Wireless printing with an HP Laserjet 1020 and Airport Extreme

Originally posted on August 12th, 2007

After pulling out my old Epson Stylus inkjet printer, only to find that after a year of non-use it now only printed ‘creative interpretations’ of what you wanted, we decided it was high time to upgrade. With printers being so cheap nowadays we decided to go for a monochrome laser, and after some looking around it seemed that the HP LaserJet 1020 would be perfect. There was only one catch — it didn’t support OSX. The bastards.

No problem though. Community to the rescue! Trawling the forums on macosxhints I found this post that described some workarounds which looked promising. So I took a risk and bought one, and after a couple of failed attempts I managed to get it printing nicely when connected to my MacBook Pro via USB.

With that out of the way I thought I’d give it a go hooked up to my Airport Extreme base station. However, once again it seemed that this was not supported. A quick Google turned up a few possible workarounds, but these didn’t work. After some playing around though I found a solution that DID work for me, so I thought I’d document it here for anyone else trying to get it sorted.

Note: This has worked for me on an Intel MacBook Pro running OSX 10.4.10, and also a PPC Mac Mini running the same system. Your mileage may vary depending on system etc.

Update, 13th March 08: I’ve now had reports of this working on OSX 10.5 also. I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s good to know that it is possible.

Update, 2nd May 08: I finally got Leopard on the weekend, and can confirm this still works. I did a complete erase + install, so had a completely clean system. The steps are similar, though I didn’t have to connect with a USB cable first, and the Printer Setup Utility app doesn’t seem to exist – I just added the printer by going to print a document and choosing “Add Printer” from the printer selection dropdown.

Update, 14th March 09: I've just stopped using Wordpress to host this site, so now don't have any comment facilities. I've archived this page though, and kept all comments at the bottom (make sure you read through – there's some really helpful info in them)

STEP 1: Get the printer drivers installed

Here are the steps I used to get the printer working via USB, hooked up direct to my machine (based on this list found on the forums). You will need to do this first before trying to print over Airport. There were a number of methods listed in the forums mentioned above, some much simpler, but this is the only one that worked for me. If you’ve already got your printer working on your machine, you can skip down to the next section.

STEP 2: Setting up the printer for Airport

Now to get it working over Airport. There may be other ways of doing this, but here is how it worked for me:

HP 1020 using Bonjour

Best of luck to anyone trying this out. From reading the forums it sounds like there have been many hours lost and much hair ripped out trying to get these printers working nicely on OSX. It seems crazy that HP would not support Mac systems for this printer, given the rise in popularity of Apple products in the last few years. But I’m guessing they must have some pretty strong reasons, given that it wouldn’t be hard for them to do (I mean, there is obviously software available that can already do the job). It’s just a question of how evil those reasons might be…

Update: A couple of days ago I went to print again, and the printer no longer worked over Airport. I deleted the printer from the Printer Utility and tried adding it again using the same method above, but the Bonjour list simply didn’t exist! I don’t know much about Bonjour, so was a little stumped. However, a restart of the Airport Base station, with the printer switched on and plugged in, somehow fixed that and it came back. Not sure what caused it to disappear, but if you’re having trouble then maybe just a restart is in order!


Comments are no longer active, but I have left a copy of them here in case they prove useful to you. Make sure to read them, as there are some very useful tips and potential fixes for issues you may be having.

  1. Tim Van Damme said: (on August 14th 2007, at 9:24 am)

    You, my man, totally friggin’ rock! Bought a 1020 because it was a cheap laserprinter, but forgot to check the compatibility with Mac… Will try this at home AND at work (yup, same problem over there)!

  2. Mike said: (on August 14th 2007, at 10:24 am)

    Awesome! Hope it works for you. Like I mentioned, there are a few methods around the forums for getting the printer to work, but each method has been a bit hit-and-miss for people. Fingers crossed that this will work for you as well as it did for me! Let me know how you get on :)

  3. mengeler said: (on August 25th 2007, at 4:05 am)

    Thank you! This worked for me. I’ve been trying to make this work for the past few days. What a relief. :-p

  4. Fred Freeman said: (on August 31st 2007, at 6:09 am)

    Thank you for the great write-up. It worked as described and I am greatful.

