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The best Polaroid printer for iPhone: Bring your photos to life

Materialize your iPhone photos with a handy printer!
By

Published onApril 8, 2023

iPhone 12 Pro Max taking photo screen
David Imel / Android Authority

As great smartphone cameras become more ubiquitous, we feel like people are starting to become desensitized to memorable pictures. They usually live in our smartphones, or the cloud. The few that make it out to the public go to social media. Actually printing your images makes them tangible and can bring photos back to the precious treasures they once were. This is why today we’re putting together a guide on the best Polaroid printer for iPhone.

Editor’s note: We use the term “Polaroid printer” because it is what most people recognize, but we will add photo printers that aren’t from the Polaroid brand, too.

Buying the right photo printer for your needs

Fujifilm Instax SP 2 on table 4

What makes a photo printer for iPhone good? Of course, it needs to be compatible with iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system. The right option will be able to connect to your iPhone either wirelessly using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, or physically, using a wire or other methods. Some may even have cloud connectivity, which means your iPhone might not even need to be within range.

Besides connectivity, there are a few other factors to consider. An important one is size. If you want your Polaroid printer for iPhone to be portable, you might want to avoid more oversized products. You also want to look into other portability issues like battery life.

Of course, there is also image quality. Some use true chemical reactions, much like actual instant cameras did in the past. Others work more like standard photo printers, and have a maximum resolution you can print images at. The latter tend to be more color accurate, but the ones using chemical reactions will produce results similar to those retro Polaroid pictures many of you love.

Oh, and there is one very important factor many ignore when choosing the right photo printer for iPhone; the paper it uses. Some look like traditional Polaroids, with white or colored borders. Others use paper with no edges, making prints more like modern prints. If you want to get playful, some printers output prints with an adhesive back, turning your precious memories into fun stickers.

Aside from how much fun you can have with your prints, what makes picking the right paper so important is availability. Paper from more renowned and popular brands will be easier to find, so we recommend sticking with major companies.

Polaroid Lab Instant Printer: The best of the best

Of course, the best Polaroid printer for iPhone comes straight from Polaroid itself. The Polaroid Lab Instant Printer uses true Polaroid chemistry to print images. This means you’ll have to wait for the photo to develop and all, as it uses Polaroid’s standard I-Type or 600 film.

The Polaroid Lab Instant Printer can turn any smartphone photo into a precious memoir.

The best part is that this photo printer for iPhone doesn’t need a real connection, wired or wireless. You can use the app to arrange your image or collage, then simply put the phone over the printer and press the shutter button. Essentially, it’s taking a photo of your photo on the screen.

Polaroid Lab Instant PrinterPolaroid Lab Instant Printer
Polaroid Lab Instant Printer
MSRP: $129.99

Pros

  • Very cool looking
  • Uses standard I-Type or 600 Polaroid film
  • True Polaroid chemistry

Cons

  • A bit too large to easily carry around
  • Pricey

Are you looking for other recommendations? While the Polaroid Lab Instant Printer is our top recommendation, keep reading below for additional choices worth considering.

Other products worth considering

The best X products

  • Polaroid Hi-Print: This is the second-best option for users who want a fun experience from Polaroid. It connects wirelessly, and printed photos come with a sticky back.
  • Fujifilm instax SQUARE Link: This is the best printer if you prefer square format images. It is also good looking and very portable.
  • Fujifilm instax Link WIDE: Wide photos can provide a better view for some images, and this Fujifilm printer follows a great design language.
  • Fujifilm instax mini EVO: This Fujifilm instant camera does more than shoot and develop photos. You can also use it as a printer for your mobile photos through the official app!
  • Canon IVY CLIQ+2: This Canon camera also works as a mobile printer, and the application offers more playful features many of you might enjoy.
  • KODAK Dock Plus 4PASS: This is a high-quality option if you want to get more serious about your photo printer.

