Troubleshooting Printer Not Working with macOS Big Sur

Jun 4, 2021 - 14 Comments

Troubleshooting Printer Not Working with macOS Big Sur

Are you unable to use your printer on your Mac with macOS Big Sur? You may not be not the only one, as several users have reported printing issues with the latest macOS release. Fortunately, it’s usually pretty easy to get it fixed and start using the printer normally again.

Some people who updated to macOS Big Sur (especially when it first came out) that they were facing problems with their printers. This issue has been prominent with HP printers and scanners in particular due to conflict in the manufacturer’s software. Whether or not you’re using a HP printer is not too relevant since printers from some other brands have been affected to a certain extent as well. If you’re having difficulties with printing in MacOS, read on to learn various troubleshooting methods that you can use to get your printer to work on macOS Big Sur.

Troubleshooting macOS Big Sur Printer Issues

Regardless of the brand and model of the printer you own, the following troubleshooting steps should be good enough to resolve most printer-related issues in a vast majority of cases. So, without further ado, let’s get started:

Download Latest Printer Drivers from the Manufacturer

The first thing that you want to do whenever you’re facing issues with your printer on your Mac is to check if the drivers are up to date. Since macOS Big Sur is the newest version, it’s likely that your manufacturer hasn’t updated the drivers to support this particular version of macOS. However, they may have released a new driver update by now to address all the compatibility issues.

Find the manufacturer of your printer, head over to their support site, and get the drivers.

The steps required may vary depending on the brand, but you could simply search with Google or DuckDuckGo the model number of your printer and find the driver software. For example, if you’re using a HP Printer, you can head over to this site and type in the model number.

Reset Mac Printing System

If you’re still facing issues despite being on the latest drivers, you can try resetting the printing system in macOS. This is actually pretty easy to do. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Head over to “System Preferences” on your Mac and click on “Printers & Scanners” which is located next to the Keyboard settings.

    Troubleshooting Printer Not Working with macOS Big Sur
  2. Here, you’ll be able to see your printer on the left pane. Now, press Control on your keyboard and then click on your printer. This will bring up a context menu. Click on “Reset printing system”.

    Troubleshooting Printer Not Working with macOS Big Sur
  3. When you’re prompted to confirm, click “Reset” and you’re good to go.

    Troubleshooting Printer Not Working with macOS Big Sur

Once you do this, macOS will remove your printer and you’ll need to manually add it back by clicking on the “+” icon in your printer settings and reconfigure it again. Doing this will not just remove and reset printers, but also remove all scanners connected to your Mac.

Update Your Mac to the Latest Version of System Software

If the above two troubleshooting steps didn’t work in your favor, it’s possible the issue is related to macOS, so updating system software may help. Typically, Apple is quick to address these kinds of software issues based on user reports with a point release update. Thus it’s necessary to make sure that your Mac is currently running on the latest possible software that’s available. Here’s what you need to do to update your Mac:

  1. Open the System Preferences panel on your Mac and click on “Software Update”.

    Troubleshooting Printer Not Working with macOS Big Sur
  2. Your Mac will now start checking for updates and if a new firmware is available, you will be able to install it immediately by clicking on “Update Now”.

    Troubleshooting Printer Not Working with macOS Big Sur

Combined with updating the printer drivers, resetting the printer system, and updating macOS, you should be good to go.

Some additional general helpful troubleshooting tips for printers:

  • If the printer is a wi-fi printer, make sure the printer and the Mac are on the same network
  • Make sure the printer is plugged in and properly connected to the Mac, or network
  • Make sure the printer has sufficient ink, paper, is not jammed, and is in good working order
  • Check to see if the printer works on another Mac, computer, or device – this can help to determine if the problem is with the printer, or the current Mac

Hopefully by now your printer is working as intended again. Try to print a random document to confirm this. If you’re still facing problems, there is a chance that your hardware is faulty and it simply coincided with the time you updated your Mac to macOS Big Sur. If you suspect that to be the case, try connecting your printer to a different computer and check if it’s working there, if it fails there as well, it’s possible the printer itself is having issues.

