You have purchased a new printer or a new multifunction device and now want to start printing out your documents, photos, etc. In order for this to work, you have to connect the printer, i.e. connect it to your computer or mobile device using a USB cable or WLAN. It doesn’t matter whether you use Windows, iOS or other operating systems; only the paths that lead to the goal are a little different. You can also visit our site and read the blog post how to remove printer ink from hands?
Connecting vs. installing: the subtle difference
Before confusion can set in and you start wondering where the helpful instructions for installing your printer went, here’s a tip: When we say “connect the printer” in this article, we don’t mean the complete installation of your printer , since these are different and usually somewhat more complex processes. But don’t worry: we won’t leave you out in the rain when it comes to printer installation either. You can find detailed instructions and troubleshooting in our dedicated article “Installing a printer”.
Connect the printer: plug in the cable and off you go (?)
Even at a time when WLAN and Bluetooth are enjoying constant and growing popularity, the most common method of connecting a printer is via a cable – at least if the device is to be permanently connected to a computer. This is mostly the case when the printer is used by a single person in the household or in the office, because then it is not necessary to grant access to several users at the same time and to treat or set up the device as a network printer.
Connect printer via USB
Nowadays, this is the most common method of connecting a printer via cable: simply use one of the USB ports on the computer or printer and a suitable cable. Incidentally, USB stands for “Universal Serial Bus” and represents a specially developed system for connecting computers and external hardware (such as hard drives, memory sticks, cameras, microphones or even printers) with one another. The system has been on the market since 1996 and has now reached the USB 3.2 version (transfer rates of more than 10 GB per second).
Connect printer: Use USB connection with Windows
With a few simple steps, the connection between printer and PC is established. Just do the following:
- Place the printer close to the computer. Make sure that the connecting cable is not live. In addition, you should be able to reach the printer easily and be able to unplug cables and network plugs quickly and easily if necessary.
- Boot up the computer and turn on the printer. As a rule, you will find a push button on the device that either shows the standardized power icon or on which “Power” or “On/Off” can be read.
- As soon as the devices are switched on and booted up, establish the connection between the printer and the computer via the cable.
- The installation of the required driver software usually starts automatically; depending on your security settings, you will be asked in advance whether you want to carry out the installation. In this case, follow the instructions or find out about the further steps in our article linked above.
If the installation does not start automatically, proceed as follows:
Open the Start menu by clicking the Windows icon in the lower left corner of your desktop.
– There you go, depending on the Windows version, either to “Control Panel” (Windows 7/8) or to “Settings” (Windows 10)
– Here you look for the item “Devices and Printers” or “Devices”.
– There you look specifically for printers and the option “Add a printer or scanner”
– The connected printer should now be displayed. Click on “Add device” and then follow the further instructions.
Connect printer: Use USB connection with Mac
Connecting a printer to a Mac via a USB cable is not rocket science either, but it should be explained step by step at this point:
- First, you should update your Mac to ensure you have all the latest patches and drivers installed.
- Then place the printer near your computer (see the way described above).
- Connect the printer to power and turn it on.
- Connect the Mac to your printer using the USB cable. If your Mac doesn’t have a regular USB port, you’ll need a USB-C to USB adapter.
- Once this is done and the connection is complete, your Mac should automatically guide you through the rest of the installation.
Connect the printer to the Fritz!Box
If you want to use your printer as a network printer and connect it directly to your Fritz!Box, we also recommend connecting via a USB cable because, as already mentioned, these connections are still widely used and ensure the transfer of data at a reasonable speed. For the connection or the first installation steps, please proceed as follows:
- First open the user interface of your Fritz!Box (see here)
- Select the “Home network” item in the left menu and then click on “USB devices”
- In the tab, select the remote port shown under USB devices
- In this field you will then find the option “Printer (incl. multifunction printer)”, which you must deactivate.
- Now click on the “Apply” option to complete the connection between the printer and the Fritz!Box.
Connect printer via LAN cable
This method, while a bit outdated, may still have its followers: connecting the printer using a router and a LAN cable. However, this method is designed more for shared apartments or small work groups, since several computers can also access the device here.
- First, connect a LAN cable to your router.
- Next, connect this cable to your printer.
- Then turn on the printer.
- The printer should then be displayed under the router with the corresponding IP address.
- If the installation of suitable drivers from the Internet is not automatically suggested to you or if it does not start immediately, you will probably have to use the enclosed software CD to complete the installation.
Connect printer: Use WLAN for wireless printing
If the printer is to be used by several people in the household, by individual members of a work group in the office, if you mainly control the printer via mobile devices or simply prefer to avoid using cables wherever possible, you will find it difficult to use your printer WLAN much more promise. How the connection via wireless technology works is explained in more detail below.
Connect printer under Windows via WLAN
In the following we show the most common ways to connect a printer to the computer via WLAN or to a mobile device. Basically, we always recommend that you study the instructions for use when purchasing a new device or download the manual from the Internet (usually to be found on the website or in the support center of your printer manufacturer); the installation steps can usually also be easily understood there.
- First check your printer’s network connections. In most cases, an Ethernet interface is available as an additional option; some printers, on the other hand, can only be connected to a WLAN network via Ethernet.
- When positioning your printer, make sure it is not too far from your router. Otherwise, communication between the two devices will be more difficult, which can lead to print failures and other problems.
- Turn on the printer and, if necessary, connect it to your router with an Ethernet cable.
- Consult the user manual or the Internet for specific instructions on setting up a network.
If you want to connect a printer, with modern devices it is often sufficient to simply establish the connection via a cable or a wireless network. Installation as such should not be confused with simply connecting the device; however, the technology is now so sophisticated that the installation process is initiated automatically once you have successfully connected your printer or multifunction device to the computer.