It should be simple, shouldn’t it, to print from the iPad? I don’t mean simple as in “I’ve bought every Apple device known to man” kind of simple, I mean out-of-the box with what you have. Or at least maybe with a little tinkering, but not too much..
I just want to print anything – easily – through my home Wi-Fi network, to my Epson Stylus printer which is currently connected to my Windows 7 laptop.
Is it possible? Is it easy? Read on to find out…
I started my testing in the wrong place – on the iPad. After installing a number of “make it print” apps (free and commercial), I realised they are content-focused. They help with printing PDFs, unusual documents, or that full-resolution TIFF format picture — but not with printing itself.
Of course, Apple provides the straightforward “AirPrint” service from compatible devices, but I don’t have one of these, and object to buying more hardware when I have a perfectly serviceable printer already.
Thankfully, help is at hand with AirPrint for Windows. You can follow the very simple download and setup instructions, starting of course with a download and install of iTunes. I installed iTunes 10.4. It’s only the Bonjour service that’s needed, but for my purposes I installed the full package.
If you prefer controlling everything about the install, you can follow the manual instructions instead. This is what I chose to do. Simply copy the files to the relevant AirPrint folder, and then install the service:
After installing the service, I was very excited to go to my iPad and print. Could I? No. The printers did appear in my view, but they were locked and unresponsive:
Trawling for Answers…
Once again, I had to go trawling off around the forums and help sites to find a solution. The time-out waiting for a response is due, it seems, to a firewall issue. The AirPrint solution for Windows connects out on ports above 50000 to talk to the iPad.
OK, ports opened, now I can print, right? Wrong. This time the printing dialogue is prompting for a password. I try various user IDs and passwords, and eventually get one accepted from my laptop, but its prompting every time I print from one of my machines.
Once again, off around the forums gleening nuggets of information. As with all of these things, the other side of the problem is often very simple – and in this case it was to simply enable the guest account on my Windows machine.
Can I print now? Yes! At last – but not without lowering my firewall security, and enabling a guest account. Not exactly ideal, but essential if I want this functionality. And I do. And the lovely print dialogue box on the iPad finally appears:
So, there we have it – a short hop, skip and jump into untethered printing via AirPrint for Windows. It is possible to co-exist with the “everything Apple” devotees, if you have a little time and patience.
What about your setup? We love to hear your thoughts – have you tried printing on older “non-compatible” hardware? Have these tips helped you, or can you share others?