December 2, 2022

Can’t print? Try to reset your printer’s network configuration


Printers. The scourge of my existence.

Especially wireless printers. These assholes hate me or something; I am convinced of that, with the number of issues I see with them every week. Or maybe they hate us all and plan to kill us with little trouble that accumulates over time. Yeah.

Just a few sentences, and I’m already on the right track.

Either way, by solving most wireless printing issues, the Computer crowd joke – “Have you tried turning it off and back on?” – should always be your first step. Seriously, start there, with your printer misbehaving, your Mac itself if necessary, and then even your router. But if that doesn’t work, then another thing you can try (if you’re sure it’s a communication issue) is to reset your printer’s network configuration to its default value, which almost always solved these types of issues for me. An easy way to find out if you are in fact dealing with something related to the printer’s Wi-Fi connection is to open System Preferences> Printers & Scanners and click on the plus button as if you were going to add a device:

You will do this even if your printer is listed as already added. And yes, even if there is a green dot next to it indicating a connection. The reason is that if you click on the plus button, you will see all the devices advertising their services on your network, even if you are already using them:


As you can see my printer is not showing up so if it was on and looked ready to go I would be worried about its tiny little printer brain. What we would like to see is something like this:

Add macOS printer window with the printer displayed

If you see the one you’re trying to use and still can’t print, I would revisit System Preferences> Printers & Scanners, delete the printer, and then add it again. But if yours doesn’t show up at all, you’ll probably have to go to the printer itself and change its onscreen menus. What you find and how you fix it depends on the printer model; I usually start by printing out the network setup page (which is an option on most models) to confirm that the device is on the correct network, and if not then I will use the menus. to add it to home Wi-Fi. And I know these instructions are a bit vague, but that’s because each model is really different! So if you’re the person who catches you looking at a printer trying to get that damn thing to work, you may need to do a web search for “[printer model number] join Wi-Fi “or something similar to get the exact details.

Finally, however, a network option that doesn’t get much attention is called something like “Restore Network Settings” or “Reset Network Configuration”, which again will depend on your model. For my printer, for example, I can access this setting by tapping the wireless symbol on its home screen:

The Wi-Fi symbol on the printer is often the place to look for network status and settings

Then, under a small gear icon is the choice “restore”:

Option to restore network settings to the printer

If you select the associated option on your own printer, what will happen is that its network settings will all be reset to factory default settings. You’ll then need to add the device back to your network (searching online for instructions again if necessary), but I’ve seen this resolve all kinds of weird things, from printers not fully printing to ones that only work. from a single Mac in the household. And all of this using a feature most people don’t know about! It is convenient.

But still, the printers. Printers, man.

Are you all going to donate to my “Melissa No Longer Wants to Work on Printers” Kickstarter? Pretty please?

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