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Mac: How to change default printer settings
Mac: How to change default printer settings

Change your default printer settings in macOS using CUPS

Updated over a week ago

The default settings for your printer on a Mac, can be edited with CUPS (an open-source printing system Apple uses that allows you to configure a printer on a Mac).

Before you continue, your printer should have already been setup and listed in your Printers & Scanners in System Preferences.

A screenshot showing the 'Printers and Scanners' section of System Preferences on a Mac. The Zebra ZP 450 ctp is selected on the left side, and towards the right there are buttons for 'Open Print Queue' and 'Options and Supplies.' Additionally, you can view the printer's location, and it's status which would indicate whether it's online or not.

Once you've confirmed your printer has been added, open your internet browser and copy and paste the following address into your browser's address bar:


If you receive a "web interface error” you must configure your Mac to allow access to CUPS. You can do this in seconds with the Terminal utility app. You can skip the next step if you are able to access CUPS.

Enable CUPS in Terminal

Open Terminal using the Spotlight Search in the righthand corner of the Menu Bar.

A screenshot showing the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the Mac's display. When this is clicked, Spotlight Search is opened. 'Terminal' is typed into the search bar, and 'Terminal' appears as the top hit.

Copy and paste the following command into Terminal: 

cupsctl WebInterface=yes

A screenshot showing the command that needs to be typed into Terminal. Once the command is typed, you can hit 'Enter' on your keyboard.

Then hit Enter, and CUPS is enabled!

Quit Terminal and go back to your internet browser.

Refresh the page, or again copy and paste the address:


Set Default Options

You should now see a list of your printers.

Click on the printer you wish to edit. For this example, we are configuring the Zebra ZP 450:

A screenshot showing all of the printers connected to your computer. The Zebra printer is listed, and it should be clicked to view that printer's settings.

Click the Administration drop-down menu and choose Set Default Options.

A screenshot showing a drop down menu for the Zebra Printer. In this drop down menu, the option 'Set Default Options' needs to be selected.

You may have to authenticate, whereby you'll use your computer's username and password.

Next, the option names will depend on the driver you installed and vary widely. Typically you’ll start off in General Options.

Change Media Size to match your label size. This will likely be a 4x6” option, but 100x150mm is acceptable too.

A screenshot showing the general options for the Zebra Printer. Towards the center of the page, it says 'Media Size,' with a drop down menu next to it. In this drop down menu, 4 by 6 needs to be selected.

Do not click Set Default Options just yet. Continue by selecting Printer Settings at the top.

In Printer Settings, you should have options to :

  • Change your Darkness settings if your labels aren’t printing dark enough

  • Change your Print Rate that is optimized for your printer and workflow. 

  • Lastly and importantly, if there is a Dither option, make sure it is set to None—if this is not an available option, try a setting for barcodes or text only.

Now you can click the Set Default Options button, and your default options have been set!


If you lack Printer Settings options, and you need to change darkness, print rate, or fix fuzzy labels with a dither option, you probably have installed a minimal driver that does not give you these options. Most manufactures provide free drivers, but sometimes (often the case with specific Zebra printers) free quality drivers are lacking. For an all inclusive option that works, consider purchasing Pelican's driver software for Mac thermal printers.

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