How to Print From a Smartphone

By Dan Stone

Printing from an Android or iOS smartphone may require some set up before the fact. Smartphones must either connect to the printer via the same Wi-Fi network or connect to a computer that acts as a proxy device, sending out your printing requests. Additionally, Android and iOS apps offer printing support on an individual basis.

Using AirPrint on iPhone

The iPhone can print on AirPrint-enabled printers out of the box, as long as the two devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network: However, you can only print in iOS apps, like Mail, Safari and Photos, that include printing support. To print, open the desired app and tap the share arrow icon on the bottom of the screen, select the printer icon, choose the printer from the list and tap "Print." AirPrint is Apple's only officially supported and free printing method for the iPhone; however, there are third-party apps, like PrintCentral Pro, Printopia and Presto that let you use a Mac or PC as a proxy system for printing (links in Resources).

Printer Brand-Specific Apps

Printer manufacturers, including Epson, Hewlett-Packard and Canon, make in-house printing apps for both Android smartphones and iPhones. The in-house phone apps require a shared Wi-Fi connection with the printer, but do not require you to use a computer as a proxy. The brand-specific apps can print pictures and documents within the app itself by accessing the media libraries on both platforms. Additionally, the apps can integrate themselves within the Share menu for both platforms and add a print option there as well.

Setting up Google Cloud Print on Chrome

Google Cloud Print uses a background app on Android phones to forward printing requests to a proxy computer via the Google Chrome browser. Devices running Android 2.1 and later support Cloud Print. Setting it up requires configuring both the computer and phone. To configure the computer, launch Chrome, open the "Menu" button, choose "Settings," select "Show Advanced Settings," then click "Add printers." Log in to the same Google Account that the phone uses and click "Add Printers" to complete the process .

Using Google Cloud Print for Android

Install the Google Cloud Print app from the Google Play Store on the phone. After installing Cloud Print, open the Settings app and select the "Printing" option. Tap "Cloud Print" and move the toggle switch to the "On" position. You can print from your apps once Cloud Print is enabled: For example, the Chrome and Gmail apps support printing. You can print in Chrome by opening the Settings menu and selecting "Print."