Our smartphones and tablets, whether running Android or iOS/iPadOS, can allow you to print your documents directly. Here’s what you need to know to proceed.

We don’t yet live in a totally paperless world, so we do need to print from time to time. That being said, you don’t necessarily need a computer to do this, your smartphone or tablet can do just fine. Your experience, however, will greatly depend on your printer – some manufacturers offer very effective mobile apps – but here we focus on your options and the steps to take, regardless of your smartphone or printer.

Print from Android

To print from an Android device, go to the Play Store to see if your printer manufacturer has an app. Sometimes there is even more than one, depending on the model or not. These apps sit between Android and the printer and manage everything for you. More often than not, you go to the app to print files stored on your device or in the cloud rather than opening an app like Google Docs and printing from there.

Android offers fairly basic support for wireless printing, if your printer is on the same Wi-Fi network. On Pixels in particular, open Settings and choose Connected devices > Connections preferences > Printing, then Service default print. If your printer is compatible, you will see it. Some models allow you to connect an Android device via USB and print like that. If you are looking for a printer, look for wired or non-Android compatibility, it’s easier.

Regarding the printing itself, be aware that you will not be able to print from any app. It depends on the developers of said apps. Some have a Print option via the share button. Others have native printing options, including apps that offer document management. In Google Docs for Android, for example, you can open a document, then tap on the three little dots and choose “Share and export” then “Print”. If you want to print from Google Chrome, for example, go through the three little dots, then Share and Print.

Print from iOS or iPadOS

If you want to print from an iPhone or iPad, the official solution is AirPrint. If your printer is AirPrint-enabled, your Apple device will easily find it, if it’s on the same Wi-Fi network, of course. All you have to do is tap on the Share button of the app of your choice, then Print, from the options. The next screen shows you a preview and you can choose some options, such as scale or orientation (landscape or portrait).

All is not lost if you don’t have an AirPrint-enabled printer, either. As on Android, many manufacturers have dedicated iOS or iPadOS apps. You can also opt for a third-party app, such as Printopia ($20 with a free trial period) or PrintSend (7.99 €) – work with any printer, but you need a Mac already connected to the printer -. Once set up, you can print from your iPhone or iPad, but your Mac must be plugged in, it acts as a gateway. It’s far from optimal.

iOS and iPadOS don’t support wired printing, so you’ll need to go wireless (at least, without an app like Printopia). Of course, there are many ways to export your documents and images to other platforms and to other formats from iOS and iPadOS and most of them can be found in the Share menu.

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