How to add a printer to Mac?


Many people use digital means to transfer documents, files, and such data to other users. Solutions currently allow e-signatures and document editing, but the need for printing is still important in some industries. Whether for professional or personal use, investing in printers is valuable for people who need to create physical copies of their files, like photo printing, documents for school, etc.

However, while Mac users do get a printing functionality, it is more complicated to add a printer to a Mac device. You must follow specific processes like Bluetooth, WiFi, USB, etc., to connect the printer to the Mac system. Learn about all of the related steps in this post.

Why is connecting printers to Mac devices considered to be complex?

The setup sequence for Macintosh printers could be more user-friendly. Instead, users need to focus on configuring the printers specifically with the device model one is using for the right connections.

The instructions are not the same for all of the printer types available, like all-in-one/printer-only devices, those with monochrome/color settings, etc.,) connection type (Bluetooth/WiFi/USB), the manufacturer, etc. The modern printer devices for Mac with the AirPrint printing feature of Mac are easy to use typically.

So, learning about how a user can add a printer to a Mac is valuable for users.

Best Ways to Add a Printer to Mac 

Multiple ways are available depending on the device’s software and hardware conditions. After carefully trying out each version, here are the findings on how each method works for the printer-to-Mac connection.

Method 1: Add a printer to Mac via WiFi

One of the most common methods for adding a printer device to the Mac is connecting it via the WiFi Protected Setup or WPS. This is suitable for users who want to add a printer to a Mac wirelessly and if you have a printer that supports WiFi connectivity.

How to do it?

Step 1: Get your printer and tap on the button with the WiFi or Wireless icon. Do the same on the router device you are using for the WPS button.

Remember that the steps here to activate the Wireless connection and WPS can differ for the router and printer models one uses. So, go through the user guide of these devices you own to understand how to switch them on.

Step 2: Tap on the Apple menu and go to System Preferences.

Step 3: Then click on Printers & Scanners.

Printers & Scanners

Step 4: From the lower-left side of the screen, click on the add (+) icon.

Step 5: Choose your preferred printer. See that printer’s driver option or software under the “Use” field. Three variations are common:

  • AirPrint: Apple-centric technology that allows a full-quality printing mechanism without additional software installation.
  • Auto-Select– Some printers come with the Auto Select option for instant printer driver downloading and activation benefits.
  • Available Printer driver– The installed driver for printers can appear in the “Use” category.
Printer driver

Step 6: Click the Add button.

Method 2: Add network printer type via IP address

For users trying to add a printer to a Mac that is of the network printer variety but it is not easily visible in the list, inserting it in the form of an IP printer is suitable. Printers that support specific printing protocols are eligible here. These protocols include HP Jetdirect (Socket), AirPrint, Internet Printing Protocol (IPP), and Line Printer Daemon (LPD).

Remember that some printers with these printing protocols have limited features, so choose carefully. For the connection process, take note of the printing protocol of your chosen printer, hostname/IP address, and name of the printer software/model number. If it works with a queue system, learn the queue name too.

How to use this?

Step 1: On the Mac device, see the manufacturer page online for the device to check for updates. For users with the AirPrint printer type, this step is unnecessary.

Step 2: Follow the instructions in the printer’s manual to set it up properly, like installing the toner/ink and adding the paper. Then, turn the device on and check for errors.

Step 3: Continue with the given instructions for connecting the printer to the network for your respective printer model. This varies for diverse printer types, so read the manual for your device specifically in this step.

Step 4: On the Mac, go to the Apple menu, choose System Settings/System Preference (depending on the macOS version), and go to Printers & Scanners.

Step 5: From the right, tap the “Add Printer, Scanner, or Fax” button > IP button. Insert all information related to the IP printer here.

Add Printer

Method 3: Add a printer to Mac using a USB cable

Some printer types are rare with network or Bluetooth connectivity support. For these devices, syncing via USB is the available option.

Plug the printer into the Mac device using the USB cable. After the two devices connect, the Mac system detects the printer device and acquires the respective driver automatically into the system.

You must manually handle some steps if the printer does not automatically download and connect to the driver.

How to do this?

Step 1: Open the Apple menu > System Preferences.

Step 2: Choose Printers & Scanners.

Step 3: Tap the add (+) icon and choose the printer.

Step 4: Press the Add button.

Method 4: Add the printer to Mac via Bluetooth

Some Mac devices have Bluetooth connectivity support. Or, in some cases, users are working with the USB Bluetooth adapter. In these cases, it is possible to attach the printer to the Mac system via Bluetooth and activate the printing process.

How to do this?

Step 1: On your computer, check the manufacturer’s page for the printer you use to check for any available updates.

Step 2: Follow the instructions given in the manual that came with your printer system to understand how to unpack the device and add toner/ink/paper. Switch it on and follow the instructions for connecting the device via Bluetooth.

Step 3: Go to Apple menu > System Settings > Printers & Scanners.

Step 4: Tap on the “Add Printer, Scanner or Fax” button > Default.

Step 5: Choose your Bluetooth printer and tap on Add.

Step 6: A prompt for downloading new software will appear after connecting. Download it and then install it.

Method 5: Add a mobile/WiFi printer to Mac with a Configuration Profile

In some network printer types, the user must prepare a configuration profile for installation. When users are operating the AirPrint technology, this makes the printer discoverable via the network. So, if you get the prompt to install the configuration profile on your system, copy or download the printer profile and install it on your Mac.

How to do this?

Step 1: Open your Mac computer and double-click on the profile to launch it.

Step 2: Tap on Continue when the prompt for profile installation comes up.

Step 3: Next, another prompt will come for installation confirmation. Tap on Install, then.

Step 4: The profile will be accessible via General > Profiles.

Add your printer to the list via the Apple menu > System Settings > Printers & Scanners. Next, tap on “Add Printer, Scanner or Fax” > Default.

 System Settings

Step 5: Choose AirPrint Profile under the Printers section and press Add.

Bonus: How to Remove Printer from Mac?

After adding and using the printer on Mac, it is possible to remove it as well. Disconnecting the printer after usage is necessary if you are not using the device non-stop and then free space in the computer.

Printers can create many extra files during installation and usage, so use suitable software like CleanMyMac X to remove junk files.

How to do it?

Step 1: Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Printers & Scanners.

Step 2: Choose the printer to remove and click on the minus (-) button beside it. Confirm again.

Step 3: Launch the CleanMyMac X software after installation on your device. Choose Cleanup > System Junk.

Step 4: Tap the Scan button to search for unnecessary printer files.

Step 5: Hit the Clean button to remove.

CleanMyMac X


To sum up, integrating the printer solution with a Mac device is complex and requires a focused approach with different available techniques. First, consider which one you can use on your device, like if you prefer to use WiFi or a USB for an offline connection.

Also, check the specifications of the printer device to understand if it is compatible with your Mac. Then, proceed with which method of connecting the printer you find suitable.

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