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How to add a printer on macOS

Printers aren’t the most friendly devices to install on computers, regardless if you use a PC or a Mac. It doesn’t help that there are too many different makes and models of this type of device to count. Making a printer easy to install isn’t simple and when you have different operating systems to account for, it tends to get more complicated. What’s more, older printers are harder to install on newer systems with new hardware and new operating systems. Here’s how you can add a printer on macOS.

Add a printer

macOS is fairly good at automatically finding drivers for a connected printer. It just doesn’t install them automatically when you connect a printer. You have to initiate the installation but after that, it is simple.

Connect your printer to your Mac. Don’t worry if your printer is USB 2.0. The Mac, whether it’s a new one or an older one, will be able to detect it. Turn the printer on. Some printers can print a test page on their own without needing a command from a computer. If yours can do that, print one test page to make sure the printer is working correctly.

On your Mac, open the System Preferences and go to Printers and Scanners.

Click the plus button at the bottom of the column on the left. Based on what type of printer you have, go to the relevant tab. If it’s a simple printer connected via USB, you have to go to the Default tab. If it’s a network printer, go to the IP tab.

In the Default tab, macOS will scan for connected printers. Once it finds the printer, it will install it. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes at most.

Once installed, the printer will appear in the list of printers in the Printers and Scanners preference. If it’s currently connected to your Mac, and turned on, it will show as an ‘online’ printer.

If you have a network printer, it’s going to be a little more complicated to set it up. This is because you need to enter the IP address of the printer so that your Mac can find it. That’s the only tricky part.

To find the IP address of a network printer on macOS, you should consult the printer manual. Normally, for network printers, there is a way to display the IP address either via a settings panel or by holding down a certain button.

Enter the IP of the network printer in the Address field. It’s possible the macOS is able to scan the network for available printers and automatically fills it in but if it doesn’t, you can do it manually.

Once the information has been added, macOS will install the printer the same way it does the USB one.

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