Printing was once a computer and printer-only game. Then smartphones and tablets happened and mobile printing was born. Sysadmins were suddenly expected to enable printing from any portable device on any OS (Operating System).
Around the same time, cloud services at work quickly became the norm. Simultaneously, being able to print no matter where you were or what device you were using became a business expectation. Cloud printing started to reshape how workplaces produce and manage documents.
A little while later, the COVID-19 pandemic redefined the modern office. Hybrid working became the “new normal.” And voilà, it became a necessity to print anywhere on a mobile device and in the cloud.
That’s the background of how we got to where we are today. Now let’s do some ultimate anywhere guiding.
Cloud printing vs mobile printing: what’s the difference?
If you want to print anywhere, there are two sides to the coin.
Firstly, you need software that can enable printing no matter what device you’re using. Secondly, you need software that can enable printing outside your business network.
With both those coin sides in mind, printing anywhere essentially means cloud printing and mobile printing. You want to be able to print off-network wherever you are no matter what device you’re using.
Cloud printing refers to printing remotely/off-network via the cloud. This means you can press print on your smartphone/tablet while offsite, and still collect your print job from the printer/copier. It’s essentially referring to enabling printing with the cloud. It can also mean print management software in the cloud, but here we’re mainly referring to print enablement via the cloud.
Mobile printing also known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) printing refers to printing from a mobile device (smartphone/tablet). This can happen in one of two ways. Either the mobile device sends the print job directly to the printer. Or the print job travels to a computer/laptop that’s connected to the printer.
Printing onsite vs printing remotely
Printing onsite happens via the local network connection. Printing remotely offsite means your print job will travel via the cloud. Both can be forms of mobile printing i.e. users using smartphones or tablets rather than a laptop or desktop. But remote/offsite printing is exclusively a cloud printing functionality. The print job travels via the cloud.
iOS vs Android printing
iOS devices have their own mobile printing application, Apple AirPrint, available on some print vendors’ hardware.
Likewise, there are many apps available on Android devices for mobile printing. Some print vendors have their own applications for wireless network printing.
Google Cloud Print
Google Cloud Print was once a popular cloud print solution for mobile and remote printing but, unfortunately, it was deprecated on 31 December 2020 and is no longer supported by Google.
However, these aren’t your only options.
Printing on the go with PaperCut
PaperCut Software has mobile printing and cloud printing solutions. The right product for you depends on whether you just want a simple solution for enabling mobile printing. Or perhaps you’re looking for a cloud print solution with mobile printing capabilities.
PaperCut Mobility Print
PaperCut’s go-to solution for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and mobile printing is PaperCut Mobility Print. It can be downloaded as a free tool to enable printing from smartphones, tablets, and their various OS instances. It also comes equipped with the Cloud Print feature so Windows, Chromebook, and Mac users can print remotely off-network.
For mobile and cloud printing off-network with foundational print management features, there’s our cloud-native print management solution, PaperCut Pocket. Available for a free trial, this product offers mobile print enablement and print management for small and medium businesses.
Start free PaperCut Pocket trial now.
3 considerations for mobile and cloud printing
When considering all of the above options (well, except Google Cloud Print, sorry not sorry) you’ll want to run through the following checklist:
Mobile application compatibility
Check what smartphone application you’re printing from. And whether it’s iOS or Android. Some applications aren’t compatible with some print vendors.
Off-network print security
If you’re mobile printing off-network, ensure you’re using a secure cloud print solution that protects your data with encryption at motion (when the print job is traveling from your device to the printer via the cloud) and in rest (while your print job is awaiting release).
Up-to-date printer drivers
Ensure your printer drivers on your devices are up to date, otherwise, your print jobs may struggle to enter the print queue after you’ve pressed print on your device.
The good news is, if you’re running PaperCut software, CTRL+ALT+DEL all of the above from your memory because it doesn’t apply to you.
Cloud and mobile printing anywhere for any device
User expectations make cloud and mobile printing tricky. Pressing print on a cellphone or tablet is simple and easy. We expect the printing experience to be exactly the same. But the potential monkey wrench is the hardware.
There are multiple brands of mobile devices and printers. And then drilled further down there are dozens upon dozens of different OS versions. You could have a staff member using an iPhone 11 on iOS 13. In the same building someone else using an iPhone 14 on iOS 16. But then both of these devices may not have been updated recently.
This is the potential headache many sysadmins need to wrap their head around. So when searching for software to enable cloud printing and mobile printing, you want to find a solution that’s device and OS-agnostic. Start with print software that isn’t tied to a specific brand or manufacturer.