How to Print From An iPad

Make hard copies of important documents directly from your tablet

Side by side pictures of an iPad and a Samsung printer.

Justin Sullivan/Pixabay/Getty Images

The iPad isn't just for browsing the web, reading ebooks, and playing games. It's also become a powerful productivity device that can help you create art, documents, and 3D models. And once you've made something, you might want a hard copy.

You can print wirelessly from an iPad using several different methods: AirPrint, Google CloudPrint, and third-party apps and print servers.

How to Print From an iPad Using AirPrint

The most accessible way of printing from an iPad involves using AirPrint, which is Apple's protocol for enabling devices such as iPads and iPhones to communicate via Wi-Fi with AirPrint-compatible printers.

You'll need an AirPrint-compatible printer to use this feature, as well as a working Wi-Fi connection. Apple keeps a list of all the commercially available printers that are compatible with the protocol, a list which it updates once a month.

Here's what you do to print from an iPad using AirPrint:

  1. Go to the webpage or document you want to print, and then tap the Share icon.

    Share button on iPad
  2. Tap the Print icon. It's in the bottom row of the Share menu.

    How to print from an iPad
  3. Tap Select Printer.

    How to print from an iPad
  4. Tap your printer on the next screen.

    If you don't see your printer, it either isn't powered on, or it isn't compatible with AirPrint.

    How to print from an iPad
  5. Tap Print.

    How to print from iPad
  6. Use the plus and minus buttons to print multiple copies.

How to Print From an iPad Using Google Cloud Print

An alternative to printing from an iPad is to use Google's Cloud Print, which like AirPrint is a Wi-Fi-enabled protocol for communicating between printers and devices.

Google Cloud Print only works from inside Google apps unless you also download PrintCentral Pro.

  1. Launch Google Chrome on your computer (not your iPad), and then click the More button in the upper-right corner.

    How to print from an iPad
  2. Click Settings.

    Alternatively, press Command-comma (,), or go to chrome://settings/.

    How to print from an iPad
  3. Scroll down and click the Advanced tab.

    How to print from an iPad
  4. Under the Printing heading, click Google Cloud Print.

    How to print from an iPad
  5. Click Manage Cloud Print devices.

    How to print from an iPad
  6. Click Add printers.

    How to print from iPad
  7. Click the printer you'd like to associate with Google Cloud Print so that its box contains a checkmark, and then click the Add printer(s) button.

    How to print with iPad
  8. This process ties your printer to your Google account and makes it available on all devices on the same Wi-Fi network.

One advantage Google Cloud Print has is that it's compatible with printers that aren't "cloud-ready," so it works with more devices than AirPrint.

And once you've added your printer, using Cloud Print works similarly to AirPrint. For example, if you have the Google Sheets app on your iPad, here's how you print using Cloud Print:

  1. Open the spreadsheet you'd like to print, and tap the More button in the top-right corner of the screen.

    How to print from iPad
  2. Tap Share & export, and then tap Print.

    How to print from an iPad
  3. Tap Google Cloud Print. On the next screen, tap the name of your printer. Choose the options you want, and then tap Print.

    How to print from iPad
  4. Apps will still let you choose between AirPlay and Cloud Print if your printer is compatible with both.

How to Print From an iPad Using Third-Party Apps

If you can't or don't want to use either AirPrint or Google Cloud Print, one other option available for owners of more recent printers is to use the specific app that's available for such printers. Most manufacturers – including Canon, HP, and Brother – produce such apps, and you can usually find them in the App Store for free.

You can also download a third-party app like PrintCentral Pro. Other popular printing apps include Printer Pro, Print n Share, and To Print. In most cases they let you print using not only Wi-Fi-enabled printers but also USB ones. They can even be linked with AirPrint printers, although they generally aren't available for free.

Set Up a Server

An iPad connected to a Mac and a printer
Getty Images/Bruce Gifford

One final option that lets you print from an iPad is to set up a print server on your Mac or PC. By doing this, you can send print jobs from your iPad to the server, which then sends it to your printer. You'll have to download an app onto your Mac or PC first, something which you may prefer to downloading extra apps onto your iPad.

If you're a Mac user, one of the best and most popular apps for this purpose is Printopia. Not only does this let you print from an iPad, but you can even use it to save iPad documents or files as PDFs on your Mac.

Similar software available for PCs includes OPrint and Presto. Like Printopia, they come at a cost though, so if the cost is an issue, try AirPrint and Google Cloud Print first.