The paperless classroom is a great ideal to work towards, but the journey to get there may still involve some printing. So, just how do you print from an iPad? Well, there are several ways, and it may depend on your individual circumstances, but the information below outlines the most common solutions.
Ok, so this is less of a solution and more of a workaround, but if you can email the document you want to print, you can access it on a desktop computer and print from there. It’s not ideal, but it will work if you get stuck, and LOTS of people do it.
2. AirPrint printers
There are a number of Wi-Fi printers that are designated AirPrint printers. An AirPrint printer will be recognized by all iOS devices when you enter the share or print menu in an iOS app. When they first came out, they were few and far between, but they are not nearly as rare as they used to be. Look for the AirPrint logo on the box the next time you are shopping for a printer, or see if your existing printer is listed on Apple’s AirPrint Support page. However, these are not always the best choices for schools and businesses, because the ink cartridges do not always last as long as laser printers, and replacement cartridges can be expensive.
3. The Middle Man
There’s an app for the Mac called Printopia. It lets your iPad communicate with your Mac and can be a great help with how to print with an iPad. Printopia works as a go-between. You send the print job from the iPad to Printopia, and Printopia sends it to a printer of your choice. It’s a slick and relatively inexpensive solution. Sam Gliksman even put together a workflow for how it can be used for students to submit assignments to the teacher. Read about it here.
4. There’s an app for that!
It sounds cliche, but there really are apps that are designed to help you print from an iPad. Most printer manufacturers have their own apps to help you print on their printers, but be aware of the fact that not all printer models are usually supported, and they tend to work with varying success. Still, it can be worth checking the App Store to see if your printer manufacturer has an app to help you print.
Alternatively, you could invest in a popular printing app like Print Central Pro. At $7.99, it is not cheap, but it could be cheaper than buying a new printer. Print Central works in a similar way to Printopia, and is consistently praised for its performance and compatibility.
5. The xPrintServer
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t replace your existing printer just so you can print from an iPad. In fact, most schools and business refuse to do just that because of the increased costs. Enter the xPrintServer from Lantronix. This little box comes in two flavors – a home edition priced at $99, and an Enterprise edition priced at $199. When you plug it into your existing network, it automagically makes all your existing printers compatible with an iPad. Setup is easy. So easy in fact that Lantronix have made a few humorous videos to illustrate just that.
Do you print from an iPad at your school or office? Which of the above methods do you use? Or do you have another solution altogether? Feel free to leave questions or comments below.