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Associate Dean
Posts: 7,948
Member Since: ‎11-28-2011
Message 1 of 2 (53,373 Views)

Basic Printer Troubleshooting Steps for Mac

[ Edited ]

Basic Printer Troubleshooting Steps for Mac


It’s not often that you will have trouble printing from a Mac.  They just work.  It’s what Mac’s do.  However, there are times when you will need to do some work to get a printer working with a Mac PC.  It’s not often, but it does happen.  Below are a few things you can try to fix these problems when they do come up.  Most of these steps are for OS X 10.8, but they should work on most versions of OS X.



The Printer’s Hardware


The first thing to check before doing anything else is the hardware.  If the hardware isn’t working, then there is no sense in trying to fix the software.  Checking the hardware is pretty easy. 

If the printer can make copies, make a color (black and white will work for black only printers) copy of something.  If the copy is successful, this will prove that the scan and print function of the printer work all at once. 

If the printer can’t make copies, hold down the cancel button on the front of it until a page prints.  If the page prints, you know the hardware is just fine.



Apple Software Update


Apple Software Update (ASU) doesn’t seem like a troubleshooting tool, but it kind of is.  Without the proper updates, the Mac may not see the printer as a compatible device.  It’s important to run ASU before you try to install any printer.  Even if no updates show up, the internal list of compatible devices gets updated.  Doing this simple thing can save you a huge headache.  For more information on ASU see the Apple document linked below.


Apple Software Update



Resetting the Print System


Resetting the print system on a Mac clears all print queues from the Mac, and any printer attached will have to be re-attached.  This is done to give the Mac’s printer queue list a fresh start.  It takes it back to the state it was in when the Mac was new without getting rid of any updates, important software, or drivers.  You can find more information about resetting the print system by following the link below.


Mac OS X: How to Reset the Printing System



Repairing Disk Permissions


Repairing disk permissions is actually something that can fix a lot of problems that can come up on a Mac.  What this does is go through all of the permissions the Mac needs to operate the different software and devices attached to it, and repair any disk permissions that it finds are in need of repair.  Typically disk permissions need to be repaired if you have uninstalled and reinstalled any software.  I couldn’t find a document that outlined this process, and no tutorials that I found were up to the standard that I like to use, so below is a short walk through on how to repair disk permissions.


To Repair Disk Permissions:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Search for and open Disk Utility.
  3. When Disk Utility opens, select the drive with the OS installed.
  4. Click on Repair Disk Permissions.
  5. Optional: Once the process is done, repeat it once more to make sure it gets everything.





These are just the basic steps for troubleshooting printer problems on a Mac.  If these steps don’t resolve the problem, then there could be any number of things happening, and you should make a post what the problem is and what you have already tried.  Make sure to include the printer’s model number, connection type, and the version of OS X that you have.  This will help the experts narrow down what could be happening.  I hope this helps. Smiley Happy

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Regents Professor
Posts: 8,710
Member Since: ‎11-27-2009
Message 2 of 2 (49,882 Views)

Re: Basic Printer Troubleshooting Steps for Mac

Great info here Shane, thanks!

Smiley Happy

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