    Fred Freeman

  5. Jen said: (on September 17th 2007, at 2:41 pm)

    Thanks much! Works great so far!

  6. Casper said: (on October 8th 2007, at 10:03 am)

    THANK YOU, Much appreciated.
    You are offically my hero!

  7. Allan Odgaard said: (on October 12th 2007, at 1:33 am)

    I have the problem that “USB Printers” show “None” in the AirPort Admin Utility.

    I have successfully used my HP Laserjet 1020 with an AirPort Express, and I even had the AirPort Extreme 802.11n replaced, since I thought it was the USB port, but still the same problem.

    I don’t suppose you had a problem like that? I.e. the printer really should show (in AirPort Admin Utility) regardless of whether there is actually drivers that support it installed on the system, right?

  8. Mike said: (on October 12th 2007, at 10:19 am)

    Hi Allan,
    For me the printer seemed to show up straight away without issue, so I haven’t had to poke around too much in the AirPort Admin Utility. When I get home though I’ll check what my Admin Utility shows and let you know if I find anything useful. I would have assumed, as you said, that it should show up regardless of drivers.

  9. Mike said: (on October 13th 2007, at 9:15 am)

    Hi Allan - I just checked, and the summary on my Airport Admin does show the printer. Not sure why yours wouldn’t be, sorry.

  10. Allan Odgaard said: (on October 14th 2007, at 4:25 am)

    Thanks for checking — I’ll see if I can find another printer and try the Base Station with that.

  11. Glen said: (on December 8th 2007, at 4:55 pm)

    Just found this thread and ended up with the same problem as Allan. I have an HP Laserjet 1200 that shows up automatically in Airport Extreme when I plug it in. But when I plug in the new 1020, it doesn’t show. I can get the 1020 printer to work when simply connected to the computer.

  12. Dennis MENIS said: (on January 8th 2008, at 1:57 pm)

    Works like magic. Thanks Much!

  13. Frederick said: (on March 11th 2008, at 9:04 am)

    Do you think that this will work with OS 10.5?

  14. Mike said: (on March 11th 2008, at 9:53 am)

    @Frederick: I haven’t upgraded yet, so don’t know for sure. To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about it! Anyone else out there tried? That might put back my upgrade plans a bit if it doesn’t work… ;)

  15. jr said: (on March 13th 2008, at 6:26 am)

    thank you thank you thank you……been with apple tech support for 2 days and NOTHING! then searched on google and found this sight…printer is up and running. that old driver is a godsend!> thanks so much for posting…

  16. Mike said: (on March 13th 2008, at 8:32 am)

    @Frederick: I contacted @jr from the comment above and he has got the fix working on OSX 10.5.
    I feel more comfortable upgrading knowing that I won’t end up with a useless printer (fingers crossed)

  17. Donal said: (on March 20th 2008, at 7:55 pm)

    This article is an example of everything good about the internet: well written, factually accurate and unbiased.

    I have one thing to add: in OS 10.5.2, I found it better to “add an additional printer queue” by appending “wireless” to the default printer queue name at the point when the Bonjour printer is added. That way you can still print USB if needed.

  18. James said: (on April 5th 2008, at 6:09 am)

    The link is the trick. thanks :-)

  19. Henrik said: (on May 2nd 2008, at 5:53 am)

    Thank you very much!!! almost ripped out my hear a year now with trying to fix my 1020 printer. Now everything is smooth with wireless printing:)

    You're the man!

  20. Julio said: (on May 28th 2008, at 8:05 am)

    Just in case somebody faces the same problem: I tried using a 1020 connected to the Time Capsule USB port. The printer was not detected (reported as “none” in the Airport Utility). I used the IP trick referenced here, but then, before using the printer, I tried adding the printer again, and then it showed up as a Bonjour printer and Airport Utility was detecting the printer. As expected, after this the printer works fine and I removed the IP printer created during the process.

