With remote work and BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) on the rise, sooner or later everyone has to face the inevitable question: How the heck do I print from an iPad?
The good news is that Apple has put a lot of thought into iPad printing, and most third-party print management apps, like PaperCut, have built their own easy-to-use iPad printing products. (Hello, Mobility Print .)
So, with the all-new iPad revamp dropping this year, we thought it was time to revisit iPad printing. Here’s the simple way to print documents and photos from your tablet.
Benefits of iPad printing
Printing from your iPad is all about convenience. With the right software, you can get more or less the same print functionality and flexibility as a laptop – but without all that bulk and hassle. Here are some reasons you might want to give iPad printing a try:
Wireless printing. If you can connect to your printer network, you’re good to go. More on this down below.
Cloud printing. The latest gen iPads, iPad Pros and iPad Airs all support cloud-based printing, so you can print on the go.
App integration. Apple has done a great job working print integration into many common apps, including calendars, email clients and documents.
Print preview. Both AirPrint and Papercut’s Mobility Print offer print preview, along with all the settings and preferences you’d expect on a MacBook.
How to print from an iPad via AirPrint
A quick note on AirPrint. This is Apple’s print enablement tech, and you’ll find it on all the latest gen iPads. It basically allows you to print remotely from any iOS or macOS device without the need for additional drivers. All you have to do is:
- Connect your iPad and your printer to the same WIFI network.
- Pick your document or email.
- Click the share button, then swipe over to ‘Print’.
- Select the printer you want to use.
AirPrint automatically discovers compatible printers on the same network, so you don’t need to worry about driver installation and set-up. Just keep in mind, not all printers support AirPrint. Check with your manufacturer or service center if you’ve got any questions about compatibility.
How to connect a printer to an iPad
Let’s look at another easy way to print from an iPad: Papercut’s Mobility Print . This is a free replacement for (the now defunct) Google Cloud Print, and it works in a similar way. Mobility Print allows all end-user clients, including iPhones and iPads, to securely print on any computer in your network.
You can check out more information on Mobility Print and iPads over here , but let’s run through the basics:
- Install the Mobility Print client on your device.
- Connect to your WIFI network.
- Select the document you want to print.
- Click share, then swipe across to ‘Print’.
- Choose a printer from the network.
Why Mobility Print?
You’ll notice that Mobility Print works in a similar way to AirPrint. We’ve done that on purpose. But we’ve also built a bunch of great functionality on top. With Mobility Print, you don’t just get BYOD printing from any device. When you add in the smarts of PaperCut NG and PaperCut MF, you also get:
Account management. Need to assign user accounts to specific print jobs? No problem. With Mobility Print, you can do it at the MFD, or via the mobile web client.
User authentication. Security and print tracking are crucial for document security. You can set up different user authentication rules to suit your business, from two-factor authentication to biometrics.
Compatibility. Our Mobility Print server does most of the heavy lifting, which means you can print remotely on just about any printer, or any device.
Print at scale. Unlike AirPrint, Mobility Print can scale from a single subnet to an entire enterprise network with tens of thousands of users scattered all over the world. And all print data gets fed back to your admin team, thanks to PaperCut NG/MF.
iPad printing and print management systems
If you’re a single user trying to print from an iPad, using AirPrint is probably sufficient. It’s a smooth bit of software. But if you’re an organization, a business, or a school, with multiple users running BYOD devices all over the place, print management software quickly becomes a necessity.
We’ve covered the benefits of print management software before, but the important thing – when it comes to iPad printing – is that your iPad printing solution seamlessly integrates with your print management software.
As you might expect, Mobility Print works in tandem with both PaperCut NG and PaperCut MF . With the right setup, you can track all your users’ BYOD print jobs, with all data feeding back into one central location. You can also quickly set up rules and authentication processes, which flow through to all devices connected to the server.
Limitations of iPad printing
iPad printing is fairly well supported these days (this wasn’t always the case!) but there are still some limitations to keep in mind.
Printer compatibility. Not much of an issue if you’re using a modern printer, or third-party software like Mobility Print, but some legacy printers definitely won’t be iOS compatible.
Advanced print settings. AirPrint in particular won’t give you the kind of granular control you can get on desktops and laptops. With Mobility Print and PaperCut MF or NG, you get closer to the rich functionality and flexibility you’d expect from desktop printing.
USB printing. Without easy USB ports, you’ll need to rely on network printing, rather than a direct connection to the printer. Again, this is generally considered a feature, rather than a handicap, but it’s something to keep in mind, particularly if your network goes down.
Internet connection. Likewise with cloud printing: using your BYOD to print remotely requires an active internet connection. Without access to the internet, you generally won’t be able to print from your iPad (at least not without a Type C to USB 3.0 print adapter).
iPad printing security
Best practice for iPad printing is the same as any other BYOD: you need robust security protocols in place, especially if you’re printing in a commercial setting or a large organization. Mobility Print coupled with PaperCut MF or NG comes with tons of native security features, and these can be easily customized to suit your business and your users. Let’s look at some of the basic security features:
End-to-End Encryption. Mobility Print uses a well-established and trusted WebRTC peer-to-peer communication technology . It’s the same tech that protects your Zoom call. WebRTC essentially provides an encrypted connection from the user’s iPad to the Mobility Print server.
User Authentication. We strongly recommend setting up user authentication protocols (preferably multiple protocols) for your remote print environment. It’s just good business. For all devices except Windows laptops, Mobility Print’s server validates the user’s username and password for each print job. It also supports secure print release, or Find-Me Printing .
ID Cards. By synching Mobility Print with PaperCut NG or PaperCut MF , you also get user card functionality, allowing users to securely release jobs with a proximity card at the MFD. This also allows easy print tracking and user management, so you can control who can print, how often they can print, and on what devices.
Want to learn more about iPad printing? Just give our friendly team a call . We’ve helped hundreds of organizations set up robust, secure BYOD printing.