OS X: Sharing a Printer with Other Macs

| TMO Quick Tip

If you’ve got a printer hooked up to your Mac that doesn’t have Wi-Fi capability, you should know that you can still share that printer with the other computers on your network. And it’s really pretty simple too! First you’ll go to System Preferences> Sharing and toggle on “Printer Sharing”:

As you can see from my screenshot above, you can then choose which printers to share and with whom to share them. I recommend just leaving that third pane set to “Everyone,” as only folks who have access to your home network will be able to print to your device, anyhow, so it’s not much of a security risk. Afterward, all you’ve gotta do on your other Macs is visit System Preferences> Printers & Scanners and click the plus button to add a new device:

Then you’ll choose your shared printer from the list. Note that since it’s being shared from my computer, this HP has “@ Melissa’s MBA” after its name, and its kind is “Bonjour Shared.”

So select the printer in question, click “Add,” and then that computer can use your other Mac as a conduit for that device! Neato. The only caveat is that you may need to tell your sharing Mac to allow other machines to use its resources even while it’s sleeping; to do so, go to System Preferences> Energy Saver and turn on the “Wake for network access” option.

For more info on this waking feature, how it works, and troubleshooting problems with it, check out Apple’s support article on the topic. And hey, Apple, can we also figure out some way that our Macs can automatically dispense free ink into printers? I’m just saying. 

Comments

G8trDoc

Your article didn’t mention which version(s) of Mac OS X this tip worked for.

My iMac (running OS 10.9.3) is connected to my “shared” printer.

My wife’s Mac Mini ( running OS 10.6.8) was able to share my printer until I up-graded my iMac to Mavericks (OS 10.9.x) Now the shared printer feature no longer works.

FYI:  We both use the same WiFi router for internet connection.

It’s not worth the expense to buy my wife a new Mac or the hassle for me to down-grade back to Snow Leopard.  So now we just transfer items she wants printed via DropBox.  It’s a pain but I deal with it.

I was hoping your article would solve the problem for us. It didn’t.
*mild disappointment*

Lee Dronick

G8trDoc, can you can connect the printer to the router? That is how I have mine set up.

vpndev

G8trDoc: it’s possible that the OS upgrade subtly changed the printer’s identity.

Try deleting the shared printer in your iMac, and adding it again, with sharing. Then delete it on the Mini and see if you can add it. No promises but I suspect this may work for you.

ctopher

This is a great tip! I did this for awhile but then I got a Raspberry Pi!

If you’re a little bit geeky, this is a great option. The Bonus? It’s also an AirPrint server! So now I can print from IOS to my crappy USB only Samsung laser printer. The Downside? It can be kinda slow. But I earn geek cred every time I check the job status on the CUPS server web page!

G8trDoc

@ vpdev:  Tried that.  At first it didn’t work. The Mini couldn’t find the printer, in spite of the printer utility saying the printer was “ready.” When I went to print the dialog box would say, “Printer off line.”  I cycled the airport and WIFi network.  Still didn’t “see” the printer. Than after about 5 minutes the printer printed a test document that was in the Mini’s printer que.  I have no idea what was going on during the delay - but now the wife has access to my printer.
Thanks!

@ Lee Dronick:  My Comcast router has only has ethernet ports.  My printer is connected via USB. The Mini is about 20 feet away from the router - kinda clumsy for an ethernet cable across the room. Maybe, I’m missing something. Since vpdev’s suggestion got my wife’s Mini and the printer connected (for now) - I won’t mess with it anymore.

Thanks for the come-back(s)

Lee Dronick

Same here, the Uverse supplied WiFi router only has ethernet ports. What I did was bridge my AirPort to that router and then installed a USB hub so that the printers can be on the network. The Airport seems to have a stronger WiFi signal and is dual band so we connect to it instead of the 2Wire.

 

furbies

G8trDoc have you tried directly connecting the Missus’s Mac to the printer ?
Then do the usual “add the printer” in System Preferences, then do a test print to check, and if all is well directly connected, reconnect the printer to it’s regular Mac, and then, on the Missus’s computer in System Preferences, try adding the printer again. So you end up with local & remote versions of the Printer.
Then try printing and if it behaves.

I’ve done this with some printers, because sometimes, in the recent versions of the Mac OS, the OS offers to download the required drivers etc….

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