Q: I would like to print from my Gmail account on my iPhone or iPad to my printer, but it doesn’t come up in Apple’s print option on either (device). Any suggestions? — Daryl
A: This question was answered on March 22, 2013. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
As we all spend more time on our mobile devices, the desire to print something we are reading or have downloaded becomes more likely.
Apple has made provisions for this likelihood with a feature called AirPrint built-into its operating system (iOS 5 or later).
In order to use AirPrint, you must have a wireless printer that is setup on the same Wi-Fi network as your iOS device that is supported by AirPrint. You can check to see if you printer is supported by reviewing the resources posted on Apple’s website: http://goo.gl/ulHCL .
Unlike a computer, not every app you use on your phone or tablet can use AirPrint; in general Mail, Photos and anything you are looking at in Safari can print (including Gmail). Many third party apps may also try to make use of AirPrint which you can check by clicking on the ‘action’ icon (the sweeping arrow at the bottom of a printable item).
There are a number of apps you can purchase that will allow you to turn the computer that’s connected to your printer into a print server for your mobile devices, but I prefer a free option that Google offers.
If you have Google’s Chrome browser on your computer (Mac or Windows), you can setup Google’s Cloud Print which will allow you to print from virtually any mobile device (via the browser) from anywhere.
Unlike Apple’s AirPrint which required that you are on the same wireless network, Cloud Print allows you to print to your home or office printer from anywhere in the world because it connects via the Internet not a local Wi-Fi network.
To setup Cloud Print, open your Chrome browser and type ‘chrome://settings’ in the address bar (without the http://) then click on the ‘Show Advanced’ settings link at the bottom.
Scroll down to the ‘Google Cloud Print’ section and click on the ‘Add printers’ button. If you aren’t currently logged into your Google account, it will ask you to do so (make sure you use the same username and password you use for your Gmail account).
Once you are signed in, you will see a blue button that says ‘Add printer(s)’ which will register the currently available printers attached to your computer to the list.
Clicking on ‘Manage your printers’ will let you see various printing options that should include your local printer as well as a really useful option called ‘Save to Google Docs’.
Instead of printing to physical paper on a specific printer, you can create a Google document that is an electronic version of what would have been printed. This can be very handy if you travel and want access to these ‘printed’ documents from anywhere (just click on the ‘Drive’ option at the top when you are logged into Gmail or your Google account to access them).
Once this is setup, go to your Gmail account or any Google Doc via the browser on your phone or tablet and tap the down arrow in the upper right corner whenever you are viewing a message that you want to print.
You can now print to that specific printer from your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Kindle, Android, laptop or any Internet connected device that has a browser as long as you log into the same Google account that you used to setup the printer.
If you need to print from more apps and want other power features, checkout the various offerings from PrintCentral: http://goo.gl/5536T
Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services and host of the Data Doctors Radio Program, noon Saturdays on KTAR 92.3 FM or at www.datadoctors.com/radio. Readers may send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.