Are you intimidated by the thought of setting up the printer on Mac? We know how difficult it can be if you’re a relatively new user of the Mac. But adding a printer to your MacBook isn’t as tricky as some might say. There are just a few steps you must follow, and voila!

If you have just switched from Windows to MacBook, it is understandable that you find adding printers difficult.

You will have to add a printer or multiple printers on a MacBook using the Printers and Scanners preferences. It is similar to the Printing Control Panel on Windows but with a little tweak.

Most of the time, once you add the printer to your MacBook, the macOS automatically downloads the relevant printer software using AirPrint.

Do not install the software that was referred by the manufacturer’s website or came with the printer. macOS doesn’t use software from a third party. For more information on this, check how does AirPrint work on macOS.

So, now that you have a tiny bit of details on how macOS works, let’s move on and find out how you can add a variety of printers to your MacBook.

How to Add a USB Printer to MacBook

Adding USB printers to MacBooks is relatively more straightforward. All you have to do is connect the USB printer to the MacBook via a USB cable.

The macOS will automatically detect the printer and download printer software. However, the process varies from printer to printer. You might have to follow a few steps to complete the integration for some printers.

  • You can start by preparing your Mac for the setup. Go to Printers and Scanners Preferences, select Printer Software, and see if there are any updates available that need to be downloaded.
  • Unpack your USB printer, follow the instructions manual with the device to add paper, and install toner or ink. Once you’re done, turn the printer on and check if it’s in the proper working order.
  • Attach the USB cable to the Mac and then connect it to the USB port on your printer. The macOS should be able to detect the printer automatically. If it shows a software update, download it, and the printer should start running afterward.

We would like to mention that if your MacBook has a single USB-C port, you should invest in a multiport adapter. You can connect the USB-C cable to a power supply and then connect it with the printer to enhance your system’s battery life.

How to Add a Network Printer to MacBook

You don’t need to do anything if you have connected your MacBook and printer to the same Wi-Fi network. Network printers can be easily detected if connected to the same network connection.

You can check this by opening the Self Service application and selecting the Printer pop-up menu. If the printer you’re trying to install is already available in the list, select Add Printer, and the system will initiate installation.

If the printer isn’t available in the printer pop-up menu, you need to add it by specifying its IP address. Here is how you can do it,

Add a Printer by Specifying Printer’s IP Address

Printers and Scanners Preferences

Go to Printers and Scanners Preferences and see if any updates are available for the printer software. You can skip this step if your printer or printers support AirPrint.


Now, prepare your printer for installation by following the instructions manual in the package. Add paper and install ink or toner. Also, before you attach the printer to the MacBook, please turn it on and ensure it’s not showing any errors.

For Wi-Fi Printer

If you bought a Wi-Fi printer, you must connect it with the MacBook using a USB cable. It will set up Wi-Fi printing very conveniently. Once you have connected the printer to MacBook, download the Mac software that you got with the printer.

You can use the printer’s setup assistant software to connect the Mac and the printer to the same network. Once both devices have been connected, disconnect the USB cable, and the printer should still be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Add Printer on Macbook

Add your connected printer to the printers list on Mac by clicking on Apple Menu, System Preferences, and then Printers and Scanners.

You can add a network printer by specifying the printer’s IP address. It is slightly longer but will install your device correctly on your MacBook.

How to Add a Bluetooth Printer to Macbook

If your MacBook arrived Bluetooth installed or using a Bluetooth adapter separately, you can easily print using a Bluetooth-enabled printer. You can follow the steps below and add a printer wirelessly to your MacBook efficiently.

  • Before connecting the printer to your MacBook, ensure the laptop runs on the latest macOS. Next, click System Preferences and then select Software Update. If there is the newest update available, start Downloading.
  • Set up your printer. Follow the instructions manual if you’re having difficulty setting it up. Then, add paper and load it with ink or toner. Make sure the printer doesn’t display any errors before pairing.
  • Open System Preferences again and clicks Printers and Scanners.
  • You can select your printer by clicking on the plus button and then on Add a printer.

Using a printer on MacBook is fun and very convenient. Once your printer is paired with the Mac, you can quickly start printing your documents by clicking the Bluetooth icon on MacBook and selecting Bluetooth Preferences.

It will show you a printer list of all nearby printers. You can find your printer model and pair it with a system in less than a minute. Add a printer to your Mac with a hassle-free process and print wirelessly with so much convenience and ease.

You can download the application ToothFairy, which is the perfect Bluetooth solution for all Apple devices. The app allows you to pair your MacBook with several Bluetooth devices, create shortcuts, and switch between them without hassle.

Once you start using ToothFairy regularly, you will never have to go through lengthy Bluetooth settings again.

How to Add a Wireless Printer to MacBook

A wireless printer can connect to the MacBook via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It is a relatively seamless process and won’t take much of your time. A wireless printer uses the same connection process as an IP printer.

Connecting a wireless printer to a Mac computer, you will have to turn on Wi-Fi or Wireless button on your printer and then press the WPS button on the router. But these steps will vary considering the printer model you currently own.

Most modern printers follow this internet printing protocol, so you should be fine. However, if you’re still confused, we suggest you go through your router’s and printer’s printing guides for more information.

Once you can setup WPS, you can go ahead with the steps mentioned below,

  • You can start by clicking the Apple icon on the top-left corner of your screen.
  • It will display you with a selection bar; click System Preferences.
  • Now click on Printers and Scanners. If you have an old Mac computer, you will see a Print and Scan option under Hardware.
  • You will be shown a list of printers. Below, there will be a plus sign. Click and add your printer by finding the printer’s name. You will see an Add Printer tab below Printers and Scanners for an older MacBook. You might also see a list of available printers detected by the MacBook. If you find your printer in the list, add it to your Mac.
  • Find the printer you would like to add. You can also open the Default Tab. It will have a printer list detected by your MacBook.

Install Latest Software Updates

Your Mac will need to install the latest software updates to run the printer efficiently on the device. It will do so by following either one of the below-mentioned steps,

  • AirPrint – Apple’s signature printing technology allows you to print from AirPrint-compatible printers via Bluetooth or WiFi. If your printer is incompatible with AirPrint, you will have to download relevant printing software on the MacBook via Apple’s servers or the manufacturer’s website.
  • If your printer has a print driver installed, it will update on the MacBook once you pair both devices.
  • If you don’t have the printer driver, you can Auto-Select and make sure the MacBook is connected to Wi-Fi. The system will automatically download the required printer driver, and you can start running the operation as soon as it is done.

Once the software has been downloaded, click Add a Printer to connect your printer to the Macbook.

How to disconnect an unused printer from your MacBook?

Now that you have read about pairing different printers on your Mac, let’s talk about removing one. If there is a printer that is not in your use anymore, you must remove it from your printer list.

This will free up additional space on your Mac while adding convenience when you pair new printers to your system.

Here is how you can disconnect a printer,

  • Click System Preferences and open Printers and Scanners.
  • Look for the printer you want to remove, click on it and then select the minus button.
  • It will ask you to confirm if you want to delete it.

You can download cleaning software to wipe all the existing files of the printer from your Mac. There are different software available that you can use for this purpose as per your choice.

Final thoughts

If you are finally purchasing a printer model for home or office use, we suggest you go for an AirPrint-enabled printer. This will help you save the time setup usually takes, and you won’t have to download printer drivers manually.

You can use wireless printers and Bluetooth printers, but make sure to pick from the latest models. Most printers deliver stellar results and ensure an effortless process if the most delinquent.