How to share a printer using an AirPort Extreme or AirPort Time Capsule

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[This article originally appeared on Macworld U.K.]

Apple’s AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule are great Wi-Fi base stations. You can also attach a printer to these devices for wireless printing.

Any printer with a USB or Ethernet connection can be made available on a wireless network. Here’s how it’s done.

Connect your printer

You need to update OS X before setting up a wireless printer, because OS X has software for each printer included in new updates. Choose Apple menu > App Store and click Updates, then Update All to ensure all your software is up-to-date.

Make sure your printer is set up correctly and that you can print directly from your Mac before getting it to print remotely. Connect the printer directly to the USB connection on your Mac and printing a test page.

airport utility mac icon

If your AirPort base station is new, it’s best to connect the printer to the device before running through the setup process, which is performed using AirPort Utility (Applications > Utilities).

Follow these steps to run your printer through an AirPort Time Capsule:

  1. If your printer has an Ethernet port, use an Ethernet cable to connect it to a spare Ethernet port on your AirPort. If your printer does not have an Ethernet port, connect it using USB.
  2. Open a document and choose File > Print.
  3. From the Printer drop-down menu, choose Add Printer.
  4. Choose the printer from the list. Check that Use is set to AirPrint and click Add.
  5. Now choose File > Print and click Print to print your document.

This story, "How to share a printer using an AirPort Extreme or AirPort Time Capsule" was originally published by Macworld U.K..

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At a Glance
  • Apple's AirPort Time Capsule is a strong 802.11ac router that provides 2TB of shared storage for media and client backups.


    • Very fast TCP throughput, thanks to its 802.11ac support
    • Three send and three receive antennas for each band (2.4- and 5GHz)
    • Integrated 2TB hard drive


    • An apparent bug in OS X is throttling real-world file-transfer speed
    • Slightly noisy cooling fan
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