There is nothing more annoying than having several print queues waiting to be finished or working with a printer that crashes, reports jammed paper problems or is very slow to print. Maybe you do not know that OS X includes a function to reset the printing system that in many cases can solve these problems or annoying bugs: let’s see which is this features, when and how to use it.

If you use the printer often, you will probably have problems with the cartridges depleted or dried, sheets jammed in the roller, printing blocked due to problems with the printer or the RAM run out and many others, but perhaps in this guide I can unveil a Swiss army knife that could help you solve some of these problems even if I suggest you to use it only in extreme and strictly necessary cases.

Reset printing system: what is it and when to use it?

An incorrectly used operating system, infrequent formatting, out-of-date drivers can cause numerous problems during printing, and I’ve listed some of them in the introductory paragraph; but nothing more annoying is to find a queue of documents to be printed permanently blocked.

Nevertheless, it is important, before proceeding with the reset, to understand when it is necessary and when it could however not resolve.

In fact, it should not be used if you are in one of these conditions:

  • printer probably faulty due to water
  • cartridge (supplies) sold out
  • hardware damage
  • the printer does not turn on
  • damaged USB cable or USB port not working
  • you’re using an unsupported paper sheet or weight format

The reintroduction of OSX printing system causes the final elimination of all faxes, scanners and printers configured with the Mac: thus performing the reset you will need to reinstall all the devices that you had and then you have to reuse them in possession in CD/DVD drivers, re-download them from the official website of the manufacturer or via the Mac App Store.

How to reset printers on Mac OSX

To reset your Mac’s print settings, proceed as follows:

  • disconnect all printers, scanners and faxes from the Mac
  • open the Printing Preferences
  • click on Printers and Scanners
  • click with the right mouse button on the list of devices that appears on the left
  • choose Reset printing system 
  • confirm by clicking on Reset 
  • restart the Mac
  • turn on faxes, printers and scanners and connect them to your Mac
  • proceed to the correct reinstallation and configuration with the latest drivers

This is the correct way to reset printer drivers and make sure that there are no communication problems between your Mac and the printing device especially if you often encounter print queue blocks or similar errors.


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