Do I need a CUPS driver if I am on a Mac and use a Zebra printer?

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What is CUPS?

CUPS is owned by Apple for Mac and Unix-like systems. It uses an IPP protocol (Internet Protocol Printing) for printing. It allows network printing browsing and PPD (PostScript Printer Description) printing options to support server-based printing. 

CUPS contains a list of printer drivers and various ports and serial connections that match those drivers. This takes the guesswork out of questions such as "do I need to use a certain port?" or "what driver do I need?". It also makes it easier on manufacturers, allowing them and printer-driver developers to create drivers without as much guesswork. 

When should I install a CUPS driver?

If you notice you are having issues with your Mac/Linux system combined with a Zebra printer, it could be that the printer was not installed properly. Officially, Zebra does not support Macs in any way nor do they provide a driver for any of Zebra devices when used with a Mac. 

This may mean that you need the CUPS driver installed, which is a 3rd party driver. While Zebra suggests using CUPS, they do not offer support for it.

NOTE: the maker of CUPS also does not provide support.

There is a possible work-around we've found at ShippingEasy.

Before installing the CUPS driver via the link found at the bottom of this article, try the following steps:

  1. Connect your Zebra Printer to your Mac via the supplied cable or via WiFi if you have the necessary hardware. 

  2. Navigate to your Mac's System Preferences and select Printers & Scanners.

    NOTE: older operating systems may call this Print & Scan

  3. If the printer is already installed, uninstall it. To do that, click on the printer in the left side and click the - symbol to remove the printer.

    You will be asked if you are sure you want to delete the printer.  Select Delete Printer

  4. Click the + symbol next to where you found the deletion symbol. This allows you to add a printer.

    NOTE: you my need to unlock this page with an administrator login/password combination before you are able to edit it.  If this is required, you'll see padlock icon on the bottom left corner of this page.  Click the padlock icon.  
  5. You will be brought to a new page with printer options. Select the appropriate printer.

  6. Click on the Use drop down menu to select the correct driver for your device. The most commonly accepted driver with the Zebra 2844 and ZP4 450 is the Zebra EPL2 Label Printer Driver option. This may also work for other printers, too. 

  7. Select OK when the printer driver is selected. 

  8. Click Add

  9. You can now test your printer. 
    NOTE: a restart of the printer and computer may be necessary for changes to take affect.

BUMMER! That didn't work - how do I install the CUPS driver?

To make things easier, Zebra has an installation guide available here.


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