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AirPrint gateway for Apple iOS devices

External references

  • This site has a detailed explanation by Rohan Kapoor. The recipe below is slightly different, but you Rohan's page may be helpful.

Install CUPS

Do the following to install CUPS. CUPS is the unix printing system used by OSX and Linux, see also the CUPS web site.

On the commandline:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cups-pdf cups-driver-gutenprint
sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi

The last line makes your default Pi user pi a printer adminsitrator, which is helpful when configuring the printer.

After this CUPS is up and running…but not accessile over the network

Network access to the CUPS Webinterface

Although CUPS is running, it's webinterface is not accessible over the network. When you're accessing your Pi over the network, you need network access to conveniently CUPS on your Pi.

The following is similar to this page:

You should edit the config file /etc/cups/cupsd.conf, on the command line:

sudo nano /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

Look for the following line:

Listen localhost:631

And replace it with:


This will open up remote access to the CUPS web interface.

You should also modify the security settings to allow remote access in /etc/cups/cups.conf. To do so find all lines like these (3 occurences in total):

<Location /....>
  Order allow,deny

Change them by including a line Allow All like this:

<Location /....>
  Order allow,deny
  Allow All

This opens CUPS access from anywhere on your network…. and even the internet if you don't have a proper firewall. So be careful!

Adding a iOS6 specific mime type

For some reason iOS6 requires your printer to be able to handle the URF format. It's not that it's really used (yet), but in the future it may be - at this time URF seams equivalent with PDF.

To make CUPS pretend to be able to handle URF a few files need to be added. With the command line do:

sudo nano /usr/share/cups/mime/airprint.convs

Enter the following line:

image/urf application/vnd.cups-postscript 66 pdftops

Now at the command line:

sudo nano /usr/share/cups/mime/airprint.types

Enter the following line:

image/urf urf (0,UNIRAST)

This apparently does the trick. For now that is, maybe iOS7 introduces new surprises.

Now do the following on the command line have CUPS read the new config:

sudo service cups restart

Configuring CUPS

Assuming your Pi's IP address is, you can access cups by accessing the following URL in your browser:

This way you can configure CUPS. You'll probably get a warning about a bad certificate, but just ignore that.

Username & Password

When you initiate CUPS Admistrator activities, at a certain point you'll be asked to enter a username and a password. The username and the password are pi and raspberry (unless you changes the password - which you should have done).

Adding a printer

In the middle of the page you'll see a list of items titled CUPS for Administrators. Choose the item Adding Printers and Classes.

  • Now you'll be at a page with on the left top a button titled Add Printer. Push that button.
  • A list will pop-up with printers that CUPS has found, hopefully your printer is listed. For the rest of this document it is assumed that CUPS has found your printer.
  • Select your printer and push the Continue button below the list.

Now you'll be on a page with fields Name, Description, Location And Sharing.

  • Name: Enter a simple, meaningful name. Probable the CUPS suggestion is meaningful, but not simple.
  • Description: Probably does not require changing.
  • Location: whatever you feel is appropriate.
  • Sharing: Enable this! Without this, printing from your iOS device will not work!

Now hit the Continue button.

After a while CUPS will show a page allowing you te specify certain details.

  • Make: probably CUPS guessed it right. If not correct it.
  • Model: probable CUPS guessed it right. If not correct it.
  • Or provide a PPD file: you don't want to use this.

Now hit the Add Printer button below.

On the command line of the Pi enter:

lpstat -a

Your newly configured printer should be listed. If so, your printer is configured in CUPS! You did it!

Although your printer is configured in CUPS it's not visible for your iOS device (yet). Follow the next steps to make this happen.

Configuring Avahi

To make your iOS device see your printer you need to configure Avahi-daemon which makes the printer visible to iOS devices by Zeroconf or Bonjour as the protocols are branded by Apple. For more information see this page.

Create a configuration file for your printer, enter the following on the command line:

sudo nano /etc/avahi/services/AirPrint-HPLaserJet.service

Replace the string HPLaserJet with the name you chose for your printer during CUPS configuration. Now enter the following (suggestion: Cupy and Paste):

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<!DOCTYPE service-group
  SYSTEM 'avahi-service.dtd'>
  <name replace-wildcards="yes">AirPrint HPLaserJet @ %h</name>
    <txt-record>note=HP Color LaserJet CM2320fxi MFP</txt-record>
    <txt-record>product=(GPL Ghostscript)</txt-record>

Again: replace all occurences of HPLaserJet with the Name you configured for your printer in CUPS. Be very precise about his!
topics/raspberrypi/airprintgateway.txt · Last modified: 2013/01/16 15:52 by rolf