"It Just Works" (iOS / macOS file transfers)



My son has just completed a project using “Book Creator” on his iPad. I then needed to print it… Somehow

My printer is an older model Canon - not Airplay savvy, so - no go, despite being a “shared printer” on my MacPro.

AirPlay simply does not work between the 2 devices - Tried the Terminal command that’s meant to help… no go… Thinking possibly the machine has a non compatible BluTooth card… No idea. Booted in High Sierra in case that helped, but no change. (Ok, maybe the flat appearance is growing on me… Think I’m ready to transition…)

Handoff and the other one - not compatible with 2010 MacPro.

Ok… Mmm… So - to upload his stop-motion videos to YouTube, I connected the iPad to the Mac directly by cable, then plucked the videos from iPhoto after saving them from iMotion… Maybe that will work - but in iTunes…? Well, I can SEE the file when I save a copy to iBooks (pdf), but cannot print / save to my Mac!


Googling… Googling…


Not having email set up on the devices, nor iMessage means they are ruled out. Also iCloud - I don’t touch that thing…

So that leaves me…

Ahhhhh - iPhone 5s - compatible with AirDrop! So iPad -> iPhone -> eMail.

2 hours of my life I’m not getting back later… success.

Yes, Apple… It just works… (so long as you have new printers, and new computers, and OSes…)



(Now have to boot back into Mavericks to get the file…)


Or very old equipment the software wasn’t designed for. My machine is old too. That is the price of not upgrading, and I accept it.


The biggest shame of iOS 4.2 (IIRC) was that AirPrint wasn’t implemented as it should have been. Originally they designed it to work with any wifi printer, but either they had technical problems or there was a copyright issue, so they implemented it differently, and thus printers must be specifically AirPrint capable to work on iOS devices.

But I do think it raises a point - iOS’s file managmnet system still needs work, hopefully that’s iOS 13.

If you’d do upgrade your printers at some point, AirPrint is great. We replaced our 14 year old Epson Stylus with a new Epson Ecotank so no more emailing to a Mac and then printing :stuck_out_tongue:


My frustration here is mainly pointed toward the fact that you can’t even use a cable or wifi or bluetooth to access the iPad’s file system and copy a file over. Back in the 90’s I could splice 2 printer cables together and transfer files between Macs more easily than getting the iPad to transfer files.


Is the issue here that the iPad can’t AirPrint or that the Printer can’t AirPrint?

I had an old Canon WiFi printer that wasn’t AirPrint capable and while I could print happily from the Macs (most of the time) the iPads just couldn’t use the WiFi connection.

(on a side note the Windows PC’s seemed to always just work vs the Mac’s which regularly wouldn’t see the printer until I power cycled it. The new Canon printer I bought now supports AirPrint and works sooooo much better than the old one… all the time :slight_smile: ).

But back to the iPad, I bought this app which did work although requires a Mac to be up and running:

As for the stop motion video, you can’t upload directly from the iPad app? Or something that isn’t supported?

I’m a little confused in that section as you’re talking video then PDF…

I don’t know that you can go FROM iBooks back to the Mac for the PDF, but the video file in Photos should be accessible. Try Image Capture on the Mac with it connected by cable.

Plan B for both, is it possible to AirDrop the files to the Mac?

Plan C: Phoneview. I’ve got this and used it to pull things off phones at times. Again a paid option, but it is handy to have. I bought mine back in 2011 and got another (free) update today, not bad for a purchase seven years ago. I haven’t actually used it in a while, but it loaded :smiley: and it does look like it can see books and movies!



Firstly my bad - “AirPlay” should have been “AirDrop”. I can’t get the iPad to talk to the MacPro via AirDrop.

I can move a movie file from the iPad to the MacPro using iPhoto and a lightning cable.

I can’t move a pdf file from the iPad to the MacPro using iTunes and a anything.

The printer is not actually wifi capable… I guess that rules out AirPrint - It is just shared via the MacPro with other devices that happily print.

I did try a bonjour app a while ago that could see the printer, but it was terribly buggy.

I was hoping that saving the Book Creator project as a PDF would let me somehow extract it from the iPad (which ultimately I did, just not an easy way). Book Creator suggested saving the PDF into Pages - which I have on the Mac - so I thought that may be a way to transfer - Surely Apple Mac Pages, and Apple iPad Pages - should be able to communicate… But I’ve no idea how that is meant to happen either…

I just find the whole moving data between i devices and Macs incredibly frustrating, and as an IT drop out from 1996 :wink: , I feel empowered to say that surely the iOS file system is not that dissimilar to macOS as to make it so difficult…


This is why I’ve got a Dropbox account (I don’t like iCloud either).


