Smartphones and tablets aren’t just toys anymore. Yes, they can be plenty distracting, but they can facilitate some serious productivity when it’s time to get to work. Mobile printing is one of the most useful functions you can accomplish with a smartphone or a tablet. Keep reading to find out how to print from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
Printing via a Wireless Network
The simplest method of printing from an Android or iPhone/iPad is connecting your device to your home or work network. Android smartphones and tablets running 4.4 or higher will have wireless printing functionality built in, so it’s just a matter of downloading the app that corresponds to your printer. Most printer manufacturers have free apps on Google Play that enable you to wirelessly transmit print jobs. To find the right application, check your printer’s user guide.
If your Android smartphone or tablet runs anything older than 4.4, you can still print wirelessly – you’ll need to go through a service like Google Cloud Print, which sends print jobs to your printer-connected home computer. To use Google Cloud Print, Google Chrome must be on your home computer and you have to log into your Google account. Additionally, your home computer and printer must be connected and turned on at all times.
Printing from an iPhone or iPad normally requires an AirPrint-compatible printer. When the printer and iOS device are connected to the same network, printing is as easy as tapping Print and picking the appropriate printer. If you own an older printer that isn’t AirPrint compatible, or a non-Apple printer, you can still print from your iPad or iPhone. You’ll just need to download the appropriate manufacturer app on your iOS device to deliver the print job in the same manner as described above.
If a manufacturer app isn’t available for your iPhone or iPad, you can pay for a third-party app like PrintCentral, or use Google Cloud Print.
Read up on Google Cloud Print and check out the various devices that it supports here.
Printing from Far Away
Even if you’re nowhere near your home network, you can still remotely deliver print jobs so they’ll be ready later. All you need is a signal and the right app. As we already mentioned, Google Cloud Print works with Android and iOS devices, so it can be used to forward print jobs to your home or office printer. With Google Cloud Print, you can also save documents or web pages to Google Drive in PDF format. This lets you stockpile documents that you can mass print from your desktop computer when you return to your desk.
If you’re not down with Google, you have another option. Dropbox supports the ability to send print jobs to your printer from any mobile phone—Android, Apple, Blackberry, and more. It also lets you print anything: documents, presentations, photos, emails, etc. There’s no need to download any software, and it’ll even work with an old-school wired printer.
Evernote supports printing documents from iOS mobile devices, but at present time offers no such support for Android.
Many brand-name printers can accept remote print jobs through a number of ways. In addition to offering free apps, some can be rigged to automatically print items that are emailed to a specific email address. There’s some configuration required, but the end result is the ability to fire off an email and have the printed document waiting in your feed tray.
Keep in mind that any document you send to your printer via a wireless connection has the capacity to be intercepted and read. Always ensure that your printer is encrypted and has other state of the art security measures to keep your personal information safe.