How to Fix Issue of Mac Not Communicating with Printer

Macs are notorious for connection issues with printers. Unfortunately, it always seems to happen when you need to print an important document. Nonetheless, there are a few troubleshooting steps to take before throwing in the towel and visiting a library to get that printing done.

First Steps

First things first. Double-check the physical connection between the printer and the Mac or the WiFi signal if your printer is wireless and connected to your Mac via AirPrint. In addition, make sure there are no error lights or warnings on the printer’s display, if it has one.

If your Mac is not reliably connecting to a WiFi printer specifically, there are a few steps to take before continuing. Start with verifying that the printer is in range of the router to cut down on a spotty connection, and then if needed restart both the router and printer. Typically this is done by pressing and holding the power buttons on both devices for a few seconds and then pressing the buttons again to power them back on.

Access Printers and Scanners in System Preferences

To troubleshoot your printer on the software side, start by clicking the Apple logo on the top-left corner of your Mac. Select “System Preferences,” and then select “Printers and Scanners” from the pop-up window.



Manually Add a Printer

One of the most common issues is that the printer is not being recognized automatically by your Mac as it should be. To fix this, click the plus icon (+) located on the bottom-left of the printers list.


From here, you have a few options.

“Default” will list any printers physically connected to your Mac. Select your printer from the list, and if your printer is not available, continue on.

“IP” will allow you to connect a printer to your Mac if it is associated with your network – just enter the IP address.

The “Windows” option will display printers connected to a Windows PC that you can also connect to from the Mac. File Sharing must be set up for this option to work.


Remove and Re-Add a Printer

Navigate back to “Printers and Scanners” in System Preferences by clicking the Apple logo at the top-right of your Mac’s display, clicking System Preferences, and clicking Printers and Scanners.

If you see your printer listed, but the Mac is not communicating (for example, waiting print jobs), select the printer and then select the minus (-) icon to remove the printer entirely.

You’ll now be able to power down the printer, disconnect it, and plug it back in. If it is a WiFi printer, just fully power it off and then power it back on. The printer should now re-appear in the list. If not, select the plus (+) icon in the printers and scanners settings to add it again.

Restore Your Printer to Factory Settings

If all attempts to regain connection have failed so far, try resetting your printer to factory settings and setting it up as new. The restore and set-up process will vary widely from model to model. It is best to search for the restore process pertaining to your particular model. However, you can attempt the steps below for a reset if your printer model’s instructions are not easily found.

  1. Turn off the printer and unplug it from power for a few seconds.
  2. Plug the printer back into power.
  3. Press and hold your printer’s resume button.

Get Off macOS Public and Developer Betas

Running beta software can quite easily wreck havoc on various peripheral connections, both physical and wireless. That being said, if you are running a beta version of macOS and your issue has not yet been solved, attempt restoring to the general build of macOS. To do this,

  1. Make copies of important files or any files you wish to keep.
  2. Restart in macOS recovery.
  3. Select “Restore From Time Machine Backup,” and select a backup from your connected drive. If the files are just copied to a generic drive, click “Reinstall macOS” instead.
  4. Follow the prompts to finish the restore.


For more information regarding restoring your Mac, consult Apple’s support article.

Final Thoughts

Regaining connection to a printer is simply a game of various troubleshooting methods and attempts. That being stated, hopefully these tips and tricks were able to resolve your issue. If not, please comment below so that we canĀ help you.

Corbin Telligman Corbin Telligman

I'm a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.