[Update: Aug. 07] macOS Big Sur update broke printing function on your Mac? Check out these possible workarounds

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Original story (published on November 24, 2020) follows:

The macOS Big Sur update is probably one of the most feature-rich updates that Apple has released recently for its macOS machines.

It carries several improvements and even brings one of the biggest UI overhauls to macOS, bringing it more in line with the UI offered on iOS 14.

macos-big-sur-printing-issue

Of course, a quick Google search will serve you dozens upon dozens of articles detailing all that’s new and the same goes with videos on YouTube.

But before getting excited about the new features and improvements, it’s also worth noting that, like most other software updates, the macOS Big Sur update also has its fair share of bugs and issues.

Take for example the bug we reported of earlier which prevents some MacBook users on Big Sur from booting their devices while connected to a monitor via Thunderbolt.

Now, another issue appears to be troubling many Mac users. After installing the macOS Big Sur (11) update, users are reporting that the printing function is now broken.

We’ve shared multiple reports from affected users below:

Printing went well on Catalina. Now printing stopped and showed message ‘Filter failed’. Using printer Lexmark C543 and removed and entered the printer once. Same problem. Printer supply is visible in browser. Seems to be OS problem. (Source)

Same problem overher with my Lexmark CX310 when i print. Printer receives nothing it even does not even wake up. Tried to install new drivers from Lexmark but this is also resulting in an error so new driver are not installed. (Source)

My company we run a Canon C5035, we updated all the iMac 2019 and MacBook to OS Big Sur…Now when we print the text comes out as gray squares. This is a monumental problem for our business. Please provide support ASAP. (Source)

I already updated the latest version MacOS Big Sur Beta 11.0 (20A5384c) but after updated i got some issue in printing the documents. In first beta update document printed but only pictures are printed no paragraph is printed. After second update my new printer HP Laser jet Pro M15a installed but not printing even no error showing. Need support on it. (Source)

As you can see, the problem seems to be affecting users with all sorts of different printers. Therefore, it certainly cannot be pinned down to a certain printer model or even brand for that matter.

At present, the problem has not been acknowledged by Apple directly, although it does have a general fix for printing issues that we’ve shared below.

Furthermore, what seems to be the most likely issue is the printer drivers or rather, lack thereof, as highlighted by a user and a report.

macbook-pro-13

I was able to print using a USB cable though, after downloading the latest driver and connecting to the printer via an old USB type 1 cable that I had around. Seems like Epson needs to update their driver software. (Source)

Most printer manufacturers are yet to release new drivers with support for macOS Big Sur. Therefore, it’s more than likely that most issues would be fixed once the updated drivers go live.

But until then, you might want to try these possible workarounds which may fix the problem for you.

Workarounds for printing issues on macOS Big Sur

1) Reset the Mac printing system (official fix):

1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Printers & Scanners.

2. Press and hold the Control key as you click in the list at the left, then choose “Reset printing system” from the menu that appears.

3. After you reset the printing system, the list of printers in Printers & Scanners preferences is empty.

4. Re-add any printers.

This should fix the issue for some users, however, there are chances that your printer might not work even after performing the steps above.

2) Download the open-source Gutenprint driver:

It seems that users have managed to fix the problem after downloading and installing the Gutenprint driver which is completely free. All you need to do is download the latest package from here and install it on your Mac computer.

3) Check for the latest drivers:

Make sure that you have the latest drivers for your printer installed on your Mac computer running macOS Big Sur. There’s a possibility that the current printer drivers aren’t supported on the latest OS.

Therefore, updating the drivers to the latest version might fix the issue for good. Most manufactures provide the drivers on their websites so you should be able to get your hands on the drivers within a few minutes.

That being said, we will continue to keep an eye out for any new developments regarding the broken printing function on macOS Big Sur and will post an update once new details emerge.

In the meantime, do let us know whether any of the workarounds provided here helped you fix the problem. Further, feel free to let us know if we missed out on a workaround that helped you fix the problem.

Update 1 (March 09, 2021)

For Lexmark users still experiencing this issue, someone seems to have found a workaround and we’ve shared it below.

