In recent years, more and more printing devices are providing out-of-the-box support for Airprint (macOS and iOS) and its Android counterpart (Mopria). Both services allow mobile devices to directly print to “enabled” printers that support the protocol. Your employees may be using their own devices or devices you provided and want to print to your office equipment. AirPrint is native to macOS and iOS but Mopria does need to be installed from the Google Play Store (Mopria Print Service by Mopria Alliance). Do not confuse this with WiFi Direct printing, which is a different technology and not supported by Apple products.
To use AirPrint, open the document/photo you’d like to print. Select the share icon or, on some apps, the “…” Choose print. Press “Select Printer” and choose the printer you want to print to. The “options” section will allow you to choose other available options for that printer like color and stapling. Since AirPrint does not use a machine specific driver, some of the machine’s functions may not be available.
The steps to use Mopria are similar. In an application, select the menu icon (for some apps printing is under “share”) and select “Mopria Print Service.” Select “All Printers” to display available devices. Once you select the printer, you will be able to change the printer options, but as noted for AirPrint, not all options will necessarily be available.
Both AirPrint and Mopria use a protocol called mDNS (multicast Domain Name Service) to find devices’ advertising printing services on the local network. It is important to note that this only works for devices on the same local network. If your network address is 192.168.0.7, you won’t be able to reach a device at 192.168.1.8, even if you are in the same office. If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) installed a network device that provides network connections and WiFi in the same device, then both will be on the same network by default so Airprint and Mopria will work. If you are on a larger network, please contact your IT person for help.
Neither service requires a printer specific driver to print to a supported device, so all one needs to do is select the printer and print. This provides great ease of use, but does put some limits on printing options and features.
Whether you provide your employees devices or they BYOD (bring your own device), you will be ready to make your environment mobile ready!
For those of you using ChromeBooks or who have children using them for school, we’ll cover Google Cloud Print in the future. QCBN
By Jim Hagerson
Jim Hagerson is an analyst with 30 years of IT experience who sets up Smart Document Solution’s new Xerox machines.