Polaroid Hi-Print: Great for mobility and fun

Other photo printers for iPhone are great, but some of you care more about having fun with photos. This is where the Polaroid Hi-Print comes in. It is small, portable, and great-looking. This means you can take it around your adventures.

If you take a nice photo with your iPhone, simply pull it out and print a small 2×3 photo right away. The back peels off, turning the printed image into a sticker. It’s a Polaroid printer, so you know the paper will be easy to find at any major store or online.

The official app makes it possible to customize the images, too. You can add stickers, filters, and even text to your snaps. Additionally, you can use the app to order more paper cartridges.

Polaroid Hi-PrintPolaroid Hi-Print
Polaroid Hi-Print
MSRP: $99.99

Pros

  • Small and portable
  • Very fun design
  • The app makes it easy to customize photos
  • Paper is easy to find and purchase
  • Prints photos with a sticky back

Cons

  • Prints are a bit too small

Fujifilm instax SQUARE Link: The best mobile printer with a square format

Are you a fan of the square 1:1 image ratio used in social networks like Instagram? Then this is the photo printer for iPhone you need. It comes from Polaroid’s biggest competitor, Fujifilm.

The Fujifilm instax SQUARE Link is nicely built, portable, and fun. It will print small 62 x 62mm photos with a pretty nice 800 x 800 dot resolution. And it can print about 100 images on a full charge.

Included app features are a bit more elaborate, too. Aside from being able to use the app to customize images add filters, write text, and create collages, you can also use AR Print to create live effects. You can print pictures with a QR code and enjoy fun visuals live, using a phone’s camera.

If you want similar features and don’t care much for the 1:1 image ratio, you can also look into the Fujifilm instax mini Link 2. The photos are smaller, but you’ll save some cash.

Fujifilm instax SQUARE LinkFujifilm instax SQUARE Link
Fujifilm instax SQUARE Link
MSRP: $139.99

Pros

  • Pretty portable
  • Advanced photo customization with AR features
  • Paper is easy to find and purchase
  • It uses a square 1:1 image ratio

Cons

  • A bit pricey for what you get

Fujifilm instax Link WIDE: For wider, larger prints

Plenty of mobile printers can take larger, wide photos, but those produce much more modern-looking prints. This is the best option if you still want to keep that Polaroid style. The Fujifilm instax Link WIDE uses the instax WIDE instant film, which has a picture size of 86 x 108mm. This can offer a broader perspective that is great for showcasing more in an image.

It comes with all the fun features you get from the instax mini Link 2 and SQUARE Link. You can edit photos, create collages, add filters, use stickers, take advantage of AR effects, and more. It even has the same design and build quality, just in a larger body.

Fujifilm instax Link WIDEFujifilm instax Link WIDE
Fujifilm instax Link WIDE
MSRP: $149.95

Pros

  • Larger, but still relatively portable
  • Advanced photo customization with AR features
  • Paper is easy to find and purchase
  • Creates wider, larger prints

Cons

  • Expensive

Fujifilm instax mini EVO: An instant camera that doubles as a printer!

Isn’t that the coolest instant camera you’ve seen? It has that classic Fuji aesthetic we all know and love, and it’s made beautifully. Before you go to the comments and complain about the fact that this is not a printer but an instant camera, let us tell you it’s actually both. Fujifilm calls it a hybrid camera, because it can also operate as a photo printer for iPhone devices, as well as Android ones.

You can use the official app to send images to print on the Fujifilm instax mini EVO. You can also use the application to edit, add filters, and more.

The Fujifilm instax mini EVO is among the best instant cameras around. And it also works as a photo printer!

This gadget is no lackluster as an instant camera, either. In fact, it’s among the best instant cameras around. It has a film camera-style dial that allows you to switch between filters. The tactile lens ring turns to modify lens effects. It has a mirror in the front, which you can use for shooting selfies. If you like to switch between landscape and portrait orientation, the camera has two shutter buttons you can use more comfortably in either position.

