Printing is almost dead in this fully digital world, but there are still some things you can not easily digitize: shipping labels, flyers for a bulletin board, printing a e-mail for your boss, and attach ghost memes to colleagues’ cubicles. And in this era of doing almost everything on your phone, it’s good to have the ability to print from it instead of having to skip to a computer.
Apple has succeeded in building one of the simplest methods of printing from a smartphone by getting many printer manufacturers to use the AirPrint wireless printing feature. Apple also has a very easy way to create PDF documents instead of traditional printing – if you know how to do it. In this article, we show you both.
Printing with AirPrint
It’s important to note that printing through AirPrint may not support all of the printer’s features, but you will probably have options for: copy number, range, paper size, orientation, scaling, and other basic features.
To get started, you need access to a wireless or network printer that supports Apple’s AirPrint driverless printing system. If you do not have a printer yet, check out how to choose the right one. If you’ve purchased a wireless printer in the last five years (or even up to 10 years for HP), chances are it already supports AirPrint. Some printer manufacturers may also include an app that can print files from your device or through their own cloud service, but these are usually not as easy or nice to use as AirPrint.
Next, make sure your iPhone and printer are connected to the same wireless network. Alternatively, if your printer has an Ethernet port, you can connect it directly to your wireless router with an Ethernet cable and still have the ability to AirPrint from your iPhone. In corporate environments, you may need to get the IT department to open the feature to allow printing from the iPhone.
Ok – now it’s time to print something:
- Open what you want to print: an email or email attachment, a Safari website, a file in the Files app, an image, etc.
- Press Share to open the sharing sheet, scroll down and press Print button. Some apps may have the Print button elsewhere. To print an email in the Mail app, for example, press Respond button, and find Print at the bottom of the list of answer options.
- On Printing options screen that appears, select a printer if it is not already a default option.
- You can now select the page selection you want to print, the number of copies, enable duplex printing, and various other printing options.
- Press Printand it goes!
You can see the print queue / order status by tapping up from the bottom of the screen (iPhone with Face ID or iPad) or by double-clicking the home button (iPhone with Touch ID) to access the App Switcher. You can also cancel the printout here if it is not completed yet.
Print to a PDF file
It’s amazing how a useful feature like printing to PDF is treated like an Easter egg in iOS – especially since macOS has had an easy to see Save as PDF option for years. There is no button in iOS to print to a PDF; instead you zoom into the document to get the opportunity, here’s how:
- Use the instructions above to get to Printing options the screen for the file or page you want to convert to PDF (see instructions above).
- Pinch in the preview of the printable document as if you want to zoom in on it. It will fly at you like entering a new video game stage.
- You now have the document open as a PDF. You can scroll through pages, zoom and search for text on this screen, all to confirm that the document you want looks right.
- Press Share button at the bottom left.
- Select Save in files to specify where you want to save the document or select another app to send it directly to someone, such as Mail, Messages or AirDrop.