Universal Print Now Supports Scanned QR Codes Using Android or iOS Devices
Universal Print users can now release print jobs via their Android or iOS mobile devices.
Microsoft announced on Monday that the "secure release" feature of Universal Print-supported printers now works with QR codes scanned by Android or iOS devices.
The secure release feature for printers supporting Universal Print will only print a document when a user goes to a printer and attests to their identity, such as via a PIN. Now, those users also can walk up to Universal Print printer and scan a QR code using an Android or iOS device to release a print job.
Mobile device users need to be signed into their organization's Microsoft 365 Mobile App account to use this feature. They also need to be authenticated to Entra ID (formerly "Azure Active Directory") for the secure release QR scanning to work, the announcement explained:
Unlike other secure release solutions like badge release, which require high-end printers and badge readers, QR code release works as long as your end-users have the Microsoft 365 app on their mobile devices and are authenticated to Microsoft Entra ID (Azure AD).
Microsoft doesn't recommend enabling secure release with both PINs and QR codes, which would require additional steps for end users to print jobs. "It is not recommended to enable secure release with QR code with printers that already have other secure release mechanisms enabled," this Microsoft document on the topic explained.
The document also noted that there can be some snarls if users are signed into a business account, along with a personal account, on an Android device.
IT pros have to set up the printer via the Azure Portal to be able to use scanned QR codes in this way. The actual QR code gets generated during the setup process. IT pros next need to print out the QR code and then tape it or glue it to the printer, which is a perhaps surprisingly low-tech aspect to Microsoft's scheme.
The ability to use secure release with QR codes on mobile devices has some requirements. The Microsoft 365 Mobile App needs to be at "version 16.0.16501 or later for Android and version 2.76 or later for iOS." Users need to have been assigned a Universal Print license, too.
While the QR code scanning capability is said to be part of the secure release feature, sometimes Microsoft has depicted the secure release feature as more of a paper and toner-saving solution, rather than as a security feature. It makes a user physically get a print job, instead of mistakenly printing it twice. However, the general idea is that someone with access rights will pick up the printed copy, and not leave potentially sensitive information exposed in a print pile.
Microsoft's announcement also reminded Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 Universal Print users that they now have a print allocation of "100 print jobs per user per month, pooled for the tenant." Microsoft had announced that print allocation expansion (from five print jobs per user) back in April, and it was supposed to come into effect on May 1, 2023.
Universal Print is "free" for Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 users, but it has pooled print allocations per month that require IT pros to keep track of the volume of printing. If an organization exceeds its monthly pooled print allocation, then IT pros must purchase "add-on packs," which consist of 500 print jobs.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.