Printer wi-fi not working? We show you the easy way to fix printer connection issues

If your printer is refusing to co-operate,  don't worry – we show you the easy way to get it to connect to your wi-fi network 

Whether you're working from home or just need to print regularly, a reliable printer is often an essential tool in your arsenal. In recent weeks, we've heard from a number of Which? members struggling with printer connection issues. Thankfully, there's a simple fix.

In our quick walkthrough, our experts explain how to deal with wi-fi issues that prevent you from printing wirelessly. We've found that dodgy printer drivers are often to blame, or you might want to connect again using WPS (more details to follow).

Below, our Which? Tech Support experts explain how to get your printer added to your wi-fi network, whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac. We also explain why keeping your printer drivers up to date is so important.

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Each month, we feature one of the most popular questions answered by our Tech Support team.

Question of the month: how do I fix the wi-fi on my wireless printer?

'I have a wireless printer at home. My previous printer was working well, but then I had to replace our BT router. Since doing so, my current printer won't print at all. The status of the device is listed as 'disconnected'. How do I get it working again?'

Which? Computing member

Our expert says:

'We're constantly hearing from readers who are dealing with connection issues on their wireless printers. This problem could arise when you're initially setting up the printer, or after you've purchased a new router. Whatever the case, the solution to get a faulty printer up and running again remains the same.

First, the printer needs to be connected to a network either via wi-fi protected setup (WPS), which is designed to make it easier to connect to a wi-fi network. Second, the drivers that allow your printer to ‘speak’ to your computer need to be installed for proper functionality. We've included some information on both fixes below.'

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How to connect a printer to wi-fi using WPS

WPS lets you connect your devices to a network without entering a password. The technology is commonly supported by devices other than printers, including smart plugs and wi-fi extenders.

The vast majority of wireless printers support WPS, but you need to check that your router supports the same technology prior to setup. Most ISP routers from big-name providers will include this feature – BT, Virgin, Sky and TalkTalk, to name a few.

On the back of your router, look for a WPS button. Alternatively, you might spot an icon that shows two arrows in a circular motion, as seen in the middle icon, below.

WPS button on router

Now that you've found the WPS button, you can start the setup process. Do note that the steps for each printer model will differ slightly.

  • If your printer has a screen, navigate to Settings > Setup > Network, Wireless setup or WLAN setup > WPS
  • For printers without a screen, you will typically have to press and hold the wireless button until it starts blinking

Now that setup has begun, press the WPS button on your router within two minutes. Soon after, the devices will connect. You will usually see the wireless button turn a solid colour once connected.

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How to connect a printer to wi-fi using a wireless key

If you're connecting your printer to a wi-fi network using your wi-fi password, your printer will likely have a screen you can use to access the setup wizard. 

Select Setup > Network > Wireless Settings (or WLAN setup). Then, choose Wireless Setup Wizard. Your printer will search for nearby wi-fi networks. Once you select a network, you'll need to enter your wi-fi password. 

Assuming you haven't changed the password since buying your router, this will be in the router manual or printed on the back of your router. Many routers have a removable card with the wi-fi password on it.

Most of the printers made over the past 10 years have WPS. But if your printer doesn't support the technology (or perhaps it doesn't have a screen), there are other ways to connect to your network. You can download printer drivers to get set up (more on that further down the page); alternatively, try connecting your printer to your computer using a USB cable, where you'll be prompted to connect to wi-fi.

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How to install printer drivers

Printer drivers are available to download for free. These are designed to fix connection or compatibility problems between your computer and  printer, plus they can offer extra features.

Older printers might be let down by bugs that can be cured by updating the driver. Similarly, if the operating system on your computer has changed – from Windows 10 to Windows 11, for example – the older driver might not work properly. For the most part, Windows does a decent job of finding and installing drivers for your printer by itself. 

To add your printer to your wi-fi network, follow the steps below:

Install printer drivers on Windows 11

  1. Select Start > Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Printers & scanners
  2. Next to Add a printer or scanner, select Add device
  3. Wait for your computer to find the printer, and select Add device.
Printer options on Windows 11

Install printer drivers on Windows 10

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners > Add a printer or scanner
  2. Wait for your computer to find the printer, and select Add device.
Printer options on Windows 10

Install printer drivers on Mac

  1. Select the Apple menu, then System Settings > Printers & Scanners
  2. If you don’t see your printer listed, click Add Printer, Scanner or Fax
  3. When your printer appears in the list, select your printer, then click Add.
Printer options on Mac

Manually download printer drivers

Occasionally, your computer might fail to find a driver for the printer. In this instance, you can download and install drivers directly from the manufacturer of your printer.

Note your printer’s model number, then visit the manufacturer’s website. Look for a new driver on the download or support page for your device. Make sure you get the driver that’s specifically designed for your operating system.

Drivers are usually available as EXE files. After downloading a driver, double-click the file to install it and follow the on-screen instructions.

Canon printer drivers

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