Custom photo books and calendars make great gifts, and it’s fun to set yourself apart with unique holiday greeting cards. However, after Apple announced it would be discontinuing its native photo printing services this past fall, this is the first holiday season that users will need to find a substitute. Follow along for five alternatives to print your photo books, calendars, and cards with the Photos App on Mac as well as iPhone and the web.
Even though Apple discontinued its printing services that were built-in to its Photos app, users don’t necessarily have to use a completely different app to get prints. Apple is supporting Photos extensions from third-parties to offer printing options.
We learned that the printing partner Apple worked with for its first-party solution, RR Donnelley, has released Motif as one Photos extension choice. Apple later released a support document sharing a few other plug-ins like Mimeo, Mpix, and more.
As far as these third-party extensions go, none have stellar ratings so far. Some of the low ratings have to do with frustration about how they are different from the previous built-in printing options, and some include feedback on features that need to be added or changed.
For now, Motif has the highest rating with 2.7/5 stars. We’ll look at three Photos extensions for Mac and then a couple of other options from Google and using your local pharmacy like Walgreens with iPhone and more.
5 alternatives to Apple’s print services for photo books, calendars, and cards
As mentioned, this is the software made by the partner who provided the back-end for Apple’s first-party printing services. Motif works within Photos and offers image suggestions, Dark Mode support, and variety of themes for printing your photo books, calendars, and cards.
The company also has a 100% satisfaction guarantee and will offer a refund or reprint a product if you’re not happy with the result.
Motif is a free download from the Mac App Store.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, click Open, follow the prompts and you’ll be redirected to the Photos app. Look for Projects in the bottom left area of your sidebar and click the + as shown below.
Books start from $10, calendars are priced at $20, and cards start from $0.99.
Mimeo offers the same services as Motif with about the same prices. Since it’s free to download these Photos extensions, it can be nice to try a few to find the exact theme you’re looking for.
At the time of writing, Mimeo looks to be offering users 20% of their initial order.
Mpix offers similar printing services as Motif and Mimeo, but includes printing on more unique materials like metal, wood, and more.
In the little time I’ve spent in each of the apps, Motif and Mimeo seem to offer a better user interface, but if a unique metal or wood print is enticing, Mpix may be worth checking out.
You won’t find a Mac app or integration with Photos from Google, but it does offer web-based and iOS app printing services that are seamless to use.
In the Google Photos app, tap on Albums → … in the top right corner → Create Photo Book. Google Photos for iOS is a free download from the App Store.
On the web, you can log in to access your Google Photos albums, or import images manually. The only downside with Google’s printing options is that only photo books are available for now.
A traditional meets techy approach is making use of your local pharmacy like Walgreens. With the Walgreens iOS app or website, you can create projects and order them for same-day pick up at your nearest location.
You can also print right from your iPhone as well as direct from your Instagram or Facebook account. Walgreens is running a special with up to 40% off its print products through December 29th (and even better deals this week).
The Walgreens iOS app is a free download from the App Store. Apple bonus, Walgreens accepts Apple Pay 😄👌🏼.
Alright, here’s a bonus option. Shutterfly may be one of the most popular names in the game and the service is running up to 60% off cards, calendars, books, and more through tonight. It also runs special promotions through its iOS app.
In contrast to some of the new Mac app Photos extensions, Shutterfly for iOS has an impressive 4.7/5 star rating and regularly runs solid deals (don’t worry if you miss out on the one happening at the time of this writing).
Even though Apple mentions a Shutterfly Photos extention, it doesn’t seem to be available on the Mac App Store yet. However, going through the web and iOS are easy enough and are likely to net customers the best prices.
If you end up going with a mail-order service, don’t wait too long to make sure you get your project in time. For more help getting the most out of your Apple devices, check out our how to guide.