I use a 10 years old iMac, so I know some of the problems you mention, such as no Airdrop to it.

These problems do not bother me. I am happy it is still humming along. I have maxed out the RAM, and then added more (a long but good story). I also swapped out the hard drive for an SSD. It boots El Captan in 20 seconds. Sierra and High Sierra will not install legit. Once support expires I may try the patched method. So how can I complain. Ten years old and still great performance

As for transferring files to it from iPhones and iPads, I use:

  • Post boxing via my local file server
  • Post boxing via iCloud, OneDrive, Google Drive or DropBox (I find iCloud is just as solid as the rest)
  • Email
  • Readdle Transfer via Readdle Documents or PDF Expert

I use an Airprint printer now. Before I used PrinterPro or Printopia via the iMac. Whichever it was, it worked really well

There may be better ways, however I am more than happy to use any of the above. It only takes a minute to happen and even given the dated iMac, as you say, it just works.


can’t you just hook up the ipad via USB to the mac, then share the file thru iTunes?
Also, you can get a airport printer pretty cheap.

you can wander in to jbhifi and get this one for $49.

You will wonder why you waited.


When I hooked the iPad up, and went into iTunes, I could see the file in iBooks, but could not access it…? Not view, not copy, save, export…?

The Canon I’m using appears to have come to an end - its ink cartridges are basically now all on the throw-out shelves… So the time is coming.


I know they’re discontinued but it would’ve been a perfect place for Apple to make shared printers on macOS, Airport Express, Capsule and Extreme support AirPrint.

Imagine that, plug your printer into an Mac/Airport device and boom, instant zero-config printing


Likewise. iCloud is all very well but its a lock-in and I hate that. I do have a couple of apps which store their databases in icloud and its annoying the heck outta me, specially since one used to give the choice. But, There isnt another app like it so I tolerate it.


I lost all my contacts due presumably to my ignorance in how to use iCloud a few years back. Never gone near since.


Yeah - ok - I saw an Epson in Big W, 5 ink tanks, $79 - with AIrPlay… (Not sure I’d ever go back to the multi colour tanks).

Considering a full set of ink costs about that much… (and the ink is disappearing) May as well look at something when the Taxman gets done laughing at me.


I’ve got an older model Epson, with 4 Ink tanks, just had to replace them because lack of use means the existing ones dont seem to work. Interestingly it was cheaper to buy from Epson than GoodGuys or HN etc. Its a wifi model and works pretty well from my laptop. Havent tried it with the iPad but will have occasion to, this weekend. Not Airplay though… Airprint? Isnt that just a fancy Apple term for print via wifi?


LOL Dammit I did it again… Air Print yes, not Air Play… :slight_smile:


I thought all inkjets had multiple (too small) tanks these days. At least you can get XL ones for canon. Also I use knock offs which are less than half the price. If you did a lot of printing you can get those external tanks too.


I [quote=“Entropy, post:17, topic:4282”]
If you did a lot of printing you can get those external tanks too.

I have done the whole continuous feed thing for printers before and while it was easy enough to do the cost of third party cartridges have gotten to a point where it’s only really worth it if you really print a lot.

I recently upgraded my old Canon printer to one of these and it’s amazing how much nicer it prints than the 5+ year old one.

I’ve already bought a couple of sets of aftermarket XL cartridges from the same ebay seller I’ve used for many years, although in the few months I’ve had it I haven’t needed to replace one yet. But AirPrint is very very nice.


Coming back to this topic…

Thanks to becoming a kept husband (at least for the next 12 months :slight_smile: ), I now have a shiny iPhone 8.

Although I have High Sierra on one drive in my Mac Pro, I still use Mavericks as my main boot drive, which cannot upgrade to the latest iTunes. (At least - the App Store wont show it for me when booted in Mavericks.)

As such, best as I could figure (and maybe I’m wrong) - if I did not have that other partition with the more recent OS / iTunes, I would not have been able to copy my old iPhone’s data to the new iPhone, as the Mavericks / iTunes would not talk to the iPhone 8.

I’m actually “there” now mentally - I’m going to switch over to High Sierra… (maybe even the latest one - if it runs on my MacPro) But is 5 years really such an old OS for Apple to deny you the ability to perform this fairly basic, yet also important function?


You could use the alternative method of using your iCloud backup to restore your old data to your new phone. It is slower than a “local” restore, but it works. I have done it twice in the past.