Considering an AirPrint printer, are the options sane?

Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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Thailand
I realise the thread title may sound odd, but bare with me and you'll understand my logic.

I've been using a Canon Pixma 2700 series (basically a 'standard' A4 stand alone printer) for several years, no issues at all - it worked well. When I initially installed Mojave, I couldn't install drivers for it - macOS said it can't find drivers, and to check with the manufacturer, Canon's website says macOS drivers are provided by Apple automatically.

Anyway - after talking to Apple support for a while, and then digging some more a subsequent day, macOS suddenly said it had drivers - it seems perhaps the driver catalogue on Apple's end was updated/restored.

However, and this is the problem that prompts the heading: the driver that's now available from Apple has a ridiculous number of options removed from the general printer pages option panes, and crammed into a list under "Printer Features".. I have, I kid you not, 3 options for "print quality", 2 options for "grayscale" (one of which has "on", "off", and "2", whatever the heck that means). Today we needed to produce some copies of documents I'd scanned for a visa extension (we need them often, so its easier to just keep scanned PDFs and print out the pages needed at the time) and despite setting any and all grayscale options to "grayscale" (or "2", essentially anything except "off") the documents came out.... IN COLOUR.

One of them we did manage to get in grayscale I think by not setting one of the print quality options (we generally pick fine quality for these documents as often they involve stamps on the originals that aren't particularly bright even on the original) but it's not clear at all what options affected it.



ANYWAY. As much as buying new hardware to fix a stupid software problem goes against my general ethos, I'm now considering just buying a newer printer, and AirPrint seems like it might actually be useful here (as it's not dependent on device-specific drivers, as I understand it), and wifey will love the ability to print stuff from her iPad or what have you.

So my question is this: can anyone (preferably with some actual in depth knowledge, but end-user experience is sure to be helpful) comment on AirPrint in general? Am I still going to end up plugging the printer in via USB and installing a driver to get advanced features, or does AirPrint sufficiently cover all printer features? Do any manufacturers specifically implement it better or worse than others?


I'm not overly brand loyal on this, but I've been pretty happy with the Canon we have so I'd probably default to another Canon, maybe something like the Pixma iX6870.
 

Cruz3LT

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2019
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Seattle, Washington
I use one of the Epson EcoTank printers, the model that I have is ET-2550 and I love it. It does not drink ink at all and it is really easy to print from any of my Apple devices.
 

Mitthrawnuruodo

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Mar 10, 2004
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Bergen, Norway
I use one of the Epson EcoTank printers, the model that I have is ET-2550 and I love it. It does not drink ink at all and it is really easy to print from any of my Apple devices.
We've been similarly happy with our Epson XP-960.

Works out perfectly from our Macs, iPads and iPhones via Airprint in colour or grayscale, and it's never been connected to anything, except over wifi. :)
 

Mitthrawnuruodo

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Mar 10, 2004
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Bergen, Norway
Ok, so all the features (I guess not scanning, but printing related) work via AirPrint?
Scans nicely (over the air) to a Mac, at least (haven't tried scanning to an iOS device). :)

Edit: The printer (all in one) actually stands in an adjacent room, so it was never intended to connect via USB or whatever. We bought it for the wireless features (and its lovely A3 borderless printing), and we are - as mentioned - very happy with it.
 
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Mitthrawnuruodo

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Mar 10, 2004
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Bergen, Norway
NP, one thing though, if you go the Epson route, is that I don't like the default installation settings for the printer, and "force" it to use standard Airprint driver (and not Epson's own). I might lose some options, but I gain simplicity, like one checkbox for Two-sided or not, and another for Colour vs Black/White, all from the "simplest" print screen (the "hide details" option):

Edit:

 
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Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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Thailand
I gain simplicity, like one checkbox for Two-sided or not, and another for Colour vs Black/White, all from the "simplest" print screen
That's literally what started me down this route: the removal of a simple "grayscale" checkbox, and a simple "print quality" choice, replaced instead by multiple, duplicated confusing options.


I write software (often run from the command line, and often with a technical audience) for a living, and I can't imagine who wrote this **** and thought "yeah that makes sense".
 
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colodane

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Nov 11, 2012
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if you go the Epson route, is that I don't like the default installation settings for the printer, and "force" it to use standard Airprint driver (and not Epson's own).
How does one go about changing the driver from Epson to to "standard AirPrint" ? Is the process different between MacOS and iOS ?
 

Mitthrawnuruodo

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Mar 10, 2004
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How does one go about changing the driver from Epson to to "standard AirPrint" ? Is the process different between MacOS and iOS ?
You need to know the Address/Name of the printer on your network. (This can be done by installing it with default settings first in System Preferences > Printer & Scanners, then removing it again once you've found that.**)

Then, the next time you add a printer change to the IP tab in the Add window (not default), and use the Name above (should look like epson***** or epson*****.local, there's a little label under the window that it's a valid address or not), and use Airprint protocol.

If done right the printer's Kind (on the Printer & Scanner overview window), should be EPSON XP-960 Series-AirPrint (and not "just" EPSON XP-960 Series.


** You find that in System Preferences > Printers & Scanner > Choose printer > Option & Supplies... under Device name (just change the _local with .local or remove it altogether).


Edit: I've no problem printing from iOS, every option works flawlessly "out of the box", it's just (the new) Mac installer/driver that irks me. :)
 
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jimthing

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Apr 6, 2011
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I’d go for a HP machine (a mid-size model, ~£100-150) with a simple "Instant Ink" plan. I use the cheapest £1.99/mth option, but there are larger tiers for those that print more. Easy large filled carts, with no mess with refilling a tank or anything.

Yes that's a massive £24/yr for ink!!

...that's a joke BTW, as my previous buy-carts-as-needed machines, the cart would be half empty and fail to print properly or dry up if not used for 3-4 weeks or the print head on the cart might fail, thus ink wasted and with carts costing £15-25 EACH (one for colour, one for bw = makes that double), often meant I was buying a £20 cart each month anyway, thus £24/yr is a bargain for me, or even the higher tier for higher print needs would be good.
 

colodane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
789
254
Colorado
You need to know the Address/Name of the printer on your network. (This can be done by installing it with default settings first in System Preferences > Printer & Scanners, then removing it again once you've found that.**)

Then, the next time you add a printer change to the IP tab in the Add window (not default), and use the Name above (should look like epson***** or epson*****.local, there's a little label under the window that it's a valid address or not), and use Airprint protocol.

If done right the printer's Kind (on the Printer & Scanner overview window), should be EPSON XP-960 Series-AirPrint (and not "just" EPSON XP-960 Series.


** You find that in System Preferences > Printers & Scanner > Choose printer > Option & Supplies... under Device name (just change the _local with .local or remove it altogether).


Edit: I've no problem printing from iOS, every option works flawlessly "out of the box", it's just (the new) Mac installer/driver that irks me. :)
Thank You Mitthawnurodo !