Mac computers are everywhere these days. In the past decades we have witnessed how Apple computers have become popular all over the World, not only with their desktop models but also with their Macbook models. There’s nothing you cannot do with one of these powerful machines, and that includes faxing!
Currently, there are three methods you can use to send and receive fax from Mac OS X. Each one of them works in a different way:
- Using an online fax service that will let you fax using an Internet connection via email.
- Using a multi function printer with faxing capabilities.
- Using a Apple USB modem.
1. Using a Mac OS Compatible Online Fax Service
We have added this alternative in the first place because it is the easiest one to use.
An online fax service is able to convert your Mac into a virtual fax machine without having to install a dedicated fax line or buy additional equipment. What’s better, you could be faxing within a few minutes!
Online fax services let you send and receive faxes using your email, that’s why they are also known as email fax services. They basically grab incoming faxes (through a virtual fax number provided at the moment of signing up) and convert them to PDF fax files, readable on any digital device.
Faxes will then arrive your email inbox immediately. From there you can read them, print them or store them for later usage.
In addition, these services also let you fax through iOS devices with the help of apps. This makes it extremely easy to fax on the go, when you don’t have your Mac at hand.
There are many online fax services out there, so you have to make sure they are Mac OS compatible. Especially if you are looking for some of the services that include a side fax application for computers.
If you want to learn more, check out our review of the best online fax services of 2018. They are all compatible with Mac’s operating system.
2. Using a Multifunction Printer
Multifunction printers have become a viable alternative for people who want to get rid of their fax machine but are not entirely sure to make the jump to digital faxing.
This method only works with some of the newer models that include faxing features, so before purchasing one of these machines be sure to research a little and see if the included software has also a version for Mac users, and not only for basic features, for their advanced features as well.
Besides a computer and a multifunction printer, you’ll still need a dedicated phone line for this alternative. So your line will be connected to the machine, and then your machine will be connected to your Mac.
If you are using a VoIP line, this method will not work. These machines work with traditional lines, since VoIP lines are not reliable for faxing, 99% of the time it will not work simply because that is not the purpose of VoIP.
What about wireless multifunction printers?
You shouldn’t get confused. When a printer says it is wireless it is not because they can connect to Internet to send and receive faxes, it is because they communicate wirelessly with your computer using either Bluetooth technology or your Wi-Fi network. They still need the physical line for fax data transmission.
If you want to use the Internet for faxing, right now the only way is using the first method outlined in this article.
Setting Up Your Printer for Fax in Mac OS
The way you send and receive faxes with the printer method varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and the software they use to complete the process. They may require you to keep your computer on at all times to avoid missing faxes. Some models have decided to include internal memory to store faxes when your computer is turned off, but beware, there are many cases of people who have lost faxes stored on temporary internal memory.
Here’s an example of how to set up your printer for faxing in MacOS Sierra
- Install your printer following the manufacturer’s instructions
- Click the Apple menu on the top-left corner of your screen an choose System Preferences > Printers & Scanners
- You may be able to select your printer from the list on the left. If it’s not there, add it by clicking on the + button, and use your printer’s software.
- Once it has been added, the compatible printer will automatically add fax capability.
To send a fax:
- Open the document you want to fax, then choose File > Print
- Click on the PDF pop-up menu and choose Fax PDF
- A new pop up menu will appear, and then you have to pick your printer.
- Enter the recipient’s number by typing it on the To field or by choosing a number from your contact list.
- Optionally you can add a cover page and a dial prefix
- Click on Fax
For more about this method you can head to https://support.apple.com/kb/PH25398?locale=en_US
3. Using a fax modem on an Mac OS X 10.6.8 and earlier
Fax modems were very popular when digital fax first appeared. These devices acted as an intermediary between your fax line and your computer, and were essential to use the first wave of faxing software in the market, before the widespread use of online fax services.
Their use has declined in the past decade, but it still can be used for faxing in earlier versions of the OS X. Here’s what you need to fax via this method:
An Apple USB fax modem
A Mac running OS X version 10.4.3 through 10.6.8 (also known as Snow Leopard)
A physical fax line. VoIP lines won’t work with this method as they are incompatible.
Faxing via this method is similar to the way we fax using a printer, by using the Print menu. This method is only good if you have an old Mac and an Apple USB modem with you, mainly because it has two big issues: 1) You need to have your computer on at all times to avoid missing faxes and 2) it doesn’t use the Internet at all to fax.
Here’s Apple’s full guide on how to fax with this method using Mac OS X 10.6.
What’s the Best Alternative?
Although we have presented three ways to fax using your Mac, there’s currently nothing that can beat online fax services in all aspects. This alternative is not only more cost-efficient and speedier, it is also quick to get started AND they provide you with a virtual fax number right from the get go.
If you want to learn more about it check out our guide on faxing through an email fax service!