6 Ways to Print from a Smartphone or Tablet: Complete Guide

how to setup find printer iphone iPad android smartphone tablet

With the efficiency of Android and iPhones, people are increasingly doing more printing from their smartphones and tablets. Whether it’s to print out a text message conversation on iPhone, or photos, you don’t need a PC to print files anymore. Using the steps below, you’ll be able to print from your smartphone or tablet in no time at all.

How many different ways are there when printing from a smartphone or tablet? You can print from an Android tablet or smartphone using Google Cloud Print, E-mail, a USB Cable, and other printers. You can also print from an iPhone or iPad using Apple AirPrint.

Since there isn’t much information on the Internet today covering all of the different ways you can print from a smartphone or tablet, I created this article to help you out. Below I cover several different ways to print from a smartphone or tablet, depending on the smartphone or tablet you are using. First, I’ll start with Android devices, and then I will move on to discuss printing from Apple devices.

6 Ways to Print from Your Smartphone or Tablet

There are six different methods when it comes to printing from your Android or Apple device. :

  • Use Google Cloud Print with your Android or smartphone tablet. 
  • Printing using E-mail on an Android. 
  • Printing from your Android phone or tablet with a USB Cable
  • Printing with an iPhone using Apple AirPrint
  • Printing from your iPhone using E-mail. 
  • Printing from your iPhone using other printers. 

Keep in mind that how you print can vary from the type of device you are using as well as the type of printer you are using. Depending on your printer, you may need to check your printer’s instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website to ensure that our tips and steps will work. However, I’ve broken everything down to keep it as general and basic as possible. 

If you run into any problems when using our below suggestions and you get stuck, I recommend calling your printer’s manufacturing company for assistance. 

Android Smartphones and Tablets

There are many different options when it comes to printing files from your Android smartphone. Androids recently have become more comfortable to use when it comes to printing. On top of this, there’s been many printers lately launching with features that make wireless printing from smartphones and tablets a lot more straightforward. 

Using Google Cloud Print with Your Android

Google’s Cloud Print is a beautiful technology that allows you to print anything, anywhere, from any type of device, including iPhones and iPads (more on that later).  When it comes to printing with an Android device, Google Cloud Print is an excellent idea because it was created to be used with Android devices. Today it’s probably the easiest method to use when it comes to printing with an Android device.

Using Google Cloud Print is so easy with Android devices for two reasons:

  • Google Cloud Print is designed right into your Android system.
  • That means you won’t have to download anything to use Google Cloud Print

So, how do you use Google Cloud Print? First, you’ll need to download the software from the Google Play Store. After you do that, you’ll first need to add a wireless printer to your Google Cloud Print Options. I’ll describe how to do that in more detail below. 

hp wireless printer AirPrint and google cloud print compatible
source: HP

Quick Note: If you need more information about which printers are compatible with Google Cloud Print, you can always check Google’s Cloud Print support page. On that page, you’ll find a list of all devices that work with Cloud Print, including my personal favorite and best recommended printers from:

If you’re going to use Google Cloud Print to print things out on your Android, you’ll have first to add your printer to the Google Cloud Print options: 

Step #1

First, check to ensure that your Android device and your printer are both connected to your Wi-Fi so that they can communicate. If you haven’t connected your devices yet, make sure to do that immediately, or else the rest of the steps below won’t work for you.

Step #2

Go into your “Settings” app on your Android device. Once there, type “Printing” into your search box. Then, you’ll need to select the “Printing” option that pops up on your screen. You can also access this feature by going to “Settings,” then “Connected Devices,” and then “Connection Preferences,” followed by “Printing.” 

Step #3

Now, select “Cloud Print.” You may see several other choices on your list, and you’re welcome to play around with them if you’d like. However, to stay on track with adding a printer to your Google Cloud Print, just select “Cloud Print” at this time. Let’s ignore everything else for now.

Step #4

On the top right-hand side, you should see a button that says “Menu.” Select the “Menu” button and then next select “Add Printer.” Once you add your printer, Cloud Print will look for printers that are already on your Wi-Fi network. Select the printer that you want to use. (Remember, your printer should be already connected to your Wi-Fi so that your device can more easily find it). 

