How to Print Mailing Labels from an iPhone or iPad

This blog post is about printing labels from an iPhone or iPad using an app called Address Labels for CardLists. I have another article about how to print just about anything from an iPhone or iPad. Take your pick!


It’s time to mail your holiday cards. You may recall from previous posts (this one from 2012, and this one from 2014) that when it comes to printing mailing labels from an iPhone or iPad, I really like the app called Address Labels for CardLists. Lucky us: Address Labels for CardLists’ developer updated his app recently, making it even easier to produce good-looking mailing labels directly from our iOS devices. Here’s how the updated app works.

labels from phone: get_cardlists_button

(If you want to print mailing labels from your Mac, use the Contacts app– formerly known as “the Address Book app.” Here’s a link to my article showing you how to do that.)

First thing to do: download the Address Labels for CardLists app. (The screenshots in this tutorial are from an iPhone– specifically, my iPhone 8 Plus– but the app works just as well on an iPad.)

When you start the app, you’ll something like this:

Address Labels for CardLists
Address Labels for CardLists opening screen

Do what it says: tap the “+” button (upper right) to create a new list. (The app can manage as many lists as you like– maybe you’ll make one list of Christmas card recipients, another with customers, maybe a third with classmates. Here we’ll just work with one list.)

Address Labels for CardLists helps you name your list (choose from the scrolling lists or just name your list yourself, as I did.). For this example I am going to send a card to people named “Chris” so I’ve named my list that way. Tap “Save” at top right when you’re done. (You can edit the name later if you change your mind so don’t spend too much time on choosing the perfect name.) See below.

Naming a list
Naming a list

Here’s my “list of lists” (just the one list). Tapping the circled red “i” would let me rename the list, FYI.

A short list of lists
A short list of lists

Now we want to put some names into our list. Address Labels for CardLists gives us two ways to do it: copy names and addresses from your iPhone’s Contacts app (easy), and enter the names yourself, for Address Labels for CardLists’ exclusive use (harder). If you’re going to type in addresses, it’s better for you to type them into the Contacts app on the iPhone or iPad rather than directly into Address Labels for CardLists. Then let Address Labels for CardLists pull them in. In this way, your iPhone will “know” about these new addresses, making them available for Maps and other apps that use location data.

(It is important to recognize that Address Labels for CardLists “pulls in” data from the Contacts app. It doesn’t “share” data from Contacts– it’s a one-way, one-time “pull.” This is a huge plus, as it lets you make changes to the mailing labels after you’ve pulled in the names, without messing up your iPhone’s contacts. For example, you have a contact on your iPhone for “Joe Smith.” You want to print a label for him but you want it to say “The Smith Family.” Address Labels for CardLists lets you do that for the label while leaving the original contact untouched– because the Address Labels for CardLists data is a copy.)

Whether you’re importing names and addresses from your iPhone’s existing contacts, or adding them directly to Address Labels for CardLists’ data, you start by tapping the name of the list (you will see a nice reminder, in red type, saying “Tap to add names.”)

Now you see a nice snowy scene, putting you in the mood for Christmas cards. The part of this screen that really matters is the green “+” topped by a Santa Claus hat. It’s at top right of the screen. Tap it.

Ready to add names to the list
Ready to add names to the list

Now you see your choices (“Add names from Contacts” and “Add names manually.” See below.

Add from Contacts or manually
Add from Contacts or manually

We’re going to tap the “Add names from Contacts” button, which leads us to a screen asking us to allow Address Labels for CardLists to access your iPhone’s contacts. You have to allow it. If you don’t, Address Labels for CardLists can’t pull in the data. Once you’ve OK’d it, you see this screen. It’s a list of every “Group” in your iPhone’s Contacts list, plus an “All Contacts” choice at the bottom.

Ready to bring in a Group from Contacts
Ready to bring in a Group from Contacts

I’m going to choose “People named Chris” here. I’d already made a Contacts Group, on my Mac, consisting entirely of people named Chris. It’s possible that you don’t have any groups at all, in which case you would choose “All Contacts.” (You can winnow down the list in the next step– you don’t have to make a label for everyone just because chose “All Contacts.”)

Now go through the names and tap to put a checkmark next to the ones you want in your list (tap to check, tap again to uncheck). You have “Select All” and “Unselect All” buttons at the bottom of the screen to help in this process.

Check and uncheck
Check and uncheck

When you’ve checked and unchecked as desired, tap the “Import” button at top left and the checked names will be pulled into your list. Congratulations– the hard part is done!

(This is the time to adjust the names (“The Smith Family” or “Joe and Susan Smith” etc.) Do that by tapping a name and editing it.)

Now let’s print. Tap the red printer icon at bottom right (it shows up after you tap “Import”) and you’ll get some choices, as shown below:

After clicking the printer icon
After clicking the printer icon

We’re going to print Address Labels but it’s nice to know we can print Return Address Labels if we want to. This is a nice feature. Anyhow, tap Address Labels and you get one more chance to uncheck a few names (they’ll still be in your list, but you won’t be printing them this time). Tap “Print” at top right, and you’ll see a preview of your labels (although, if it’s the first time you’ve used the app, you’ll be asked to choose a label format):

More Options
More Options

You can choose from various sizes of labels from a scrolling list. The screen also gives you hints for successful printing.

