If you want to get your pictures off your smartphone and into your hands, you’ll need a printer designed for the job. The best iPhone photo printers use one of four technologies to produce pictures that can be enjoyed for years, and some are portable for on-the-go use: Here’s what to consider:
Most iPhone photo printers use one of the following printing technologies, and your choice will come down to budget and picture quality preferences:
- Zink: Printers with Zink technology (short for “zero” ink) combine a pressure-based process with special sticky-backed paper that’s already embedded with ink. Although the image quality might be a slight step down from traditional ink and glossy paper, it’s more wallet-friendly and a good choice if you’d rather not worry about replacing ink cartridges.
- Ink cartridges: Similar to how a desktop inkjet printer works, some iPhone printers use ink cartridges and glossy photo paper to produce images in a series of passes. Cartridges can only produce a certain number of photos before needing to be replaced, which can get pricey over time. But this option produces the highest quality photos if you’re willing to spend the money.
- Instax: Similar to old-school Polaroid paper, this is Fujifilm’s proprietary printing technology, and it’s an ink-free option that prints faster than Zink but with less color range and tone. It’s better at capturing the richness of black tones and has a nostalgic aesthetic thanks to the classic white border it produces.
- Polaroid Hi-Print: Polaroid’s digital printing technology is similar to Zink in that separate ink cartridges aren’t required — the ink is integrated into the paper. The Hi-Print process produces sticky-backed photos, and the results tend to be more vibrant than Zink.
If you want to bring your iPhone printer on the go, look for a portable model that’s small enough to slip in a bag. They’re rechargeable for use anywhere, and can print standard 4-by-6-inch photos or smaller snaps. But if you want the option of printing larger photos, a traditional desktop printer is a more versatile choice that can handle a wider range of tasks.
In addition to your iPhone, most photo printers are compatible with Android devices, making them a great accessory for any amateur photographer. With that, here are the best iPhone photo printers to bring your favorite images to life.
1. The Best Ink & Paper iPhone Photo Printer
- Dimensions: 6.65 x 10.75 x 2.7 inches
- Weight: 1 pound
- Print size: 4 x 6 inches
- Printing technology: ink cartridge and glossy paper (both included)
With a relatively compact body, the HP Sprocket Studio 4-by-6-inch iPhone photo printer has Bluetooth capabilities and a rechargeable battery that lets you use it cordlessly for on-the-go printing. Each ink cartridge can produce up to 40 glossy photos and, according to one reviewer, it takes five to 10 seconds to print. The printer pairs with the HP Sprocket app, where you can view and print photos from your iPhone or Android smartphone. The app also has a suite of editing features, including filters, frames, and stickers for making your printed photos truly unique.
The printer comes with 10 sheets of 4-by-6-inch glossy paper, or you can opt for a bundle with an 80-pack of photo paper, or upgraded sets with extras like a carrying case, an album, and stickers. You will have to replace ink cartridges periodically — at time of publishing, a two-pack of paper and cartridges for printing up to 80 photos will run you around $35.
A reviewer wrote: “I actually own the mini Hp sprocket also, but wanted larger pictures. This machine prints BEAUTIFUL pictures!! 4 by 6, the perfect size. It's a little slow because it has to run through like 4 times. But, the results are worth it.”
2. The Best Zink iPhone Photo Printer (& The Most Budget-Friendly)
- Dimensions: 3.2 x 4.6 x 0.98 inches
- Weight: 6.1 ounces
- Print size: 2 x 3 inches
- Printing technology: Zink paper
About half the size of the first option, this HP Sprocket pick is a budget-friendly instant photo printer for iPhone that uses Zink technology to print on smaller 2-by-3-inch adhesive-backed sheets. The rechargeable printer measures about the size of a smartphone and weighs just 6 ounces, making it easy to take anywhere. It connects to the HP Sprocket app via Bluetooth, and it’s compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones. It’s fast, too — printing photos in as little as five to 10 seconds, according to a reviewer.
Available in four colors, you can buy the printer on its own or choose from bundles with peel-and-stick Zink paper that can be used for collaging, decor, scrapbooking, and more. At time of publishing, a refill of 50 Zink sheets will run you about $25.
A reviewer wrote: “The printing was better [than] I expected. It is not a high quality glossy print from Walgreens but it prints a decent photo. It took my daughter about 2 minutes to read directions, download app and print pictures from her phone.”
3. The Best Instax Printer for iPhone
- Dimensions: 5 x 3 x 7.1 inches
- Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Print size: 2 x 3 inches
- Printing technology: Instax film sheets (40 sheets included)
If you’re looking for vintage-inspired prints, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link printer is a fun, portable option. Rather than Zink or ink cartridges, this printer uses Fujifilm’s proprietary Instax film sheets, which offer a classic Polaroid-style print, complete with white borders. When connected to the Fujifilm photo app via Bluetooth, you can crop and edit photos, add fun filters and frames, and then hit the print button to get a physical picture in about 12 seconds.
Also compatible with Android smartphones, this printer is available in four color options. It comes with 40 sheets of Instax paper, and at time of publishing, refills cost about $45 for a 50-pack of refills.
A reviewer wrote: “My ultimate goal was to have a portable printer that connected to my phone and I could make sure the photo was good BEFORE I printed. I also wanted something that was easy to use, had decent photo quality, and wasn't [wildly] expensive. [...] It arrived quickly, charged quickly, the film is SO easy to load, the app on your phone is great. [...] The picture quality is pretty great, the frames are fun, and I am overall very pleased.”
4. The Best Polaroid Printer For iPhone
- Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.1 x 1 inches
- Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Print size: 2 x 3 inches
- Printing technology: Hi-Print color ribbon ink and glossy paper (20 sheets included)
Hailing from iconic instant-photo experts Polaroid, the Bluetooth-enabled Hi-Print photo printer produces vibrant, rich photos in under 50 seconds using all-in-one dye-sublimation ink cartridges with a color ribbon (no shaking required). The borderless results are more vivid that traditional Polaroids, and the sticky backing means you can use them for crafting and collaging. Whether you’re using an iPhone or Android, Polaroid’s Hi-Print mobile app allows you to edit photos and screenshots before printing them on the rechargeable gadget, which weighs about half a pound.
This bundle includes 20 Hi-Print sheets to get you started, and a 20-pack of Hi-Print refills costs $18 at time of publishing.
A reviewer wrote: “It works great! I think the prints may have a bit more contrast on them than on your phone. So I just make it a bit brighter before printing and it works great. I also use a collage app so I can get prints smaller for my journal. The stickiness works perfect if you are sticking to paper (ie: journal) and haven’t tried anywhere else. For me and my use it works wonderfully.”
5. The Best Desktop iPhone Photo Printer
- Dimensions: 22.9 x 18.2 x 9.3 inches
- Weight: 23 pounds
- Paper size: up to 11 x 17 inches
- Printer technology: ink cartridges and glossy paper (ink cartridge included)
If you want to produce larger-scale, high-definition photos from your iPhone or laptop, the Epson Expression wireless photo printer is a versatile, worthy investment. The full-size desktop printer uses ink cartridges to produce professional-quality photos on premium, glossy photo paper as large as 11 by 17 inches, and it does it in as little as 11 seconds. The printer’s wireless compatibility lets you print directly from your phone using Wi-Fi or the Epson Creative Print app, and it can also perform a variety of everyday tasks like scanning, copying, and standard printing, making this the most versatile — but least portable — option on the list.
A reviewer wrote: “SO easy to set up and use! Works with ALL of my apple products. I can print from my iPhone, iPad, iMac and will try from my lap top soon. Great color on the photo prints!”