Connect a Wi-Fi printer to your Wi-Fi network in OS X

Learn about how to connect a Wi-Fi printer to your Wi-Fi network.

Overview

Configuring a Wi-Fi printer is a two step process:

If your printer isn't a Wi-Fi printer, but supports USB, you may be able to share it on your Wi-Fi network via the USB port of an AirPort Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, or AirPort Express base station. See Uses for the USB port of AirPort Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express and Using a USB printer on your AirPort network.

Before you start

  • Be sure you know your Wi-Fi network name (SSID) and its password.
  • If your Wi-Fi network has access restrictions such as MAC address filtering, you will need to add the MAC address of your printer to your AirPort base station via AirPort Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities).

Important: This article doesn't address every potential contingency for all Wi-Fi printers. Specific steps for adding a Wi-Fi printer to a Wi-Fi network vary from vendor to vendor. You should consult the documentation that came with the printer for specific details, or contact the manufacturer of the printer for assistance.

Adding a Wi-Fi printer that lets you select a Wi-Fi network through the printer's built-in controls or screen

Some Wi-Fi printers may not ship with Wi-Fi networking turned on. Consult the documentation that came with the printer for information about enabling Wi-Fi on the printer.

If you can choose a Wi-Fi network via the Wi-Fi printer's built-in touchscreen/buttons/controls, follow these steps. If you are not sure, consult the documentation that came with your printer or that can be accessed on the manufacturer's support website.

  1. Using the printer's built-in touchscreen/buttons/controls, select your Wi-Fi network. If prompted, enter the Wi-Fi password needed for the printer to join the Wi-Fi network. Your Wi-Fi printer should then be connected to your Wi-Fi network. Refer to your printer documentation or contact the printer vendor for details and support.
  2. In OS X, add the printer via the "Add Printers" dialog box, or select it from the list of "Nearby Printers" found in the "Printer:" pop-up menu in your print sheet. See this article for details about how to add a printer.

Adding a Wi-Fi printer that does not let you select a Wi-Fi network via the printer's built-in controls or screen

Some Wi-Fi printers might not ship with Wi-Fi networking turned on. Consult the documentation that came with the printer for information about enabling Wi-Fi on the printer.

Three general methods you can use to connect to your Wi-Fi network are described below. Choose the one that best matches your printer's capabilities; for example, if it can be configured via USB or via an ad-hoc network (consult the documentation that came with the printer if you don't know).

Method 1: Connect the printer to your Mac via USB temporarily, then use the printer's setup assistant to get the printer to join the Wi-Fi network (if applicable)

You can use these steps if your printer can be connected to your Mac via a USB cable, and if it includes printer setup assistant software. If not, consider method 2 or 3 instead.

  1. Connect your printer to your Mac via USB.
  2. Install the software that came with the printer.
  3. Open the setup assistant application installed with the printer software to configure the printer to join the Wi-Fi network.
  4. During the setup assistant process, there should be a step in which you will be asked choose your network—choose the name of the Wi-Fi network that you noted earlier. If your Wi-Fi network has password protection, enter the password.
  5. Once this process is complete, you can disconnect the printer from the USB port on your Mac and delete the USB printer queue created in step one.
  6. Open the Print & Fax pane in System Preferences, then add the Wi-Fi connected printer via the "+" button. See this article for details about how to add a printer.

If the printer is unable to join the Wi-Fi network, consult the documentation which came with it or contact the vendor for support.

When the printer is configured, you do not need to follow other steps in this article.

Method 2: Temporarily connect your Mac to the printer's ad-hoc Wi-Fi network (if applicable)

You can use these steps if your printer generates an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network for configuration purposes, and if its software includes a printer setup assistant application. If not, consider methods 1 or 3 instead.

Note: Ad-hoc networking is useful to configure your printer to join your Wi-Fi network. However, you should use the ad-hoc network only to configure the printer for your regular Wi-Fi network, not for printing. You should not use it for printing because you cannot simultaneously access the home Wi-Fi network and the Wi-Fi printer.

  1. Install the software that came with the printer.
  2. Enable the printer's ad-hoc network. if necessary consult the documentation that came with the printer for more information.
  3. Via the Wi-Fi menubar item, temporarily associate your Mac with the printer's ad-hoc network. Consult the documentation that came with the printer if you're not sure what the ad-hoc network name generated by the printer may be.
  4. Open the setup assistant application installed with the printer software to configure the printer for your Wi-Fi network.
  5. During the setup assistant process, there should be a step in which you will be asked choose your network—choose the name of the Wi-Fi network that you noted earlier. If your Wi-Fi network has password protection, enter the password.
  6. Once the process is complete, your printer may restart to join your Wi-Fi network.
  7. Reassociate your Mac with your regular home Wi-Fi network via the Wi-Fi menubar item in Mac OS X.
  8. Open the Print & Fax pane in System Preferences, then add the printer via the "+" button. See this article for details about how to add a printer.

When the printer is configured, you do not need to follow other steps in this article.

Method 3: Associate the printer to your Wi-Fi network via WPS (if applicable)

You can use these steps if your printer supports WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) connections. Consult the documentation that came with the printer if you aren't sure. Otherwise, consider methods 1 or 2 instead.

If you have a Apple AirPort base station or AirPort Time Capsule:

  1. Open AirPort Utility v6.2 or later (located in /Applications/Utilities). Tip: Install the latest version of AirPort Utility if you haven't already.
  2. Click the AirPort device icon in AirPort Utility and enter the base station password if prompted.
  3. From the Base Station menu, choose Add WPS Printer...
  4. There are two types of WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) connections: First Attempt and PIN. Choose the one that your printer supports. Consult the documentation that came with the printer if you aren't sure.
    • If your printer supports the First Attempt connection method:
      1. In AirPort Utility, select the First attempt option then click Continue.
      2. Push the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button on the printer. You should see the MAC Address of the printer appear in the AirPort Utility, click Done.
    • If your printer supports the PIN connection method:
      1. In AirPort Utility select the PIN option, then click Continue.
      2. Enter the PIN number that is either hard-coded in the printer or displayed on the control panel of the printer.

If you are using a third-party Wi-Fi router: Consult the documentation that came with the router of contact the vendor for support.

Important: If the Wi-Fi  printer is unable to join the network, consult the documentation that came with the Wi-Fi printer, or contact the printer vendor for support.

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Risks are inherent in the use of the Internet. Contact the vendor for additional information.

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