Android 11’s “Share to Print” feature will make it easier to print images and PDFs
Back in 2017, Google introduced a built-in print service on Android Oreo for printers that support the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP). Before that, users had to search for third-party print services on the Play Store in order to print something from their Android device. This change was brought about by technology contributed to AOSP by the Mopria Alliance, which was founded by Canon, HP, Samsung, and Xerox. Mopria Alliance has since played a major role in improving printing on Android devices, bringing support for WiFi Direct Printing in Android Pie. Now, an engineer from the Mopria Alliance has submitted code to AOSP which suggests that Android 11 might include a new ‘Share to Print’ feature that will simplify printing images and PDF files.
Google just merged a new commit to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) to enable “share to print” — a feature that will give developers the ability to send an intent to the Print Service to directly print images or PDF files without the user having to manually choose a print service from the share menu. As of now, it doesn’t look like this code change will add a dedicated print button to the share menu as, in its current form, the feature is just a way to bypass the share menu and enable apps to directly send images/PDFs to the default printing service.
The code suggests that in Android 11 developers will be able to add a “print” button to their apps that directly sends an image or PDF to the user’s default printing service. This “print” button should be constructed to send an intent targeted to either the activity “com.android.bips.ImagePrintActivity” or “com.android.bips.PdfPrintActivity”, and with the action “android.intent.action.SEND”, category “android.intent.category.DEFAULT”, and data with the image or PDF file.
According to the commit description, this feature “makes[s] it easier for apps to print to any supported printer via a normal share intent.” The PrintManager handles sending content at an appropriate resolution for printing to any installed and enabled Print Service. The commit further reveals that image content “is downscaled to a good DPI for preview (screen DPI) or delivery (300 DPI).” The fit or fill options are “activated by the user’s landscape vs. portrait print attribute selection,” and photos “default to a locale-specific default photo media size.” As of now, there’s no official information from Google regarding the matter, but we expect to learn more in the weeks leading up to the first Android 11 open beta release.