A more extreme solution if you just recently updated to Big Sur would be to downgrade from macOS Big Sur to macOS Catalina or Mojave, assuming the printer worked fine in the prior OS version. This is less than ideal for many reasons, but it can occasionally be the only solution if you’re using an old printer with no new driver support from the manufacturer.

Hopefully, you were able to get your printer issues fixed without much hassle. Which of the troubleshooting methods that we covered here worked for you? Do you have any additional tips to share that can fix printer-related problems on the Mac? Feel free to drop your ideas and do share your experiences in the comments section down below.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Issy says:

    Thank you!
    I followed your instructions and did the ‘reset printer’ step and my printer is working again! Yay!

  2. Gary Misch says:

    ‘ve been fighting printer problems on both Macs on my network for over two years. I have a HP-CP1525nw. The printer is constantly going offline. Sometimes the problem, is fixed if I reboot the machine in question. One day I watched the print status box. The printer had a green dot next to it as “ready”. As soon as I sent it job it turned amber For “offline.” The moment I deleted the job it turned green again. I’ve tried every recommended solution except migrating to a non HP printer, including updates, new drivers, resets.

  3. Andre says:

    I managed to get my DeskJet 2376 to (poorly) print some stuff by using a different software when setting it up on the System Settings > Printers. Just used random HP DeskJet ones, and it did print, though I still can’t really get HP Smart to detect the damn thing.

  4. Alex says:

    THANK YOU!!!!
    It worked perfectly :)

  5. JohnIL says:

    Yeah I have a Laser Jet Pro 200 from HP and its been terrible at working with Mac’s or Windows PC’s. I have had better luck with Windows then Mac’s so I traded off all my Mac computers. HP provides really bad drivers for Mac’s and not a whole lot better for Windows. But at least the Windows drivers seem to get more frequent updates. Mac drivers seem to be at the bottom of the things to do list for HP.

  6. Fernando Gonçalves says:

    Here’s a suggestion for a future article:
    What kind/type of scanner(s) can be used with Apple’s Big Sur? How to solve the problem(s)?

    Ever since I updated to Big Sur I canNOT use my HP ScanJet G3110 machine.

    • Sal says:

      I have used the Epson V600 Perfection Photo/Document Scanner since 2017. It has performed without any troubles through each Mac OS upgrade. Currently running Big Sur 11.4.

    • User says:

      Big Sur uses ICA (Image Capture) scanner drivers.

      If the printer manufacturer doesn’t supply one, third party software like VueScan is an alternative.

  7. Fernando Gonçalves says:

    Here’s a suggestion for a future article:
    What kind/type of scanner can be used with Apple’s Big Sur?

    Ever since I updated my computer to Big Sur I canNOT use my HP ScanJet G3110 machine.

    Thank you!

  8. Philip Cutting says:

    This has been a big issue in the UK with BT routers. If the printer is on the 2.4gHz band and the devices on the 5gHz band, they should communicate but don’t. BT sent out a firmware update last week that fixed it for me but thousands of customers have been affected with no official announcement. Probably thousands of perfectly good printers were replaced over this! Grrr!

  9. Bernard Leeds says:

    I use “Generic ” with my HP
    Apple support had me delete a file( hp smart app bricked my printer) two upgrades ago then delete and reinstall printer.
    HP smart app failed to work!!!!!!!
    HP NO longer supports printer HP 1012 but they are still selling and pushing them out the HP store on
    Are YOU=OSXDaily sure I should go look for a new HP driver?. Do you offer FREE BRICK replacement?.

    • Paul says:

      If your printer works as is, you shouldn’t need to troubleshoot it?

      Standard troubleshooting advice is to update software to the latest versions for compatibility reasons. If you have an issue with a particular HP printer, you may want to reach out to HP support and see what they suggest. If the product is still for sale by HP surely it would be supported by HP?

  10. Daniel says:

    yes, just go back to catalina or mojave – all your new problems are solved :-)

  11. Les Mauer says:

    I had trouble scanning on an HP 9015 series printer; finally got through to HP support, and was told there was a known problem with the current version of HP Smart. I had to delete and install an older version they sent me of HP Smart on both my IMAC and MacBook Air

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