The ability to print documents from iOS is something that huge numbers of iPhone and iPad owners have been waiting for – it was a feature implemented by Apple when AirPrint was added, but this proved t be less than ideal for many users. Using Printopia for Mac, it is possible to share the printer that you have connected to your Mac so it can be used by your iPad or iPhone.
Unlike AirPrint, which has been found to be very fussy about which printers it will work with, Printopia for Mac can be used with virtually any printer regardless of make or model.
The app installs quickly as a system preferences pane, and the simplicity of the interface may initially lead you to believe that there is not a great deal to look forward to. But appearances can be deceptive, and in a matter of seconds you can start printing all manner of documents from your iOS devices. Whether you are working with a USB printer connected directly to your Mac, or a wireless printed connected to a network, Printopia enables you to share your printer so it can be used by iOS.
Select the Print option from an app on your iPhone or iPad and any printers that are connected to your Mac will be automatically detected and displayed. There is no need to configure printer sharing – the app just works. You can opt to customise the size of paper used when printing from iOS, but there is really very little configuration needed.
Remember that you need to have your printer connected to a Mac which is both online and accessible to your iOS device. Ideal if you have an always-on Mac Mini or an Airport Express network where your printer is connected directly to the Airport Express. Alternatively your printer could be connected to your base station or router.
The ability to print files from iOS may well be enough to make Printopia a worthy purchase, but the app also has more to offer. There is also the option of using a virtual printer to transfer documents to your Mac in a couple of screen taps. Select the ‘Send to Mac’ option and the current document will be transferred to your Mac as either a PDF or JPEG file. The similar ‘Send to Dropbox on Mac’ option can be used to transfer files via the online storage web site. This means that when you are away from your computer – perhaps travelling – you can quickly and easily send an important document to a storage space that can be automatically synchronised with your Mac.
A seven day demo of the app is available, and the full product costs a mere $9.95. If you have battled with AirPrint or want to print document from your iPhone or iPad without the need to first transfer them to your Mac, Printopia works almost flawlessly. The app is an excellent example of software that has been designed by a team that have recognised a problem and developed a tool to address that precise problem. The app has been built with one purpose in mind, and it does it amazingly well.
This article originally appeared at softwarecrew.co.uk