Apple LaserWriter 12/640 PS with macOS Sierra

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robegian's picture
Joined: Nov 14 2005
Posts: 43

I have two Apple LaserWriter 12/640 PS printers which I still use.

Since Apple axed support for this printer in modern OSses, normally I use a G5 as a printer server. BUT someone told me that it's highly likely the LaserWriter 12/640 PS can be used directly from a modern Mac with macOS Sierra, adding it as an IP printer. I searched the net for information but I didn't find anything but this hint in this discussion: "I have learned how to access the Apple Laserwriter 12/640 config. file using Telnet. Luckily I keep an old Mac Pro Desktop with Tiger and found the printer driver on it and copied it to my El Capitan laptop. It works as an IP printer using the old driver."

I do have an old Apple LaserWriter 12/640 PS driver and I put in the Printers folder of my MacBook Pro with macOS Sierra (see attached picture), and of course the printer is in the same LAN. The problem is, I don't know how to add this printer as an IP printer. I even don't know if I have to find its IP address, or how to do it.

Anyone having a link to some informative explanation — or willing to give that informative explanation? Smile

Thanks in advance,

Schermata-2016-11-09-alle-21.14.54.jpg39.18 KB

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bengi's picture
Joined: Aug 2 2005
Posts: 70
Re: Apple LaserWriter 12/640 PS with macOS Sierra

I still use my 12/640 with El Capitain and I recall Apple dropping support for apple talk since Lion. By the way you need to change the IP of the printer using the OS 9 printer utility from a Mac than can run OS 9, or 8 or probably even 7.6.

Let me check the printer manual in my basement and will get back to you.

Once you have set a fixed IP address from OS X all you have to do is search for this IP.


Yes, I confirm: you need Apple Printer Utility for Mac OS. One of the sections of the main window of the utility is called "TCP/IP Configuration".

If remember correctly the Mac has to be connected via Apple Talk. Do not recall if ethernet is ok or if you have to hook your Mac using the serial cable.

The 12/640 user's manual points to an Appendix which was only available in the CD. It's a mere 200 pages starting from page 100. Could be also available on line. What you need is Appendix A.


PB: 100, 160, 180, 180c, 190, 190c, 5300cs, 5300c, 5300ce B/W 5300ce, 1400c 166, 3500, WS 500 MHz, Aluminium 15: 1.25, 1.5 Hi Res display, 1.67 DL, iBook G3: 12" 500, 800, 14" 900, G4 14" 1.33, MacBook white unibody, Classic: 40MHz 68030, Classic II, Color Classic, SE, SE/30, LC, II, 475, 575, 630, Quadra 700, PowerMac 4400, 7600 G4 1000 MHz, PowerMac 8600 G4 450, PowerMac G3 700 MHz G4 (custom), PowerMac G5 2.0, 2.7 LQ, MacPro 3.2 GHz, MacBook Pro 2013