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The Best Ways to Print Photos from Your Smartphone

by on January 25, 2016
in Phones and Mobile, Cell Phones, Photo / Video Sharing, Computers & Accessories, Printers & Scanners, Tips & How-Tos :: 10 comments

Printing a picture on your phone to a wireless printerOne of the best cameras is the one you have with you — and for most of us, that camera is your smartphone. But unless you're meticulously sharing and backing up your photos online, most of them are probably languishing in your smartphone’s digital archives.

Free your photos from the shackles of your smartphone with services and hardware that make it easy to print your photos professionally (for shipping directly to you), on the go or at home. We’ve rounded up our favorite, easy ways to print photos from your smartphone.

Order professional prints with an app

Most photo developers today print smartphone pictures. Apps such as Kicksend and Snapfish let you order prints for pickup at retailers such as Walgreens. Even more streamlined photo services let you order prints from your smartphone for delivery to your home within a couple of days. Send photos from your smartphone to one of our favorite print services to get lab-quality prints without leaving the house or shelling out for your own printer.


This sleek, intuitive app takes care of printing pictures as well as photo books, greeting cards and other photo products from your phone camera or Instagram account. Ordering prints is a simple matter of choosing exactly the size of photo you want, from a set of photo strips to a 54-image poster, and then picking the best of your snaps.

You can print photos in several unusual sizes, including 4" x 4" squares, 2" x 2" mini-squares and business-card-sized prints, as well as standard formats including 4" x 6" and 8" x 10" prints and 20" x 30" posters (probably best for owners of uber-high-megapixel phones like the iPhone 6s Plus or Samsung Galaxy S6). Send prints anywhere in the world. (Last-minute long-distance present, anyone?)

The app makes it easy to order unique frames and displays, including a reclaimed Santa Cruz block frame or multi-picture wooden and concrete displays.

Price: Free at Google Play and iTunes

Prints: $12 for 24 square prints; $15 for 24 4" x 6" prints; $10 for a set of nine photo strips (36 pictures); more prices at Social Print Studio

Shipping: $6 by FedEx and DHL; $12 international shipping; free shipping for U.S. orders over $50

Speed: 3-10 working days

Editing capabilities: None aside from cropping or shifting pictures to fit inside the print size

Best for: Interesting frames and unique prints (the mini-squares and 4" x 4" squares are particularly cute for Instagram images)

FreePrints (Android / iOS / Windows Phone)

FreePrints is an offshoot of online photo printing shop Photo Affections, which perhaps explains why it can offer 1,000 free 4" x 6" prints per year. This streamlined app is an easy way to print photos from your phone camera as well as Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. One click from the home interface takes you to a photo selection page for uploading and ordering prints, which can arrive as quickly as within two days.

You can order square prints for Instagram shots as well as 5" x 7", 8" x 10" and larger prints at an additional cost. If you use an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, pay for orders instantly using Apple Pay. Photos are printed on lab-quality paper from Kodak and Fujifilm, with an matte finish.

Price: Free from Google Play, iTunes, and Windows Store

Prints: Free for 4" x 6" prints (up to 85 per month or 1,000 per year); from $0.49 each for 5" x 5" prints

Shipping: $1.99 to $9.99; $1.00 more for two-day shipping; free shipping the first time you use the app

Speed: Four to six days; two working days for express shipping

Editing capabilities: Minimal; cropping, black-and-white filter

Best for: Low-cost, high-quality prints

Print on the go with a portable smartphone printer

Pull out one of these printers during your next vacation and instantly print anyone's smartphone photos for hard-copy keepsakes.

Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 (Android and iOS)

This book-sized printer from the current king of instant cameras uses the same film and printing technology as the Fujifilm Instax Mini line. It connects via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to your smartphone, with an app for selecting and printing photos to a roll of instax mini film.

The app lets you add black-and-white or sepia filters, as well as templates for text and graphics and "Real Time" details such as dates, location, time and weather. Prints have that slight vintage blur; if you're looking for fine detail, you may want to consider a desktop printer instead.

The SP-1 runs on flat-cell CR-2 batteries with a lifetime of about 100 prints before the batteries need to be replaced.

Price: $140 from Amazon

Prints: $17.68 for 20 sheets at Amazon

Speed: 16 seconds per print

Editing capabilities: Black-and-white or sepia filters in the Fujifilm app, templates for personalized text and greeting cards

Best for: Printing photos on the go

Print at Home with a desktop printer

Printing your photos at home can not only work out cheaper, but far more convenient. If you're looking for pro-quality home prints, dedicated photo printers can handle ultra-high resolutions and fine color detail, while standard models still offer decent picture quality at an affordable price.

