OS X: How to connect to an IP-based printer or AppleTalk printer via IP

Learn how to connect an IP-based printer and about IP alternatives for AppleTalk-based printers in OS X.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Before you begin

This article does not address every potential setup case for all IP-capable printers. Specific steps for adding an IP-capable printer to your network may vary from vendor to vendor. Check the documentation that came with your printer, or contact the manufacturer of the printer for assistance if needed.

For general information about adding a printer see Mac Basics: Printing in OS X

Make sure your printer is properly connected to the network, has power, ink or toner, and paper. Make sure there are no alerts on the printer's built-in display panel. If you cannot clear an alert on the built-in display panel, check the printer's documentation or manufacturer for support.

Next, use Software Update to make sure OS X and printer software are up to date.

IP-based network printers

Once you connect your printer to your network, it should have a numeric IP address. An IP address is a series of four numbers with no spaces, separated by periods, such as  You need to note the IP address of your printer, as well as the specific printer model you have.

Tip: You can use the Ping tool in Network Utility to make sure your Mac can connect to your printer using the IP connection. 

  • In Network Utility, after using Ping, if you see text similar to "64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=255 time=0.399 ms,, the IP connection to your printer was successful. Proceed with adding your printer.
  • In Network Utility, after using Ping, if you see text similar to "Host is down," the IP connection to your Printer is not established. You need resolve this issue before you can add the printer on your Mac. Consult the documentation for your printer, or contact the manufacturer for assistance with establishing the IP connection to your Mac.

To connect to an IP-capable printer

  1. From the Apple menu choose System Preferences.
  2. From the View menu choose Printers & Scanners.
  3. If the padlock icon in the lower left corner of the System Preferences window is locked, click it and enter an administrator name and password to unlock it.
  4. Click the Add printer (+) icon at the bottom of the Printers pane to open the Add Printer window.
  5. If the printer appears when the Default icon is selected, select it and skip to step 8.
  6. If the printer does not appear with the Default icon selected, click the IP button on the toolbar.
  7. IP printers have three printing protocols to choose from. Select the appropriate option for your printer. If you pick a protocol other than HP Jetdirect, you may have to manually select the appropriate PPD and installable options.
    • HP Jetdirect – Socket: Some HP and other printer manufacturers use this protocol.
    • Internet Printing Protocol – IPP: Modern printers and printer servers use this protocol.
    • Line Printer Daemon – LPD: Earlier printers and print servers may use this protocol.
  8. Click the Address field and enter the IP address of your printer.

    When your Mac communicates with your IP-capable printer  the message "Valid and complete address" appears below the Address field. If the message "Invalid or incomplete address" appears, make sure the IP address is properly entered and that it is the IP address configured on the printer. Next, your Mac establishes an IP connection to your printer and displays "Gathering printer information…". It then selects the associated printer driver in the Print Using menu.  

    If your Mac is able to communicate with the printer, but it is not able to automatically determine the print driver needed, choose the option "Select Printer Software…" from the Print Using pop-up menu in the Add Printer window. Enter your printer model in the search field to quickly find the appropriate driver. If the model of printer is not listed, but your printer is a PostScript printer or PCL Laser printer, try the "Generic PostScript" or "PCL Laser printer" driver options. Generic printer drivers may not let you access all the features of your printer.
  9. After your Mac finishes communicating with the printer, click Add to create your printer queue.

AppleTalk printers

AppleTalk is a networking protocol that is not supported in Mac OS X v10.6 or later. Many AppleTalk-capable printers also have support for IP-based printing protocols that can be used instead of AppleTalk. Check the documentation that came with your printer to see if this is an option.

If your printer can only use the AppleTalk protocol, the printer must be connected to, and then shared by, an appropriate AppleTalk-capable print server, or shared from a Mac OS X v10.5-based Mac. Mac OS X v10.6 or later based Macs can then print to the shared printer.

Learn more

  • Click here for PDF versions of the user manuals for Apple LaserWriter printers.
  • Click here for an HP article about how to connect your HP printer to your Mac
  • Click here for printer troubleshooting for AirPort Base Stations and Time Capsule
  • Click here for information about Bonjour 
  • Click here for information about Windows CIFS browse protocol
  • Click here for information about troubleshooting Windows CIFS protocol
  • Click here for HP's website
  • Click here for Canon's website 
  • Click here for Epson's website
  • Click here for Brother's website
  • Click here for LexMark's website
  • Click here for Samsung's website

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. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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