For Lexmark printers (is what I have…) just install the same driver for your printer using in the “use” drop menu the Generic PostScript Printer.
Source

Another couple or so users also say turning to AirPrint instead of USB does the trick for them, so you should try it too if your printer is supported.

I tried your solution and it failed 30-50% of the time to print. Instead of selecting the Lexmark driver (even though installed) I selected AirPrint- viola! 100% success rate so far.
Source

Update 2 (March 12, 2021)

Going by reports, it appears the problem continues to persist even in the recent versions of macOS Big Sur ( i.e. 11.2.2 and 11.2.3).

Update 3 (April 01, 2021)

Going by the information shared by one of the affected users (with a Canon printer) deleting the printer and re-installing from the official website did the trick for them. Here’s what they shared:

Hi! This solved my problem. Running 11.2.3 MacOS BigSur MacBook Air 2017 model. Using Canon Pixma MP237
Just delete the printer and download & install this from the canon website. Copy the URL below and remove the space between h and t in the “https” before clicking enter.
h ttps://ph.canon/en/support/0100556501/12?model=6220B

Update 4 (June 10, 2021)

The information coming from a HP support agent conveys that following steps may help those facing the issue on their HP printers after after Big Sur update:

Make sure the cable is directly connected between the Mac and the printer.

The use of a USB hub is not recommended. Also, make sure the cable is connected to a USB 2.0 port on your Mac.

Do you have an Anti-virus/firewall installed on the Mac? If yes, disable the same for time being.

To check, select the Go menu on the top of the screen and go to the Applications folder.

Check if the printer is getting recognized by your Mac:
From the Apple menu, choose About This Mac.
Click System Report.
Under the Hardware heading on the left side of the System Information window, click USB.
USB 3 devices appear under USB 3.0 Bus, and USB 2 devices appear under USB 2.0 Bus.

Check for any software updates on Mac

Click the Apple icon > About This Mac > Software Update and install any available update.

If you installed the HP Smart app from the HP site, delete from Users/Username/Library/Application support

Then delete the app in the Applications folder and download the HP Smart app from the App Store.

Additionally, this troubleshooting article can also be referred to.

Update 5 (June 16, 2021)

As pointed out by an individual, if you’re facing issues with a wireless printer, you may first have to check whether your printer is compatible with 5 GHz wireless networks along with the standard 2.4 GHz networks.

Then, you may have to change a few settings on the router to make it connect to the printer such as the automatic (smart) detection of devices. Here’s what the individual says:

If automatic, the router may fail to successfully connect to a 2.4 GHz-only printer every time. Should one look upon the bands as separate networks or not? This can all be very confusing, especially since different routers have different capabilities.

Also, Apple says that it is not a good idea use different names for 2.4GHz and 5GHz, when Brother says the opposite. So, tests may be needed in the individual case.

Therefore, you may have to run a short experiment to check whether or not your router and printer are able to pair up without any hiccups.

Update 6 (June 18, 2021)

In case you’re not sure if your printer is compatible with AirPrint, Apple has a list of supported printers that you can check out here.

AirPrint lets you print in full quality without having to install dedicated drivers on your Mac. Hence, this should help you figure out whether or not you need to install drivers for your printer or not.

Update 7 (June 19, 2021)

One of the complainants with a Zebra LP2844 printer has been informed that in case the support for their printer is dropped they need to ensure they have CUPS Driver for Mac OS.

This could help if support for your printer has been dropped. Additionally, Apple support re-directed the user to the troubleshooting page.

Update 8 (August 07, 2021)

In case you’ve got an old printer, then you can head here to download the official drivers for your printer from most major companies. Apple, however, has stopped maintaining the page, so don’t expect anything new.

NOTE: There are more such stories in our dedicated Apple section so be sure to go through it as well.

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Dwayne Cubbins

I've been interested in tech for as long as I can remember. And I used to be a Windows Phone enthusiast. When I am not writing about tech, I'm on the couch playing games with my squad. Oh, I also play the guitar and drums.