Step #5 

Now that you’ve added a printer to your Google Cloud Print, you just have a few more steps to perform before you can print a file with ease each time you need something printed. Let’s now cover the steps to guide you through printing a file or an image from your Android phone or tablet through Google Cloud Print. 

First, find the picture or file that you’re printing. You can print just about anything, including E-mails on your Gmail app or images you have in Google Chrome, etc.

Step #6

Select the three-dot menu button you’ll find in the top right-hand area. Then, select the option to print the document or “Export” the document. If you don’t see either of those options available for your use regarding your file, then you may need to save the file or image in your gallery on your device, and then go to it through your “Android Files” app. Or, you can use “Google Photos” in the same way as well. Then, select the “Print” option.

Step #7

Since you are using Cloud Print, the program should now connect to the printer you already added earlier. However, if you have more than one printer to select from on your Google Cloud Print, then, at this point, you’ll need to choose the printer you want to use for this file or photo. 

Step #8

Next, you need to decide on how many copies you want to print. You’ll also need to select the paper size you’re going to use. If you need to pick a few other options, then you can do so by tapping on the arrow that’s pointing down. Once you’ve done that, you can select either a color or black and white printout, how the page is oriented, and other options. Now you choose the blue printer icon that is located on the right side of your screen.

Print Using E-mail on an Android Device

brother wireless printer AirPrint and google cloud print compatible
source: Brother

If you’re not comfortable printing from Google Cloud, or you simply don’t want to use the app, you’re not alone. There are still other great options to select from when it comes to printing using an Android device. Below I’ll guide you through how you can print using E-mail on your Android device. 

Most printer manufacturers have added extra features into their printers that provide the printer with an e-mail address. If your printer works through the use of an E-mail address, then all you need to do is send an e-mail to your printer with an attachment of the file or photo you want to print. Once you submit that E-mail, your printer will automatically print out that file. 

Keep in mind that setting up an E-mail on a printer can vary widely depending on the manufacturer of the printer you own. If the steps below don’t work, then it’s best to look in your printer’s manual or give the manufacturer of your printer a call. 

First Method

Listed below are the necessary steps for printing using e-mail on an Android device using two different possible methods: 

Step #1

First, begin by opening the e-mail client you want to use. Then, create a new E-mail.

Step #2

In the “To” field of your e-mail, you’ll need to type in your printer’s E-mail address.

Step #3

Next, select the “Attach” button. Sometimes this shows up as a paperclip icon on your screen, but that depends on the type of E-mail client you are using. 

Step #4

Now go to the file or image you are planning to print and select it. You may have it saved in your default Files app which is where many files go on your smartphone. Other places you may have saved the file include:

  • Your Google Drive
  • Google Photos
  • A third-party app

Make sure you know where your file or photo is located so that you can easily print it. Once you’ve selected it and attached it, click on the “Send” button in your E-mail. After that, your printer should start printing. 

Second Method

If that first method doesn’t work for you, don’t worry. I’ll discuss the second method you can use to print using E-mail on your Android device. 

Step #1

First, locate the file or image you are planning to print. If you don’t know how to do that, perform the following steps:

  • Navigate into your “Files” app, Google Photos, Google Drive, or whatever app you used to save your files. 
  • Then, open the file.

Step #2

Once you’ve opened the file, you want to select the “Share” button. Typically, the “Share” button appears as three dots that have two lines connected to those dots. Or, you can “send a copy” in your app, which applies if you are using something like Google Docs. 

Step #3

Now, scroll down and select your favorite e-mail client. 

  • Tap on that icon. 
  • When the e-mail pops up, type in your printer’s E-mail address in the “To” field of your E-mail.
  • Next, hit the “Send” button. 

Printing from your Android Phone or Tablet with a USB Cable

are USB cables cords universal large

If you don’t want to print off of your Android device using Wi-Fi or E-mail, you can perform the print job using a USB cable. However, you’ll need to first check on your printer’s requirements.

  • First, make sure you have an OTG (on-the-go) USB cord.
  • Check to make sure your printer’s hardware is set to go.
  • Grab a USB cord and plug it into your printer
  • Last, check to ensure that your Android device can use USB OTG. Not all smartphones provide this capability. 