Choosing a particular label type
Choosing a particular label type

We are getting very, very close now!

You can print your labels to any AirPrint printer (if your printer is on a WiFi network, and your Phone can join that network, it will probably work), you can change fonts and colors, and you can email the labels as a PDF to someone who will print them for you, and you can tell the app where to start printing in case you’re using a sheet of labels that’s missing a few (very nice, Nigel).

If you look closely you’ll see the labels squirm around a bit on the page. That’s OK– the app is just trying to keep things centered on a label by label basis. It also changes font sizes in order to make things fit. Some labels need to be printed in a smaller font in order to fit. The app takes care of that for you.

Previewing the printed labels
Previewing the printed labels

You might change your mind about printing ten down, three across– in that case, tap the Settings button at top right in the Preview screen, and you’ll see the same Settings options we just looked at.

Odds and Ends

A few noteworthy extras:

First, there’s a backup system that puts a copy of your contact list(s) into your Dropbox folder. The backups take up almost no room. Make a backup by tapping the Dropbox icon at lower left on the screen that shows the lists (the first screen shown in this tutorial).

Second, you can change your mind and remove people from your mailing list. Just swipe left and delete. You can also tap the envelope to the left of a person’s name to show status: you’ve either written that person’s card, or you’ve mailed that person’s card, or you’ve done neither. Just keep tapping until you see the proper indicator.

Third, you can indicate that a person’s sent YOU a card by tapping the envelope to the right of the person’s name.

Fourth, there’s a super support website available right from the app in the Address Labels for CardLists window (first picture in this tutorial). Go there by tapping the globe in the lower right corner (or by clicking this link).

To summarize: if you want to print mailing labels from your iPhone or iPad there’s nothing better than Address Labels for CardLists.

Download Address Labels for CardLists from the App Store.

labels from phone: get_cardlists_button

Here’s the icon, so you know you’ve found the right thing:

Address Labels for CardLists
Address Labels for CardLists

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UPDATE: there’s another label-making app that you ought to try. It’s called “Label Printer.” How’s THAT for being straight to the point? Address Labels for CardLists is Label Printer is worth a look.

Click here to get Label Printer from the App Store.


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12 thoughts on “How to Print Mailing Labels from an iPhone or iPad

  1. Hi Christian
    I’ve just downloaded ‘label printer’ and can’t increase front size from tiny, any ideas?
    Penny

    1. Hi Penny. The program has settings (two little gears at bottom left) which control a lot of things, including font and maximum font size. If your labels have long lines of text (like a mailing address might have) then you aren’t going to hit the maximum size. The app sizes each label downward until it fits properly on the label. This could result in some labels having larger font sizes than others.

      I hope that helps! The developer is also very friendly about Q & A so reach out to him too. Go to this page:

      http://labelprinterapp.com

      and scroll to the bottom to find the developer’s email address.

  2. I’ve just discovered this post and it’s very helpful! Thank you!

    I’m wondering, is there a way to use the My Card List app to export your list to be printed by Avery via the “We Print” feature? If not, do you have any recommendations for doing so from an iPhone? The only info I’ve found has been Excel-centric.

    1. Interesting question. Basically, Avery’s WePrint service wants an Excel-style file– either a native Excel file or a CSV file. MyCardLists doesn’t make that kind of file, and the PDF it generates is not easily converted to a rows-and-columns kind of document. So, I think MyCardLists won’t do it for you (although if I were you I would contact the developer and ask).

      There are apps that export your contacts on your iPhone to an Excel sheet and you could upload such a file to WePrint. However, I have not found an app that lets you choose a group (they all seem to export all, or make you check the ones you want to export).

      There may be a better way for you do do this– let’s discuss. Are your contacts ONLY on your iPhone? Do you have an iCloud account (or an Apple ID)? Do you have access to a computer?

  3. I need to make labels with name only, not address. Then job description underneath. i.e.

    John Smith

    Artist
    Also would be useful to pick up names from ContactsPro

    Is this possible.

    1. This is a little tricky. ContactsPro has two sets of names– those it pulled from Contacts, and those that are entered into it directly. and the label programs that I know about pull from Contacts only. I think you would be better off if ContactsPro allowed you to export the names and Job Descriptions– then you could do something with them, perhaps somewhere else. Contact me directly and let’s see what we can work out. Macman at ChristianBoyce.com.

  4. I am trying to print labels from a PDF off my iPad and can’t get them to line up correctly and I don’t know where to change the settings on the iPad print button to not fit to page

    1. Which program are you using? In Label Printer there are a lot of settings, accessed by tapping the two gears at the bottom center of the screen when getting ready to print.

  5. Thank you so much! This post was found after a frustrating day trying to get labels printed. With this app…it was a breeze!

  6. How can I remove the default country from my list? Each of my contacts has United States as the country, and I am unable to remove it.
    Any help is appreciated.

    1. Hi Myra. Despite the country appearing in the Contacts list the actual print-out does not include it. Go through the steps of printing, without quite finishing, and you will see a “Label Preview” screen. On my iPhone, the country does not show. It does show when I look at each person in the list view, but in the preview of how it will print, the country does not appear. So maybe you don’t have a problem at all.

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