Updated October 4th, 2020.
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!
Getting the Address Labels for CardLists app
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 keeps updating his app, making it even easier to produce good-looking mailing labels directly from our iOS devices. Here’s how the updated app works.
(If you want to print mailing labels from your Mac, use the Contacts app— formerly known as “the Address Book app.” Mailing label printing is built-in. Here’s a link to my article showing you how to do that.)
UPDATE: there’s an Address Labels app for the Mac, offering more options and flexibility than those built-into the Contacts app, and written by the same developer as the Address Labels for CardLists iOS app. Here’s the link for the macOS Address Labels app (available on the Mac App Store).
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.)
Using the app to create a list
When you start the app, you’ll something like this:
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.
Here’s my “list of lists” (just the one list). Tapping the circled red “i” would let me rename the list, FYI.
Importing names into your list
Now we want to put some names into our list. Address Labels for CardLists gives us two ways to do it. The first way is to copy names and addresses from your iPhone’s Contacts app (easy). The second way is to 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.
Now you see your choices (“Add names from Contacts” and “Add names manually.” See below.
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.
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 you chose “All Contacts.”)
Choosing the names you want to include
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.
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.)
Printing your labels
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:
We’re going to print Address Labels but it’s nice to know we can print a bunch of 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):
You can choose from various sizes of labels from a scrolling list. The screen also gives you hints for successful printing.
Just a few more settings
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).
Previewing your labels, before you print
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.
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.
Here’s the icon, so you know you’ve found the right thing:
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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? Label Printer is definitely worth a look. There’s a “Label Printer Lite” version that you can play around with to see how it works before paying for it– a nice way to go.