How to Fix Printer Issues On Apple Mac

Introduction

If you're having issues with your printer it could be something as simple as just restarting the printer or your computer. Or it could be something more in depth, needing a full reinstall of your printer.
Printer disconnected icon.

1 Select Proper Printer

Sometimes, macOS could simply select the wrong printer.

  1. Open the document, mail, web page, or image you wanted to print.
  2. Select File > Print.
    macOS File menu with Print highlighted.
  3. In the Print menu, make sure your printer is selected at the top.
    Print dialog with Printer highlighted.

? Are you able to print now?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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If you're having issues with your printer it could be something as simple as just restarting the printer or your computer. Or it could be something more in depth, needing a full reinstall of your printer.
Printer disconnected icon.

Sometimes, macOS could simply select the wrong printer.

  1. Open the document, mail, web page, or image you wanted to print.
  2. Select File > Print.
    macOS File menu with Print highlighted.
  3. In the Print menu, make sure your printer is selected at the top.
    Print dialog with Printer highlighted.

The following illustrations are a general representation of what your printer's power button/switch may look like. Your power button / switch will vary depending on the manufacturer and model printer you have.

  1. Press the Power button on the front panel to turn the printer off. Wait a few moments, and then press the Power button again. This should restart the printer.
    Illustration of a user pressing the power button on the front of a printer.
  2. If the power button will not turn the printer off, turn off the printer by using the power switch at the rear of the printer, if your printer has one.
  3. Remove the power cords from the power sockets.
    Illustration of a common power rocker switch and removable power cable on the rear of a printer.
  4. Wait for 10 seconds.
  5. Reinsert the power cords into the power sockets and turn on the power switch if necessary.
  6. Press the Power button to turn on the printer on again.
  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. If your printer does not connect via Wi-Fi, it will connect directly to a computer with a USB cable. One end (1) goes into the computer and the other end (2) goes into the printer.
    Photo of a USB printer cable with the physical differences between the two ends being highlighted.
  2. Locate the USB cable that connects the printer to the computer. Ensure the flat end is plugged into the computer correctly and securely.
    Stock photo of a desktop computer with the available USB ports highlighted.

  3. Locate the USB port on the side or back of the printer. Make sure not to confuse it with the any other ports that might be next to it. Look for the USB symbol next to the port. The number and layout of the ports varies by printer. Ensure this end of the USB cable is plugged into the printer correctly and securely.
    Stock photo of the backside of a common USB printer highlighting the USB port it would use to be connected to a computer.

On Your macOS Computer

  1. Click on the Apple Menu and click on System Preferences.
    Screenshot of the macOS interface with the Apple logo in the upper-left corner highlighted, its menu expanded, and the system preferences option highlighted.
  2. Click Printers and Scanners.
    Screenshot of the macOS system preferences window with the printers and scanners icon highlighted.
  3. Select the name of your printer in the printers list, click Options & Supplies.
    Screenshot of the macOS printers and scanners window with the current printer selected within the left column, and the options and supplies button highlighted.
  4. Click the Supply Levels tab.
    Screenshot of the macOS options and supplies window open for the current printer with the supply levels button highlighted. It displays current ink levels.

On Your Printer

Every printer is different and the following steps are generalized. For explicit instructions on checking ink levels, consult your printer's documentation.

  1. Locate the Menu button of your printer and use the appropriate navigation keys to find a Status or Reports section.
  2. Print a Printer Information or Status page to see current toner levels.
  3. If it has one, your printer's screen may display ink/toner levels regularly.
    Assortment of printer screen screenshots that demonstrate how different printers provide ink level estimates within their own interfaces.
  4. Replace any cartridges that are flagged as being low or in a precautionary state.

The following illustrations are a general representation of what your printer's paper tray may look like. Your actual paper tray will vary depending on the manufacturer and model printer you have. However, most paper trays are made in a similar fashion.

  1. Slide the paper guides to their outermost positions.
    Illustration of an HP printer depicting the movement of the printer's paper tray guides.
  2. Load a stack of plain paper with the print side facing up into the input tray, and then slide the stack forward until it stops.
    Illustration of an HP printer depicting standard paper being inserted into the paper tray.
  3. Slide the paper length and width guides so that they are resting against the stack of paper.
    Illustration of an HP printer depicting the paper guides being adjusted to fit the size paper that was inserted into the paper tray.
  1. Click on the Apple Menu and click on System Preferences.
    Screenshot of the macOS interface with the Apple logo in the upper-left corner highlighted, its menu expanded, and the system preferences option highlighted.
  2. Click Printers and Scanners.
    Screenshot of the macOS system preferences window with the printers and scanners icon highlighted.
  3. Click Open Print Queue.
  4. To clear a stuck print job, click the x to the right of the print job.
    Print Queue with x highlighted
  1. Install the software that came with your printer onto your computer, following the prompts accordingly.
    Example of printer installer.

    If you are unable to locate your original disc, you may be able to download the installer from the manufacturer's website.

  2. During the installation, you will be prompted to connect the USB and allow the computer to detect the printer.
    Connect computer to printer via USB prompt.
  3. Finish up the installation once the printer is detected and connected to the computer.
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