What to Do If Your Mac is Experiencing Problems Connecting to Your Printer


There is enough awareness that Macs are infamous when it comes to connection problems with printers. And it always seem to be an unlucky coincidence that it happens whenever you need to print an important document. The good news is, there are some troubleshooting steps that you can do first before claiming surrender and just head to a computer shop to have your printing needs done.

Check for Physical Connection

Here are the basic troubleshooting steps you need to do first:

STEP 1: Double-check the physical connection between the printer and your Mac.

STEP 2: If your printer is wireless, check the Wi-Fi signal and make sure it’s connected to your Mac via AirPrint.

STEP 3: Make sure also that there are no error lights or warnings on the printer’s display, if it has one.

STEP 4: If your Mac is not reliably connecting to a Wi-Fi printer specifically, start by verifying if the printer is in range of the router to isolate any spotty connection issue.

STEP 5: If needed, you may also try restarting the router and the printer by performing the following:

STEP 5a: Press and hold the power buttons on both devices for a few seconds.

STEP 5b: Press the power buttons again to power the devices back on.

If after performing the steps above and the problems still persists, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

Manually Add a Printer

One of the most common issues is that your printer is not being recognized automatically by your Mac as it should be. To troubleshoot your printer on the software side:

STEP 1: Click the Apple logo on the upper-left corner of your Mac’s screen, then select System Preferences.

STEP 2: On the System Preferences window, go to Printers & Scanners.

STEP 3: Click the plus (+) icon located at the bottom-left corner of the Printers list.

NOTE: From here, you have a few options:

  • Default will list any printers physically connected to your Mac. Select your printer form the list, and if your printer is not showing, continue on.
  • IP will allow you to connect a printer to your Mac if it is associated with your network — just enter the IP address.
  • The Windows option will display printers connected to a Windows PC that you can also connect to from the Mac. File sharing must be set up for this option to work.

Remove and Re-Add a Printer

STEP 1: Navigate back to Printers & Scanners in System Preferences.

STEP 2: If you see your printer listed, but the Mac is not communicating (for example, waiting print jobs), select the printer, then click the minus () sign to remove the printer entirely.

STEP 3: Now, power down the printer, disconnect it, and then plug it back in.

STEP 4: Wait for the printer’s name to re-appear in the Printers list.

STEP 5: If not, select the plus (+) icon in the Printers & Scanners settings to add it again.

Restore the Printer to Factory Settings

The restore and setup process will vary widely from model to model. It is best to search for the restore process pertaining to your particular model. However, you can attempt to do the steps below for a reset if your printer model’s instructions are not easily found:

STEP 1: Turn off the printer, and then unplug it from the power for a few seconds.

STEP 2: Plug the printer back to the power.

STEP 3: Press and hold your printer’s resume button.

Get Off macOS Public and Developer Betas

Running beta software can quite easily wreak havoc on various peripheral connections, both pysical and wireless. Therefore, if you are running a beta version of macOS and your issue has not yet been solved, attempt restoring to the general build of macOS. To do this:

STEP 1: Make copies of important files or any files you wish to keep.

STEP 2: Restart in macOS recovery.

STEP 3: Select Restore From Time Machine Backup, and then select a backup from your connected drive.

NOTE: If the files are just copied to a generic drive, click Reinstall macOS instead.

STEP 4: Follow the prompts to finish the restore process.

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