Apple offers AirPrint technology to detect printers in the network and print documents with high quality. However, it does not always work automatically in many situations and you to manually add the printer. Here are various options for you to connect a printer in Mac and set it as your default device. If you are also using iPhone, learn how to add a printer in iPhone.
AirPrint in Apple Devices
Here is a huge list of printers Apple supports for AirPrint. If you are planning to buy a new printer, make sure to check the item is in that list. If you have already purchased a printer, make sure to connect your Mac and printer in the same network. Open print option from any app, click “Printer” dropdown and select your wireless printer. After first time selection, the device should automatically appear whenever you open print control box.
If this is not working, probably your printer does not support AirPrint or there could be other problems. In that case, follow the below instructions to manually add a printer in Mac and customize its settings.
1. Adding Printer from Mac Settings / Preferences
- Click Apple logo and go to “System Settings…” menu.
- Go to “Printers & Scanners” section and click “Add Printer, Scanner, or Fax…” button.
- You will see the “Add Printer” dialog opens and shows all your printers connected in the network. Select the printer and click “Add” button.
- Mac will start setting up your printer and you can see the status like below.
- Wait for few seconds and you will see the printer is added in the list.
If you are using macOS Monterey or earlier version, go to “Apple logo > System Preferences > Printer & Scanners” section. Click + icon and add your printer, after that you will see the same screens as shown above. Also, learn how to setup the same printer in Windows 11 PC.
Customizing Added Printer
After adding a printer, click its name and you will see the printer’ properties like below. Here, you can change the name, check documents in queue and set the device as your default printer by clicking “Set Default Printer” button. You can also check the cartridge supply levels by clicking on “Options & Supplies” button (your printer should support this) and remove the device if you no more want to use.
Printing Documents from App
- Open your document or picture and press “Command + P” keys.
- The print control settings will differ based on the app and here is how it will look in Preview app with the default printer selected automatically from System Settings.
- You can customize further options like changing landscape or portrait mode, disable color printing, set printing range or pages, etc. and click “Print” button.
- You will see a printer queue opens up and shows the printing status of the document. As mentioned, you can also open the queue from Mac Settings. Click the pause or cancel icon to stop or cancel the printing immediately.
2. Manually Switching to Printer’s Network
Sometimes, you will not see the printer appears in network when trying to add it from Mac Settings. In that case, you can manually switch to printer’s network (called Direct Connect or Wi-Fi Direct) and check if that works for you.
- Click on “Apple logo” and go to “System Settings…” option.
- Go to “Wi-Fi” section and find your printer’s name under “Other Networks” list.
- Name should start with “DIRECT-*“, hover over it and click “Connect” button.
- Alternatively, you can click the Wi-Fi icon on top bar and select your printer’s name from “Other Networks”.
- Enter the network password if prompted. By default, the network printer will have a password as 12345678. This is the case for HP printer and check your printer’s documentation for getting the network password if you do not know.
- You should see the printer is added as your Wi-Fi for Mac with the green “Connected” status.
- Now, open a document that you want to print and press “Command + P” keys. Click the “Printer” dropdown and select the wireless network printer.
Though this method works without internet connection, you need to manually switch the network connection whenever you want to print. So, you can use this as a workaround when you have problem with default printer setup in Mac.
3. Using Printer Apps
Almost all printer manufacturer’s offer an app to setup the device and print documents from the app. For example, you can use HP Smart app from Mac App Store for HP printers. Simply install the app and follow the instructions to setup your printer in the app.
Since default print setting in Mac varies depending on the app, you can use printer app to manage all your printing and scanning activities in one place. You can also check the supply level and login with your account to get additional support if needed.