All that said, such a great product won’t come cheap. The MSRP sits uncomfortably at $199.95. You can’t get much better than the Fujifilm instax mini EVO if you want a good instant camera and a mobile photo printer for iPhone, though.

Fujifilm instax mini EVOFujifilm instax mini EVO
Fujifilm instax mini EVO
MSRP: $199.99

Pros

  • Awesome instant camera with an outstanding design
  • Doubles as a mobile photo printer
  • Advanced photo customization
  • Paper is easy to find and purchase

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Small 86 x 54mm prints

Canon IVY CLIQ+2: If you want to spend less on a camera/printer hybrid

The Fujifilm instax mini EVO is mighty awesome, but it’s expensive. Luckily, Canon has the IVY CLIQ+2, which is also a camera and printer hybrid, but costs less at $149.99 MSRP. And you can find deals on it more often. We commonly see it at about $130, which is as much as what you would pay for many standalone mobile photo printers.

This camera can print images at 2 x 3in, using a 314 x 600 dot resolution. It prints borderless, and the pictures come with a sticky back.

On the camera side, it has a 2in selfie mirror, an 8MP sensor, and an 8-LED flash. Not amazing, but it will take some good instant shots. You can also customize your photo using the official Canon Mini Print app.

Canon IVY CLIQ+2Canon IVY CLIQ+2
Canon IVY CLIQ+2
MSRP: $149.99

Pros

  • Fun instant camera
  • Doubles as a mobile photo printer
  • Pretty affordable for what you get
  • Produces fun sticker prints
  • Small and portable

Cons

  • Small prints at 2 x 3in

KODAK Dock Plus 4PASS: For more serious printing needs

KODAK Dock Plus 4PASS

This isn’t technically a Polaroid printer for iPhone, as it doesn’t really print instant camera-style photos. We thought it was important to add an option for those who want a bit of a more traditional photo printer, though. The KODAK Dock Plus 4PASS takes things to the next level if you want to get serious about your mobile photo printing.

It is expensive at $168 MSRP, but some of you will value what it has to offer. KODAK is quick to mention the per-photo price, which this printer is said to save you as much as 50% per print, compared to other alternatives. This is because it uses traditional photo paper and ink. That said, you will need to purchase ink constantly.

KODAK Dock Plus 4PASS prints can last 100 years!

Once you’re ready to print, you can do so using Bluetooth, or simply docking your iPhone on the printer. You can either use USB-C for Android devices, or take advantage of the Lightning adapter to plug in your iPhone. The printer will charge your device while in use, which is pretty convenient.

KODAK uses 4PASS Technology to print in layers of color, and uses a laminating process. This makes images fingerprint-proof, water-resistant, dust-repellent, and UV-resistant. KODAK also claims these images can last 100 years. These photo prints are larger at 4 x 6in, and you can pick between bordered or borderless impressions.

KODAK Dock Plus 4PASSKODAK Dock Plus 4PASS
KODAK Dock Plus 4PASS
MSRP: $199.99

Pros

  • Resistant, long-lasting prints
  • Larger photos
  • Charges your phone when docked
  • Cheaper per-print costs

Cons

  • Large and bulky
  • Expensive

FAQs

Most of the popular, portable mobile photo printers don’t require ink. These often use chemical reactions to produce images, or the paper cartridges come with everything you need. They operate similar, if not identical, to how instant cameras work.

That said, there are some printers that are more similar to modern ones, but with mobility in mind. These will require photo paper and ink to operate.

Mobile printers require electricity to work, even if it uses chemical reactions to develop images. This is because they use things like Bluetooth, and mechanisms that move inside. If your mobile photo printer has a rechargeable battery, you will need to charge it.

There are many companies that make Polaroid-style printers for smartphones. The most popular ones are Polaroid, Fujifilm, Canon, Kodak, and HP.

No. Different printer makers use various paper standards and technologies. Additionally, models have requirements in terms of paper size. You will need to make sure you get the right paper or cartridges for your specific printer.

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