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The Best Ways to Print Photos from Your Smartphone

by on April 04, 2022
in Phones and Mobile, Cell Phones, Photo / Video Sharing, Computers & Accessories, Printers & Scanners, Tips & How-Tos :: 25 comments

Techlicious editors independently review products. To help support our mission, we may earn affiliate commissions from links contained on this page.

You’ve taken beautiful photos of your kids, your vacation, and your family dog. You’ve post them to Instagram and Facebook and look through your albums on your phone whenever you get a chance. But sometimes you want to go the old-fashioned route and make a physical print to stick on your fridge, frame and hang on your wall, or send to a relative who may not be on social media.

Fortunately, it’s easy to make physical prints from your phone. You can send photos directly to your home printer (no computer needed, in many cases), use an app to order prints for delivery at home or same-day in-store pickup, or print photos on a portable printer while you’re on the go. Here are the steps to get your photos off your phone and onto paper.

Hands holding a phone with a picture of palm trees with a printer on a table in the background.

1. Send photos from your phone to your home printer

If you’ve purchased your printer within the last several years, it will likely have WiFi connectivity and you’ll be to print to your printer wirelessly (if not, I like the Epson EcoTank ET-2800 that's $199.99 on Staples). You can use the app from your printer manufacturer or make use of AirPrint for iOS devices or Google Cloud Print for Android devices. Here’s how:

Printing wirelessly to your home printer from your iPhone

The easiest way to print from your iPhone is to use AirPrint. First, confirm that your printer supports AirPrint. Apple has a list of AirPrint compatible printers. If your printer is on the list of AirPrint compatible printers, make sure it’s connected to WiFi and that it’s connected to the same WiFi network as your phone.

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Select the photo you want to print and tap the share icon.
  3. Scroll down and select Print.
  4. Tap on Select Printer.
  5. Select your printer from the list.
  6. Change the paper size, if needed, under Options
  7. Tap on Print.

Printer manufacturers also have their own apps, which include extras, like making collages and other photo projects, or ordering supplies. Once you install the app and connect to your printer (the app will walk you through it), you’ll be able to browse through your photos and print.

Printing wirelessly to your home printer from your Android phone

First, confirm that your printer supports Google Cloud Print. Google has a list of Cloud Print compatible printers. If your printer is on the list of Cloud Print compatible printers, make sure it’s connected to WiFi and that it’s connected to the same WiFi network as your phone.

To print from your Android phone to your home printer, you’ll need to set up printing on your phone.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Connected devices
  3. Select Connection preferences
  4. Select Printing
  5. Select Google Cloud Print (if you don’t already have Cloud Print installed, you can install it now from this screen)
  6. If you see your printer, select it and you’ll be ready to print.

If you don’t see your printer:

  1. Tap the triple dots in the upper right corner to open the menu
  2. Select Add printer. If you don’t see your printer, hit the refresh button in the upper right corner.
  3. Select your printer and your printer will be added to Cloud Print. If you don’t see your printer, hit the refresh button in the upper right corner.
  4. On your printer, confirm that you want to add your phone as a device that’s allowed to print to your printer.

Once you have printing set up, you can open your photos app to select photos to print.

  1. Select the photo you want to print
  2. Tap the triple dots in upper right
  3. Scroll over to print
  4. Tap on Select Printer
  5. Select your printer from the list.
  6. Change the paper size, if needed, by tapping the down arrow
  7. Tap on the printer icon

Setting up Google Cloud Print will enable you to print from any app that supports printing. You can also choose to install your manufacturer’s app, which usually has extras like photo editing, ordering supplies, or making photo crafts.

Printing to your home printer if it’s not WiFi ready

If you don’t have a printer with WiFi, you can always email the photo to yourself and print it from your computer. To email yourself a photo, select the photo, select Share, select Email, and then put your email as the recipient. You’ll want to make sure you send yourself a high-resolution copy. Or, you can try one of the print services below. Both services offer free 4" x 6" prints, though you will have to pay for shipping.

2. Order free professional prints with an app

Photo service apps let you order free lab-quality prints from your smartphone for delivery to your home within a couple of days or pick them up in as little as one hour from a nearby participating store.

Three screenshots of the Shutterfly app. From the left, screenshot one shows the prints tab with a graphic that says Unlimited Free Prints in 4x4 and 4x6 sizes. Screenshot two shows the sources for photos: Shutterfly, Local Photos, Facebook, Instagram and Google Photos. Screenshot three show the cart with the price being $0.00 for three prints, along with a preview of the three photos to be printed.

Shutterfly

Shutterfly offers free unlimited 4" x 4" and 4" x 6" prints (you pay for shipping) for its Shutterfly app users. You can choose from photos on your phone, Shutterfly, Facebook, Instagram, or Google Photos. Selecting multiple images is as easy as swiping across them.

In addition to the free prints, you can also order 5" x 7", 8" x 10", 11" x 14", 12" x 12", 16" x 20", 5" x 15", 8" x 24", 12" x 36", 20" x 30" and wallet size (4 per print) at an additional cost.

You can pay for shipping or choose to pick up your photos at a nearby participating Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy. Some locations offer one-hour printing.

Price: Free on Google Play and App Store
Prints: Free for 4" x 4" and 4" x 6", on sale $0.89 ($0.99 regular) each for 5" x 7"
Shipping: starting at $2.17 for economy shipping, starting at $20.17 for rush shipping
Speed: five to ten days; two working days for express shipping; at little as one hour for in-store pickup
Editing capabilities: cropping, rotating

Three screenshots of the FreePrints app. From the right, screenshot one shows the ability to select photos from your phone, Facebook, Instagram, Google Photos and Dropbox. Screenshot two shows the ability to crop individual photos and to select the photo size. Screenshot three shows the shopping cart that indicates that the photos are free and that shipping is $1.99. It also shows the option to add a matte finish, and white borders.