Now, here are the steps you’ll need to use when printing from your Android phone or tablet with a USB cable. 

Step #1

First, turn your printer on. Then, put one side of the USB cable into your printer, and attach the other side to your USB OTG. 

Step #2

Attach the other end of your USB OTG into your Android phone or tablet. Once you’ve done that, you should see a plug-in come up on your Android device. Select “OK.”

Step #3

Now you’ll need to navigate to find the file or photo you want to print. If you are printing a document, do the following:

  • First, go to “More.”
  • Then “Share.”
  • Then select “Print.”

If you are printing a photo, then do the following:

  • First, select “More.”
  • Then, select “Print.” 

Printing from Your iPhone and iPad

Now that you know all the ins and outs of Android printing, it’s time to move on and discuss how you can print from your iPhone and iPad. While it can sometimes be frustrating to print using these mobile devices, Apple created a built-in iOS program called AirPrint, which is one of the easiest ways to print off photos and documents using an iPhone or iPad. 

Printing with an iPhone or iPad using Apple AirPrint

With Apple’s AirPrint, you can use your AirPrint-enabled apps and easily print documents and images without having to install a driver or figure out how to use a printer queue with your iPad or iPhone. AirPrint has minimal requirements, which are listed below:

  • You need to have an iPad of any type, an iPhone 3GS or later, or a third-generation iPod Touch.
  • You’ll need to install the latest version of iOS.
  • Make sure you have an AirPrint-compatible printer and ensure that it has the latest firmware installed on it 
canon wireless printer AirPrint and google cloud print compatible
source: Canon

Quick Note: If you need more information about how to use Apple AirPrint, you can always check Apple’s AirPrint basic support page. On that page, you’ll find a list of all devices that work with AirPrint, including my personal favorite and best recommended AirPrint printers from:

AirPrint’s functionality is designed to be the same across every iPhone model. That helps to make this software very easy to use, even if you have an iPhone 5 or something as new as an iPhone 11. Let’s cover the steps to get started with AirPrint:

Step #1

To start with AirPrint, you need to make sure that you have both your iPhone or iPad and your printer on the same Wi-Fi network. Both devices need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If you are in an area that has multiple networks, like in an office, then you might have to enable the ability to use AirPrint depending on which printer you decide to use. You’ll need to check your printer manual if you need more information about connecting to Wi-Fi with your printer. 

Step #2

Now, you’ll need to make sure your iPhone and your printer’s connection is working. To do that, open one of your AirPrint-supported apps, like Mail, for instance. Most AirPrint-compatible apps have an error that looks like a forward or reply e-mail icon on them once you are inside the app. Select that icon, then go to “Print.” After that, you’ll see your printer in the selected device area. If you want to use a different printer, then go to “Select Printer” and you can scan for other printers around you.

Step #3

Now you need to decide on how many copies you are going to print. To do that, tap on the addition or subtraction arrows that you’ll find near the “Copy” option. You need to print at least one copy. However, if you need up to ninety-nine copies, you have the opportunity to do that, too. If you want to check on the color options and select specific pages to print, then go to the “Options” area. 

Step #4

After you have your printer picked out and you’ve entered the number of pages, then select “Print.” You’ll find “Print” on the upper right side of the page. If you decide to cancel your print job or you want to check on it, all you need to do is double-tap the “Home” button, and then go to “Print Center.” After that, you can either check on your print job or hit “cancel printing.” 

How to Print Using E-mail

If you don’t have an AirPrint-enabled printer or you are looking for another way to get your items printed off of your iPhone or iPad, you can print using an E-mail. As mentioned earlier, many new models of printers come with an E-mail address that you can use. You’d simply attach the file you want to print and E-mail that to the printer’s E-mail. 

Keep in mind that you will need to set up your printer e-mail address before you can use the below steps. While that process is relatively simple, the steps on how to do that vary from printer to printer. So, you’ll need to use your printer’s instruction guide or manufacturer’s website to help walk you through the process. Not all printer models will allow you to do this, but if your printer does and it’s set up to go, then use the steps below. 

