How to Turn Any Printer Into an AirPrint Printer

Even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with my Epson printer, I was thinking of getting a new one. I wanted the ability to print anything on my iPhone or iPad. I can print some things and can do extra work to print almost anything, but it would sure work much better if I could just print anything like I could on a Mac or with an AirPrint printer.

Luckily, I found a Mac app, Printopia 2, that gives your iOS devices the ability to print like an AirPrint printer. Sure, the $19.95 price tag may seem like a lot, but it has a seven-day free demo, and on top of that, the $20 for this app is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying an all new printer when there’s nothing wrong with the one I currently have … other than it is AirPrint-capable.


Downloading Printopia to your Mac automatically opens up the System Preferences pane. This allows you to set up Printopia exactly as you would like to use it. It finds all the printing options available to you on your Mac. This includes your home and work printers, and other transferring options, such as Evernote and Dropbox. It also automatically puts in an option for “Send to Mac.” At the bottom you can add in any other saving option you want, such as saving either a .pdf or image to any application, folder, or PDF workflow.


Those of us without an AirPrint printer are used to seeing no available printers. Instead, when I try printing out the confirmation email after I purchased Printopia, I get all the options I just set up on in the Preferences on my Mac. I don’t use Dropbox, as I just never liked it, and I chose not to send files to Evernote either. That leaves me with just the two options to either print the email directly to my printer or save it to my Mac.


Choosing to send the email to my printer brings up a dialog box where my only option is how many copies to print. The other options such as paper size, print quality, etc. are available in the System Preferences app on the Mac by double clicking on the printer where it’s listed. That isn’t the best way to have to configure it, but more often than not it’s just a quick printing of an email, file from an email, or a web page anyway that usually doesn’t require a special size or quality.


After I tried saving a file to my Mac, I didn’t like where it sent it, which was my Documents folder. It’s probably great for others, but I prefer storing all my new files in a Downloads folder. It’s more or less my “go to” spot, where I always know I’ll find what I have just downloaded, sent, saved, etc. I went back into the System Preferences and added this option. In the bottom I clicked on the plus sign and chose to “Save to Folder on Mac.” I then chose my Downloads folder, which added it as an option here. Now if I want something saved to my Downloads from my iPad or iPhone, I simply have to click Print, then tell it to Send to my Downloads, and it will be there waiting for me.

This app just solved many problems for me. And Windows users aren’t left out in the cold either. While researching this, I turned up a comparable app that says it will do the same for Windows that Printopia does for Macs, AirPrint Activator.


Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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