Do you want to be able to print from your smartphone or tablet to a legacy non-wireless printer? To keep the printer in another room, perhaps even in a closet or shed (if it’s noisy), is it safe to know that the print job will be waiting for you when you go after it?

With Raspberry Pi, you can.

First Prepare the Raspberry Pi Print Server

It used to be the case that the only way to turn an old-style non-wireless printer into a modern wireless printer was to either buy a potentially expensive wireless card for the device (if it was compatible) or connect it to a wireless PC with support for This is more or less still the case; the only difference is that the PC has gotten a lot smaller and is now a Raspberry Pi.

If you have followed the instructions in our previous guide, you should know how to set up a Raspberry Pi print server using CUPS and Samba. We hope that you have also made sure that the correct printer driver is selected and that your printer will respond to print jobs.

By now you are in the know. The next task is to set up the Raspberry Pi print server to print from an iPad, iPhone, or Android device.

Devices you can print from

Our guide to setting up a Raspberry Pi as a print server was mainly for Windows computers (although connecting to a printer connected to a Raspberry Pi from Linux and Mac OS X is just as easy).


However, by adding support for AirPrint and other wireless printing protocols, we can print from iPads, iPhones, Android devices, and more.

Submitting print jobs from your mobile device is arguably the most liberated and exciting new experience wireless printing has made possible, and with a Raspberry Pi, you’ll learn a little about how a print server fits into the system.

Stop Your Raspberry Pi Wi-Fi Idling

Before you continue, you must stop the Pi’s network card from going into sleep mode, which will make it impossible for you to print. Without a keyboard connected (and we want the Pi print server to be available via SSH), the system cannot be woken up.

This means that your computer, tablet or phone will not be able to connect to the printer!

To get around this, we can add the following script to block the Pi from going to sleep.

Enter the following command in the terminal to create and edit a new text file:

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/8192cu.conf 

and add the following to this file:

 # Disable power saving options 8192cu rtw_power_mgnt=0 rtw_enusbss=1 rtw_ips_mode=1 

Give your Pi a chance to make these changes by rebooting:

 sudo reboot. 

Don’t worry about us turning off power management — the Raspberry Pi consumes much less power than any other device involved in this setup. It’s perfectly safe to keep your Pi powered on; this is often found in media center settings with RaspBMC.

What you need to know about adding AirPrint support

Once the wireless dongle timeout issue is resolved, you can start adding tools to enable printing from your mobile device.

However, it’s not as difficult as some sites and tutorials would have you believe. Recently, component software that prints via a Raspberry Pi wireless print server from an iPad or iPhone has been included in CUPS, Samba, and Raspbian.

As a result, printing on your iOS device is very easy after adding one app.

 sudo apt-get install avahi-discover 

It’s all. Once the installation is complete, you should be ready to start printing!

Printing from your iPad to a Raspberry Pi print server

On an iOS device (tested on iOS7), open a document or webpage and select » Share» > «Print» .


On the next screen, find the printer in the list of available devices (if you left the default name in place in the previous guide, it should have «raspberry pi» in the name) and select it.

It remains only to send the print job and wait for the output. Depending on the complexity of the file (it could be a long document or a photo), you may need to wait a bit for the print job to complete.

Wait, you can print from Android too!

If you’re wondering why we’ve focused on iOS devices, you’ll be pleased to know that Android devices can also connect to Raspberry Pi wireless print servers (unfortunately, Windows phones can’t at this stage)


Many printing apps exist for Android, but most of them are all about online printing. If you’re looking for something designed to provide easy communication between an Android phone and a printer that you’ve connected to a Raspberry Pi wireless print server, the PrintBot app (Limited Free Trial) is perfect. If you’re happy, you can upgrade to the full version ($4.49) — unfortunately there isn’t a 100% free wireless printing app for Android.

Once installed, all you have to do is confirm the network connection to the device, select the printer driver from the list (this may take a while if you have an HP device!) and print a test page to make sure everything works. If you want to print a document or image, click and select PrintBot as the application to open it, check the settings and finally click » Seal» .

Raspberry Pi Zen Print Server

We have given you two guides on how to use your Raspberry Pi as a wireless print server. The implications of this arrangement are clear — now you can finally make your old but still working printer another key component of your wireless, feature-packed life.

Have you set up your Raspberry Pi as a print server? Does it make a simple AirPrint compatibility project or the ability to print from your Android device this project you’re looking forward to?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Image Credits: Solarbotics Via Flickr

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