Printing from the iPad - Let me count the ways!


Among other things, the iPad is a great way to save paper: It lets you carry around all kinds of digital documents that you might otherwise have had to print. But from time to time you may still need to print data that’s on your iPad. There are many ways to print from your iPad – to paper and, more importantly these days, paperless.

The basics

Even though you can add a USB port to your iPad with Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit, it’s no use plugging in a USB printer, because iOS doesn’t know how to talk to printers via USB. You’ll need a computer to serve as a conduit for iPad print jobs: your iPad connects wirelessly to your computer (MAC or Windows) and that in turn connects to the printer. You also need software that knows how to send data to the printer in the right format.


Printing support is built into the iPad with a technology called AirPrint. Any app that has been updated to take advantage of AirPrint can print wirelessly to a compatible printer.

To print using AirPrint, you need an AirPrint compatible  printer. There's your first hurdle!.  If you happen to have such a printer, and it’s on the same local network as the iPad, your iPad will be able to see it and print without any special configuration.  Here is the full list of Airprint compatible printers.  If you are going to invest in a new AirPrint compatible printer, the easiest solution is to get a wireless printer. This means that you don't need to have a computer that is turned on to print.  But what if you don't have such a printer? 

No AirPrint printer?

If you aren’t fortunate enough to have an AirPrint-compatible printer,  you can still use AirPrint with the vast majority of printers. Search the Apple App Store for printers. There are many printer apps available. But beware!. Unless the printer app specifically states that it will work with your model and brand of printer, printing may well be " hit and miss". For example, Epson has an iPrint app which will allow you to print directly from your iPad to the printer. If the Epson printer is connected by USB to a computer, and that computer is switched on - you can print. If the printer is wireless,  no computer is required to act as the "middle man". As long as the iPad and the wireless printer are on the same local wireless network, you can print. 

The Epson iPrint app is a free downloadable app that lets you connect directly from your iPad to an Epson printer within your wireless network. Besides, documents, photos, PDFs and more, the app also supports printing files from cloud-based storage services such as DropBox and Evernote.

There are several other similar apps created by manufacturers for their printers such as the Lexmark LexPrint AppBrother iPrint&ScanCanon Easy-PhotoPrint, and Samsung Mobile Print.

Third Party printing apps

If you can't find a printing app that fits your model exactly, there are plenty of other printer app offerings in the App Store. If there is a free or Lite version try that first before paying for the full version. Many of these apps also require extra software that runs on your computer. Many also claim that they work on all printers but in actual fact don't. Read the Reviews before paying for a printer app. 

Printing with AirPrint

Once you have a compatible printer  set up, printing from your iPad is simple:

Printing from the Mail app

Printing from the Mail app

First, look for the Print command. Assuming an app has been updated for AirPrint support, this command is in there somewhere, although the location varies—sometimes it appears when you tap a button with the word Print or a printer icon on it, other times it may be in a popover that appears when you tap a Tools, Send, or Action icon. 


If this is your first time using AirPrint, or if you want to switch printers, tap Select Printer and then tap a printer name. The printer you select becomes the new default printer, meaning you can skip this step next time if you want to use that printer again.

To change the number of copies, tap the plus (+) or minus (-) button. If the document has more than one page, you can limit which pages print by tapping Range and selecting the start and end page numbers. When you’re done, tap on Print.

Printing - Google CloudPrint


If you have a Google account, you can use Google Cloud Print. This  is a new technology that connects your printers to the web. Using Google Cloud Print, you can make your home and work printers available directly from the applications you use every day. When you print through Google Cloud Print, your file is securely sent to your printer over the web. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a phone, a traditional desktop, laptop, or tablet, Google Cloud Print works whether you’re in the same room as your printer, or on another continent.

Google Cloud Print takes the security of your files very seriously. Documents are transferred over a secure HTTPS web connection. After a job is completed, the associated document is deleted from Google servers. In addition, you can delete jobs and their history at any time through the Google Cloud Print management page.

Setting up Google Cloud Print


Some printers work immediately with Google cloud Print. These are called Cloud-Ready printers. If you don't have one of those, it will still work with your trusty USB printer.  

Follow these steps to add a USB printer to google Cloud Print.

  1. Create and / or sign into your Google account
  2. Make sure the printer you want to use is connected to the computer / laptop and is turned on.
  3. Download and install the Chrome browser. From the Menu, select Settings, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select, Show Advanced Settings.
  4. At the bottom of the page, look for Google Cloud Print. Click Add Printers.
  5. This will register the printers. You only need to register the printers on one computer - otherwise you will see duplicate printers.

Video: Demonstration:

  1. How to register printers
  2. 'print' a web page as a pdf using Chrome on the iPad and sending it to Google Drive
  3. Print to a remote printer from Chrome on the iPad
  4. Open the .pdf in Google Drive and send it to another app - Adobe Reader & Goodreader

To print from the iPad, download the mobile apps for Chrome, Google Drive, Gmail or GWhizz - an app which provides all the Google apps in one.

What is Google Drive? 


Google Drive is everywhere you are—on the web, in your home, at the office and on the go. So wherever you are, your stuff is just...there. Ready to go, ready to share. Get started with 5 GB free. No matter what happens to your devices, your files are safely stored in Google Drive.

Of course, you don't always need to print to paper. Using a combination of the Chrome browser, Google Drive and Google CloudPrint will allow you to save web pages as a .pdf document to Google Drive. From there, you can open the .pdf in another app like Adobe Reader or Goodreader and annotate it, or save it into your documents folder on your hard drive - whatever you want.

Print web pages as .pdf documents to Google Drive

In the gallery below  is a web page that has been 'printed' as a .pdf to Google Drive all using iPad apps. Once you have it in Google Drive, you could open it in another app. Tapping the action button will give you all possible apps that can handle this sort of task - that are loaded on your iPad. In this case, the .pdf has been opened in Adobe Reader and in Goodreader.

Send web pages from a computer / laptop to a mobile device


Chrome on the desktop computer or laptop allows you to add extensions: small programs that enhance the efficiency and productivity of the browser. One of those extensions is called Chrome to MobileYou can send a web page from your computer to a mobile device - a phone or tablet - Apple or Android for reading offline or opening in other apps like Adobe Reader. In this example, the web page of the chocolate cake recipe has been sent to the iPad  and can be viewed in the Chrome app on the iPad.

In Chrome,  go to the Chrome Webstore and search for the extension: Chrome to Mobile. Add the extension to your browser.The first time you use the extension, you will have the opportunity to select the mobile devices it will be able to access. For example, my Chrome browser - on my iMac can send a web page to my iPhone, iPad or Nexus 7 tablet. The web page is sent to the mobile device where you can open it in Chrome on the mobile device.

See also iPad Beginner: Printing