Step #1

If you are using an e-mail-compatible printer, then you’ll need to begin by activating the e-mail function on the printer. Remember, the way you enable access to this differs depending on the type of printer you have. For example, if you have an Epson printer, you’d need to turn on your Epson Connect. However, your printer’s manual should have detailed steps on how to do this. 

Once you set up your printer’s E-mail, you’ll wind up giving your printer an e-mail address. Most printers nowadays come with this. The e-mail address will be very unusual, looking like a bunch of random characters attached to a particular domain name. Typically, depending on the type of printer you have, you can change this later to make it easier to remember if you need to do so.

At this stage, your iPhone doesn’t have to be connected to the same wireless network as your printer when you use E-mail printing. However, the printer will still need to be connected to your Wi-Fi to ensure that the printer works properly. 

Step #2

If your printer’s e-mail is all setup and ready to go, then it should work correctly. From there, the next step is to e-mail a file or image from your iPhone to your printer. To do that perform the following:

  • Go into your preferred e-mail client on your iPhone. 
  • Next, in the “To” field, enter your printer’s E-mail address. 
  • Then, click “Send.”

After you’ve done that, your printer should start working. However, before you hit “send,” you may want to change some of your printer options. Usually, your iPhone will use your default settings, which typically are using plain paper that’s letter size. If you need to adjust anything, you’ll need to go into the default settings of your printer and change them. 

Most printers that have e-mail addresses attached to them aren’t capable of accepting all file formats. However, these types of printers can print out most basic file types, like 

  • Word docs,
  • Excel sheets, 
  • JPEGs, etc. 

If you aren’t sure about what types of files your printer’s e-mail will accept, you’ll need to check your printer manufacturer’s manual. 

Printing from an iPhone or iPad with other software

If you’d prefer not to use either AirPrint or e-mail printing, or those two options aren’t going to work for you, then you can apply some software that came from your printer’s manufacturer. You can also opt for third-party software if needed. One excellent option is Presto, which comes with a free iOS app. That app is compatible with almost all printers. There is also a version for Android and Chrome. 

There are also options that come with your printer manufacturer’s free app, like the Epson iPrint. However, not all printing apps work with all printers, and not all manufacturers offer apps that can help you out with this, unfortunately. 

Step #1

After you know what printing application you’ll be using, make sure you go to the app’s page and download the app. Make sure the app is installed correctly. Then, launch the application

Step #2

Next, you need to make sure both your iPhone and printer are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If you aren’t sure how to connect your printer to your Wi-Fi network, you’ll need to check your printer manufacturer’s instruction guide or website for help. Some apps have features that will let you save your print jobs until you re-connect to your Wi-Fi once again. That’s great when you know you need to print something and aren’t near a printer.

However, not all apps or manufacturers who make third-party apps will provide you with the capability to do this. That’s all up to the app and the printer you are using. 

Step #3

Check your connection between your iPhone and your printer. You can do this by opening one of the following apps:

  • Mail
  • Safari
  • Evernote

Once you are inside the app, you should see an icon that looks like a forward or reply to e-mail icon. Visually, it looks like a box that has an arrow inside it pointing upwards. Once you find the icon, tap on it, and then go to “Print.” You should see your printer as the default device in your options.

However, if your printer is not the default device in your choices, then go to “Select Printer,” which you’ll find near the top. Then your iPhone will scan for your printers. You also need to make sure your device is awake when accessing the printer. 

Step #4

Next, you’ll need to pick the number of copies you are going to print. You do that with the subtraction and addition arrows, you’ll see next to “Copy.” Just as with an Android, you’ll need to print at least one copy, but you can print up to ninety-nine if you need them. 

Step #5

Once you know how many copies you are making, you can hit the “Print” tab. You’ll find that on the upper right-hand side of the page.

John Hammer

Hi i'm John Hammer, Founder and Author of Gizbuyer Guide. Ever since the original Xbox, PlayStation, and iPhone I've purchased and worked on all kinds of consumer tech products, gaming gadgets and operating system softwares. To this day my curiosity has never left, and my aim is to guide and share my knowledge on technology as I continue to experience the latest of the consumer electronics industry.

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