I’ve talked a lot here recently about how hugely disappointing the much-hyped new AirPrint feature has turned out to be in the recent iOS 4.2 update. Apple originally promised it would support a wide range of wireless printers and virtually all shared printers. On release, it supports a very small handful of HP wireless printers and no shared printers at all – making it unusable for the vast majority of iPad users.
The good news is that now there is an easy and free way to get AirPrint working as it was originally intended, and use it with your shared printers on your network. Read on for the very easy steps required to use the AirPrint Hacktivator app to get AirPrint going …
How to Use AirPrint Hacktivator to Make AirPrint Work with Any Printer:
Some Notes on what the app does and how it does it:
irPrint Hacktivator is based on the Troughton-Smith hack. Version 1.0 to 1.6 essentially automated the addition a urftopdf mime types reference to two cups files and add a urftopdf filter for cups.
Starting with version 1.7 only the following two lines are added to the “/usr/share/cups/mime/apple.types” file:
# Added by AirPrintHacktivator
image/urf urf string(0,UNIRAST<00>)
No Apples files are redistributed nor installed by the latest version. A backup of the original file is done prior to adding the necessary line to allow for easily reverting the hack.
I had known about a few hacks that have been around for this purpose for a while, and shied away from them. The reason I am happy using this one is that it makes minimal changes, backs up the one file it alters (I’ve verified this while testing the app), and it is very easily reversible.
Steps to Use AirPrint Hacktivator:
– Download the latest version of the app (currently 1.0 of the new AirPrint Activator) here: http://netputing.com/airprintactivator
– Unzip the application and launch it
– When the app launches, you’ll see just the simple Off / On toggle for it. Move it to On. You’ll be prompted to enter your password to approve the change – do that and click OK to confirm.
– You’ll then see a popup from the app that tells you what you need to do under System Preferences:
– Click on the minus sign symbol to remove your printer from the list. Then add it back via the plus button. Once it is back in the printer list, tick the checkbox to share the printer on your network.
That’s it. Once you’ve done the above, you should find that you can use AirPrint on your iPad (or iPhone) in all supported apps, such as the built-in Mail, Safari, and Photos apps. To use AirPrint:
– Launch Safari, Mail, Photos, or another app that supports it (more and more apps will be updated to add AirPrint support now that iOS 4.2 is out).
– Tap on the standard ‘Share’ button – the one that looks like an envelope with an arrow coming out of it – and choose Print from its shortlist of actions.
– On the Print popup dialog, tap on Printer field where it will say Select Printer. Now AirPrint should look for printers and find yours. Select it and you’re all ready to print to it.
*** Please note this is a Mac only app for now. There is a promising sounding Windows solution now as well. See HERE for details (translated from German) on this.
UPDATE: The developers of the AirPrint Hacktivator app recently received a take-down request related to the website for the app. They complied with it, effectively killing off the app – but they also immediately reincarnated the app as AirPrint Activator.
The new app doesn’t just have a new name and the same excellent functionality as its predecessor; it also has take the necessary steps that should keep future take-down requests away, as it no longer contains any Apple files.
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish!
In memory of Steve Jobs