FreePrints

FreePrints offers up to 1,000 free 4" x 6" prints per year (plus shipping). This streamlined app is an easy way to print photos from your phone camera as well as Facebook, Instagram, Google Photos, Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and, for iPhone users, anything save in your Files.

You can order square 5” x 5” prints for Instagram shots as well as 5" x 7", 8" x 10" and larger prints up to 20" x 30" at an additional cost. You can also choose “Easel” prints at 5" x 7" or 8" x 10", which are printed on a thicker stock have built-in stands. Photos are printed on lab-quality paper from Kodak and Fujifilm, with a matte finish.

Price: Free on Google Play and App 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 and from $14.00 for Easel 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: cropping, rotating, black-and-white filter

3. Print on the go with a portable smartphone printer

Pull out a portable printer during your next vacation and instantly print anyone's smartphone photos for hard-copy keepsakes.

Fujifilm Instax Link Wide Bluetooth printer on top of a pile of prints.

Fujifilm Instax Link Wide Bluetooth printer

The tiny Fujifilm Instax Link Wide printer connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone, with an app for selecting and printing 3" x 5" prints in about 12 seconds. The film then processes for up to a minute to reveal the photo. The app lets you create collages and crop the photo and add frames, borders, filters, stickers, and more to personalize your prints. The Instax Link Wide has a rechargeable battery that lasts for about 100 prints per charge. No film comes in the box, so the links below are to bundles that include film. 

Price: $149.99 for camera only. $169.99 for camera plus two 10-packs of film.

check price on Amazon button

Check price on Walmart button

Updated on 4/4/2022 with current pricing information and new printer recommendations.

[printer with smartphone image via BigStockPhoto, FreePrints/Techlicious, Shutterfly/Techlicious, Fujifilm]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.



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

Reply

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.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id839262104?mt=8

http://sweetpixapp.com/

Reply

Sweet Pix App

From Marie Graham on September 06, 2020 :: 3:42 pm

Sounds like a great idea

Reply

Awesome!

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

Useless article

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

Why not actually write about printing photos instead of ordering them

Reply

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.

Reply

Good point!

From Carol on January 26, 2017 :: 2:46 pm

Good point Josh. It really helps to actually read your article first ... before you complain. DUH!!!!! Great article by the way.

Reply

Thanks, Carol!

From Josh Kirschner on January 26, 2017 :: 5:59 pm

Sometimes it’s quicker to complain than to read.

Best,
Josh

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!

Reply

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.

You can see video:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/printflips/id1119556773?mt=8

http://www.printflips.com

Reply

What about PostalPix?

From Gallagher Goodland on October 28, 2016 :: 4:22 pm

PostalPix is another great iPhone app to print photos. They’re cheap and easy to use. only 49 cents for 4x4 prints.

Reply

Two year old article??!?!

From J Fremont on January 26, 2017 :: 5:05 pm

According to the comments, this article is two years old. Technology changes weekly, I would appreciate new research on this topic.

Reply

The article was just updated

From Josh Kirschner on January 26, 2017 :: 5:56 pm

We left the old comments in, as often they are helpful. However, the article was completely updated and republished January 25, 2017. We noted that with the new article publish date at the top and was a note about the update at the bottom of the article.

Reply

Print to Walgreens with just a text message

From Michelle on February 09, 2017 :: 7:33 pm

I just launched textasnap.com.  With it you can print photos from your phone to Walgreens with just a text message.  No ‘app’ needed.

Reply

Postalpix Kickstarter

From Gallagher Goodland on February 20, 2017 :: 8:22 pm

Postalpix is adding a host of new products to their iPhone app. They’re using Kickstarter as a platform for funding.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1540849422/postalpix-app-photo-prints-and-custom-home-decor-0/posts/1812106

Reply

Here's the easiest photo printing

From Juan Alvaro Quintero Corella on February 20, 2017 :: 8:46 pm

Here’s the easiest photo printing from your WhatsApp, without downloading other applications.
http://pixtaprint.com/

Reply

Postalpix has a higher quality

From Gallagher Goodland on February 21, 2017 :: 1:14 pm

Reply

Yes!

From Brandy Hunter on October 07, 2017 :: 10:00 pm

I “Google searched” how to print photos from home, using my phone…instead, I am directed to sites wher you must pay! Grrr!

Reply

My best Choise

From Vape Dubai on March 16, 2020 :: 6:29 am

The top 3 camera in my opinion
1.Huawei Mate 30pro
2.iphone 11pro/max
3.Samsung note 10/10+

Reply

Price for Fujifilm Instax correct????

From Sherrie Johnson on April 05, 2022 :: 10:11 pm

I realize this is an older article.  Actually I received it from Techlicious today and it’s April 2022!!!  That’s 6 years ago!  However, I question the price listed for the Fujifilm Instax Link Wide Bluetooth printer.  When clicking on the link to Amazon, the price is listed at $169.99.  I’m thinking that years ago when this article was written the price could have been $149.99, which would indicate that an extra “9” was added!!  Might want to correct that if you redo this article again!

Reply

the price for Fujifilm Instax

From Sherrie Johnson on April 05, 2022 :: 10:14 pm

I meant to add that the price in the article lists this item as: $1,499.99.  The actual price is $169.99.

Reply

Thank you for the heads

From Suzanne Kantra on April 06, 2022 :: 2:43 pm

Thank you for the heads up on the typo. I’ve fixed and also clarified that the price is $149.99 for the printer only and $169.99 for the printer bundled with 2 10-packs of film. The “check price” links are both for bundles that include film.

Reply

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