  21. Michael Sidebottom said: (on July 9th 2008, at 3:05 am)

    Airport basestations seem slow releasing the fact they have a Bonjour printer attached.

    My method:

    1. Remove printer from Printer list on the computer in Printer Setup Utility ( Mac OS 10.4 or earlier ) or Print Fax ( 10.5 prefer 10.5.3 or later ).
    2. Switch off printer, switch off basestation.
    3. Switch on basestation.
    4. Wait 1 minute or until basestation is ready for at least 30 secons, attach printer and then switch on printer.
    5. Wait 2 minutes, then try connecting to printer using Printer Setup Utility/ Print Fax.
    6. Look for printer using Bonjour.

    Works with many HP printers

    Many thanks for the tips above.

    Adding different printer drivers from HP does help.

  22. Jack said: (on July 27th 2008, at 9:42 am)

    I also had problems getting Print & Fax to “see” my 1020. I think it’s an issue with Leopard.

    Using Julio’s bizarre workaround (from May 28th) above, it worked! Give it a try if you’re having problems, too.

  23. Chad said: (on August 25th 2008, at 6:57 am)

    Worked for on OS 10.5.4 with a Airport Express and HP1020. I have also had success in the past but subsequent Apple updates have “broken” the solution.

  24. Niko said: (on September 2nd 2008, at 6:35 am)

    As I didn’t find the Bonjour Printers menu, I just added a new one. Since my 1020 was the only printer connected to my network via airport, it showed up in the list of available “new” printers.

    after downloading the mentioned driver, this driver was selected automatically and -


    thanks a lot!

    MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz, Mac OS X 10.5.4

  25. Niko said: (on September 2nd 2008, at 6:38 am)

    btw. I did NOT restart anything and even hot-plugged the printer…

  26. Zbieraj said: (on September 19th 2008, at 11:46 am)

    Thanks a lot Julio! Works just fine on Airport Express and Leopard 10.5.4! :)

  27. Bobby said: (on November 2nd 2008, at 12:22 pm)

    What do you guys do when the printer runs out of paper? How on earth do you reset it? I’ve tried unplugging the base station, restarting the computer, clearing cups, reseading the toner, restarting the base station, clearing the print queue, pausing the print queue, deleting the print queue items.

    I have the newer of the two drivers installed, and it won’t simply let you add it, I guess you have to revert to the old one to print and then re-upgrade because right now, it is saying there is no driver installed.

  28. Pontus Sandberg said: (on December 8th 2008, at 4:17 am)


    Thanks man. Awesome guide. It worked like a charm


  29. Jeff said: (on February 9th 2009, at 6:56 am)

    I figured out how to resume the printing on OS X with and the 1020. It used to be that I would have to clear the que and unplug the printer and start over.

    I just discovered if you lift the ink cartridge access panel and then close it the printer resets and resumes printing.


  30. Jonathan said: (on February 20th 2009, at 11:19 am)

    I am running OS10.5.6 and have not had any luck with any of the previous suggestions. My HP 1020 will work fine when hooked up directly, but through the Airport Extreme - Nothing. The printer shows up in dialog box, but when you send a document, it never prints. It sounds like those of you using 10.5.4 have had luck - has something changed with 10.5.6? Anyone had sucess?

  31. Shine said: (on March 11th 2009, at 7:11 am)

    Finally !

    I’ve succeeded in installing the HP 1020 and printing trough the Airport Express from both Windows XP and Mac OS 10.5.6 (this is your confirmation, Jonathan :)

    The trick is really to wait a few minutes when powering and connecting the AE and the printer (many thanks to Michael Sidebottom), and then to set up an IP printer (see Julio’s precedent post).

    After that, the printer shows up again in Bonjour. After a shutdown of the printer, one must wait again a few minutes before the AE recognizes the printer when powering it up again (boring, but still.. HP1020 is a cheap but valuable printer!)

    - As a side note : under Win XP I recommand sticking to you IP printer setup to get the printer ready.