Canon Pixma iP8720

Forget the four-cartridge ink system on your old home printer; the Pixma iP8720 sports a six-ink system including an individual grey ink for extra-fine color and gradation in black-and-white prints. It connects over Wi-Fi as well as Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint, making it easy for any device to link up and print.

The printer uses an Android/iOS app to select photos from a smartphone or tablet for batch printing. Print resolution goes as high as 9600 dpi with photo sizes up to 13" x 19".

Price: $299.99 from Canon

Prints: From $7 for 100 sheets of 4" x 6" glossy paper; $113 for a set of six ink cartridges (PDF) ($0.48 or less per print)

Speed: About 35 seconds per smartphone photo, 1 minute or more for larger prints

Editing capabilities: None

Best for: Professional-quality home photos

HP Envy 5660

If you simply want to print photos for personalized cards or family albums, a multifunction inkjet printer like the Envy 5660 produces good clarity and color, especially with smaller prints. It can connect to any smartphone over Wi-Fi via the HP app, while Apple AirPrint support lets you print directly from iPhones without an app.

Photos can be printed in sizes up to A4, with a dedicated paper tray for 4" x 6" prints. If you regularly print photos, buy the Envy 5660 with an HP Instant Ink subscription plan that gets you 50 prints per month for $2.99, with HP connecting to your printer to send new cartridges when you're running low.

Price: $117.94 from Amazon

Prints: From $5.99 for 100 sheets of 4" x 6" glossy paper; $85.30 for a set of high-yield ink cartridges (about $0.30 a print, $0.13 if you subscribe to Instant Ink)

Speed: About 45 seconds per 4" x 6" photo

Editing capabilities: None

Best for: Affordable home photo printing

What’s your favorite way to print photos from your smartphone? Let us know in the comments, and tell us if we've missed your go-to.

Updated on 1/25/2016 with pricing and print options.

[printer with smartphone image via Shutterstock]

Discussion loading


FreePrints in the UK

From John on January 27, 2015 :: 7:36 am

Just to note that FreePrints is somewhat less generous in the UK: up to 45 six-by-fours a month with a maximum of 500 a year. Postage is quoted at from £1.49 to “never more than £3.99” smile


Hi everyone, I actually love

From Trevor Sweet on October 25, 2015 :: 4:41 pm

Hi everyone, I actually love printing photos especially the ones I take with my iPhone. I’ve used LifePrints before and loved the quality of the prints. The only thing is that I then needed to find a frame to put them in. I am all about saving time and money and thought that there has to be an easier way which is why I created my own app called Sweet Pix Photoboards for iPhone.

The Sweet Pix App allows you to print high quality photos that arrive on 8x8in photoboards that simply stick to your walls without needing nails or putting holes in your walls. Simply stick them anywhere you like. What makes them unique is that they are waterproof and UV resistant meaning they won’t fade or warp. You can put them in a bathroom or in a kitchen and never have to worry about them getting damaged. Would love to see what the community thinks and welcome any feedback you can provide.



From Cellular Barn on February 06, 2016 :: 1:31 am

Cool article, let’s create more photo albums for future generation. Those printers are tempting.



printers with WiFi Direct

From charlies on February 23, 2016 :: 8:49 am

Today plenty of printers have WiFi Direct, and on Android there are ‘apps’ that can link up a phone to those printers by manufacturer. That may be a good starting point, and tends to be easy to setup.



wifi direct may not be

From roberto on February 23, 2016 :: 9:25 am

wifi direct may not be needed if the ‘app’ can find the printer on the network.



What about frames?

From Anastasia on May 01, 2016 :: 12:24 am

Does anyone know where I can get a frame for my cell phone pictures?  Since the photos are not standard size, I’m not sure where to find a frame.  Thanks.



Useless article

From Charls on July 24, 2016 :: 9:53 pm

Why not actually write about printing photos instead of ordering them



Did you read the article?

From Josh Kirschner on July 25, 2016 :: 10:52 am

The article is useless if you don’t actually read it. There are two sections above about printing on the go with a portable printer and printing at home using a desktop printer.



Don't Bother with Kicksend

From Laura on October 04, 2016 :: 7:03 pm

Realize this is an older blog post, but your review came up while I was trying find out what happened with Kicksend… seems it doesn’t work anymore. People have been paying for prints with nothing received. App hasn’t been updated in two years. Please don’t recommend it. Thanks!



PrintFlips - The first in the world to create flips.

From Andrey on October 14, 2016 :: 3:42 am

Hello! Please let me know where I can order a review of my application?

My application - service for making a flip!
My application is the first in the world to create flips. It makes it possible to turn your photographs into something new and unique. Let me present you a Flip! The flip is not just a printed photograph. The flip is a new magic thing which will bring more joy into your life. Using my application, you can place up to 4 photographs into one flip.

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