Mac OS X offers a robust printing system with built-in support for hundreds of devices from a wide body of manufacturers. It's not without flaws, however, and printers often become unrecognized or non-functional after a significant Mac OS X update. Printers connected through hubs or AirPort base stations can also exhibit some frustrating issues.
Below is a run-down of the most generally successful printer workarounds. Keep trying until one of them sticks.
Try IP printing instead of AppleTalk Some Macs are unable to see AppleTalk printers that are located on the local AirPort (or other wireless) network. Several users have been able to workaround this issue by using IP printing instead of AppleTalk.
Try the following steps to use IP address printing:Print a test page from the network-connected printer (consult your specific model's manual for instructions on doing so)Your printers IP address should be displayed on the test pageOpen System Preferences and click on the Print & Fax paneClick on the Printing tab if it is not already selectedClick on the button below the printer list Click one IP Printer button at the top of the resulting window Select a protocol from the Protocol: menu. This step is an exercise in trial and error -- start with Internet Printing Protocol - IPP , then come back to this step and choose a different option if printing does not work. Enter the printer's IP address in the Address: field. If the printer is wirelessly connected, or connected via Ethernet to a router, the Location: field should be populated automatically. If the printer is connected directly to a Mac on the wireless network, enter the network name for that Mac in the Location: field. You can find the network name of a Mac by going to the Sharing pane of System Preferences, where it will be displayed underneat the computer name with the text "Other computers on your local subnet can access your computer at nameofcomputer.local."
Distorted output: Save as PDF If your printer output is distorted (prints smaller than expected, or off-center) you may want to exporting the document as PDF using the "Save as PDF" command in the print dialog box, then opening that document with the Apple Preview application, or another PDF reader and re-printing. This may side-step the distortion problems generated by printing directly from the original application.
Use Printer Setup Repair This tool lets you verify properties of the root user, the Printing Services (lp) user, and Print Operators (lp) groups, reset the printing system, perform CUPS maintenance and more. Run through its set of maintenance tasks before delving into further printer troubleshooting. See how to use it in this article .
Re-install CUPS If you are experiencing printer issues after applying an incremental Mac OS X update, problems may have occurred with your CUPS installation during the update process.
The file is available from this Web site: http://www.cups.org/software.php , and you should use the latest file with a .dmg extension.
Delete then re-add printers/Reset printing system Open Printer Setup Utility, located in Applications/Utilities and look at the "Printer List" Highlight and delete all entries.
Alternatively, go to the "Printer Setup Utility" menu at the top of the screen and select "Reset Printing System".
Click the "Add" button and re-add your printer(s).
Gutenprint and usbtb Some users have been able to resolve printer communication issues by installing the excellent open-source Epson printer drivers available as part of the Gutenprint package (formerly known as Gimp-print) and usbtb , a CUPS back-end for USB printing.Remove non-required drivers Removing extraneous drivers from /Library/Printers(name of manufacturer) can sometimes resolve printer issues. Remove files that are for other models than your own. Re-install drivers Re-installation of printer drivers from original media or from a Web download (either directly through the manufacturers site or via a search by model/manufacturer on VersionTracker ) can resolve some printer issues.
Try disconnecting from network In some cases, LAN-connected printer, seemingly broken by the Mac OS X update can restored to normal operation by simply disconnecting the device from the network then re-connecting it."Communicator Error" -- try power cycling If you receive a "Communication Error" message when attempting to print after updating to Mac OS X 10.4.5, the first workaround you should try is power cycling the printer, as well as disconnecting then re-connecting it to the Mac.
Connecting directly to the Mac If you are having printer problems and are using an external USB hub, try connecting the printer directly to your Mac.
One reader who had success with this method writes:
"Unfortunately the update to Mac OS X 10.4.6 has eliminated the ability to use my Lexmark Z600 series USB printer on my iMac G5 20" iSight (rev C).
"I resolved the problem via the following: I unplugged my external USB hub and plugged the printer directly to my computer."
Disconnect from AirPort and reset For those who are using printers connected to an AirPort Express, Extreme or another wireless device with USB connections, you might want to try the following:Disconnect the printer from the AirPort unit (or other router)Wait a few minutesPlug it back inRestart the base station unitCheck for your printer to appear in AirPort Admin Utility (located in Applications/Utilities)
Print one copy In some cases, using print one copy instead of the standard print command can result in elimination of crashes that occur during printing.Delete .plist files Though this workaround will erasing current printer settings , try deleting the following files from ~/Library/Preferences: com.apple.print.custompresets.plistcom.apple.print.PrintingPrefs.plistcom.apple.print.PrinterProxy.plistcom.apple.print.PrintCenter.plistcom.apple.print.favorites.plist
then re-establishing your printer in Printer Setup Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities/ by clicking the "Add..." button and following the on-screen steps.
Re-apply combo updater Try re-applying the current version of the Mac OS X combination updater, available from Apple's download page . Certain printer-related components can be damaged during the Mac OS X update process, or otherwise, and re-installing the combo updater may replace these faulty parts.
Last resort -- Archive and Install As a last resort, try performing the somewhat tedious Archive and Install process, then re-upgrading to the current version of Mac OS X.