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How to print from your smartphone

The basics

To print from a tablet or smartphone you need a few things. The first one, obviously, is a tablet or smartphone.

It helps, though if you have a newer model running the latest software from Apple or Google. Older operating systems aren't going to have the range of features or run the necessary apps correctly.

You're also going to need a compatible printer. For computer-less printing, it will need to be wireless so it can connect to your network or, in some cases, the internet. Some printers include Bluetooth, which can work with mobile gadgets as well.

Just getting a wireless printer isn't enough. Both Apple and Google have their own printing systems called AirPrint and Google Cloud Print, respectively. You want your printer to be compatible with these.

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Of course, most printers' manufacturers now have their own printing app. You install it on your gadget and can use it to print to the printer over a network, or even over the internet. Search the Apple or Google app store for your printer manufacturer to see what is available.

With this many options available, be sure you get a printer that has as many as possible. Even if you only have Apple gadgets right now, for example, you never know if you might switch to Android in the future. You want a printer that also works with Google Cloud Print, or has an Android-compatible app.

Find recent lists of AirPrint compatible printers here and Cloud Print compatible printers here.

What if you already have an older wireless printer that isn't necessarily "compatible"? Before you chuck it, try the app Paper Hammermill (Android, Apple; Free). This can print directly to most wireless printers.

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