Most Mac computers will automatically install a new printer with AirPrint the moment it is turned on and connected to your computer but if you are having trouble, you can try one of these alternative installation methods. Almost all new printers are AirPrint compatible, which means they can print wirelessly with your Mac, iPad or iPhone. Connecting with AirPrint is the easiest and fastest way to get your Mac working with your printer. You can check your printer’s user guide to confirm if your printer works with AirPrint.
How to add a printer using Airprint
- As long as your printer and your Mac are on the same wireless network, your printer should automatically be able to print through Apple AirPrint. To check if AirPrint is working, turn on the printer, open up a document or photo, then select File>Print on your Mac to print. Your printer name should appear under the “Printer” pop up. If it prints, AirPrint is working and you don’t have to set anything up. If it doesn’t print you may need to manually add your printer to AirPrint.
- Under the “Printer” dropdown menu, select “Add Printer” and then select your printer from the list of printers that are available on your Mac. That’s it, now you can print with AirPrint!
If AirPrint is not working or you would prefer having a direct connection to your printer via a USB cable, try one of these alternative installation methods.
How to Add a Printer with a USB cable
A USB cable provides a direct connection from your printer to your Mac. If your printer did not come with a USB cable, you can try connecting your Mac wirelessly through Airprint, or you can buy a USB cable. Older printers used to include a USB cable along with the printer but as wireless printing has become the norm, most new models no longer come with a cable. This is frustrating for anyone that wants to directly connect to their printer or wants to avoid dealing with the hassle of wireless printing, but inexpensive generic USB cables are available and they are compatible with almost every printer model. For more information on printer USB cables, check out this article.
- Connect your printer USB cable and turn on your printer.
- Your printer may ask you to download the latest software to continue with the set up. Download this software to proceed with the installation. If your printer doesn’t ask you to download anything, your printer is already up to date and you can continue to the next step.
- Follow the steps to complete the set up, then try printing out a test page to see if the installation worked. Open up a document or photo, then select File>Print on your Mac to print. If your printer still is not printing, follow the steps below to manually add a printer to your Mac.
How to manually add a printer to a Mac
- Connect your printer USB cable and turn on your printer. Select “System Preferences” under the Apple menu, then select the “Printers & Scanners” icon
- Your new printer should be listed on the left side of the “Printers & Scanners” menu. If it is not listed, click the (+) button to add a new printer.
- Click “Default” in the “Add” window
- Click the printer name and your computer will auto-populate other printer details like the name, location and printer driver. If your computer cannot find the correct driver, you may need to manually populate that field. The printer driver is software that comes with your printer. Once installed on your Mac, drivers convert the information that different programs make into printable formats for your printer. If you select the wrong driver or an outdated driver, your printer will not function. Click on “Select Software” in the drop-down menu to locate the most recent driver for your printer model, then click “Add” to install. If you are not able to find an appropriate driver, you can download one from the printer manufacturer’s website.