Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

Enable AirPrint for all connected Mac printers

Jerry Stratton, December 31, 2012

handyPrint Preference Pane: The handyPrint Preference Pane, with handyPrint turned on.; software; Macintosh; printing

The handyPrint Preference Pane automatically lists connected printers; all you have to do is turn it on.

I almost never need to print from the iPad. I’ve owned it for almost two years now and while I’ve occasionally thought it might be nice to print, I’ve never felt the need even so much as to do a Google search on AirPrint software for the Mac. The iPad is a futuristic device: among its many other features, it’s a portable paper library. I print because I need to carry the printout somewhere I can’t bring my computer. But if I’m looking at something on the iPad, why would I need to print?

I finally ran into a reason this morning: a local movie theater that does reservations and sends the tickets by email but wants a printout at the booth. I really did not want to have to get out of bed and go log into the iMac just to print this out. Obviously, I was going to have to no matter what since I had no other options, but I finally decided to search for options to fix this in the future.

I came up with three options: Printopia, FingerPrint, and handyPrint. This is not going to be an in-depth review of them; while Printopia appears to be the favorite of professional reviewers, it also costs $20, which seemed a bit steep just to broker between the iMac and AirPrint. FingerPrint also costs $20 and doesn’t have the same following Printopia has.1 However, handyPrint2 is much less expensive: you’re asked to donate whatever you think it’s worth to you, a minimum of $1.00.3

I was a little leery of handyPrint at first, because the Printopia site says that one of its features is “No Need To Modify Your Operating System” and explains this feature as “Beware of printing solutions that re-configure your Mac’s printing system. Printopia runs independently from printer sharing, and does not modify your Mac or iOS operating system in any way.”

I was thus prepared to cancel at the first request for the admin password if it turned out that handyPrint was one of those other printing solutions that muck with the OS. However, as far as I can tell all handyPrint installs is a Preference Pane, and it is smart enough to install it locally to the current account rather than try to muck up the entire system. It never asked for a password. In fact, it never asked for anything except to be turned on: I installed it, it brought up the Preference Pane with the big “Off/On” toggle set to “Off”. I switched it “On” and was immediately able to print from the iPad.

If you’re still using Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) as I am, you’ll need to choose the 3.1.x version (3.1.3 as I write this). The newer version requires either Lion or Mountain Lion, and adds new features such as printing directly to PDF.

  1. FingerPrint does have the advantage of having both a Macintosh and a Windows version; as far as I can tell, Printopia and handyPrint only have Macintosh versions.

  2. Earlier versions of handyPrint were known as “AirPrint Activator”.

  3. I donated $5.00 once I determined that it worked for me.

  1. <- PHP tutorial
  2. Socialized gasoline ->