printer on a mobile device with it's limited space. More importantly each manufacturer would have had to write a print driver specifically for iOS devices for every printer or line of printers they make, making it even harder for manufacturers to keep up with various platforms. And Apple would have had to supply a way from manufacturers to distribute drivers, and for users to install them.
It would have been complex, and you know how Apple feels about complex.
In addition the whole print driver things is pretty much a mess, and (I believe) that many manufactures (including Apple) see the expanding mobile computing market as a chance to change things by creating a standard. Unfortunately, as usual, when this happens more than one standard emerges, and everything remains in confusion until something becomes popular enough to dominate the market.
There have been a few attempts to create a mobile printing standard. HP's ePrint is one. Apples AirPrint is another.
Until the industry gets behind something, printing from mobile devices is going to be a proprietary pain. You'll either have to limit yourself to a small set supported solutions, or deal with kludgy workaround.
Print n share pro iPad Printing works direct over WiFi with my kodak esp7. It supports a lot of printer models without airprint. Print n Share Pro for iPad on the iTunes App Store
The background printing feature of Print n Share is broken under iOS 5. Or so it's been reported.
BTW, this is the "pro" version. It works great with iOS5 printing emails and web pages inside the app as well as open-in for other apps. I prefer their email anyway as I can save attachments and convert emails to PDF. I did have the old print n share for quite a while and it also works fine with iOS5. With all of the other options, I never needed to bother with background printing so did not notice any change for os5.
Good to know. I've never used either app.
I find Printopia meets my needs. Besides printing, I can save the resulting PDF to a folder on the computer (including DropBox), or open it in an app. You have to have the host computer online, but that's not a problem for me.
For emails that I want to save as PDF, like receipts, I save them to a receipt folder on the computer this way. Or if I want something more flexible than a PDF, I forward them to my Evernote email address; saving both the text (in editable form) and the attachments.
There is always a different way of doing things. Thanks for sharing yours. I might need it someday.
I have a Printer that I have to use by connecting it to my Mac. I searched the App store for all three Apps you recommended and none of them showed up. I am correct in thinking thar these apps are for the Mac and not the iPad?