Slicer software is a vital part of the 3D printing process as it’s essentially the bridge between the 3D printer and the design of the model you have, responsible for converting the design file to G-code commands the printer can interpret.
When slicer software is the topic, the name Cura instantly comes to mind as the most popular slicer software available right now, which is the primary choice for many enthusiasts for their 3D printing projects with the many features it offers.
A commonly asked question is if it’s possible to download and use Cura on an iPad, or another iOS device, such as an iPhone, which is unsurprising considering that most people prefer handling their tasks on mobile devices, which will be our topic for today.
So, can you download Cura for iPad and other iOS devices?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a version of Cura compatible with iPad or any other iOS device right now, making it impossible to download and run Cura on an iOS device natively.
On the other hand, even though you can’t run Cura natively on an iPad, there are some alternatives that allow you to slice and print directly from your tablet, which we will discuss in the upcoming sections of the article.
Moving forward, we will take a deeper look into why it’s not possible to download Cura for iPad, discuss if it’s possible to run Cura on iPad through alternative methods, and find out about alternative slicers that run natively on iPads and other iOS devices.
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Can You Download Cura for iPad (and Other iOS devices)?
Downloading Cura on an iPad would indeed be a fantastic option for many enthusiasts out there who don’t like sitting in front of their computers, especially considering that tablets can do most of the things that require computers.
As Ultimaker has not developed a version of Cura for iOS, it’s not possible to download Cura for iPad right now and run it natively on your tablet.
Since developing an application for mobile devices is a whole different process than developing an application for computers, Ultimaker would essentially have to develop Cura from scratch to make it compatible with iOS devices such as iPad, requiring a decent amount of work hours.
As far as we know, there are no plans for Cura to be developed for iOS right now, which could be down to many reasons, such as the potential userbase for Cura on iOS being not large enough to warrant the hours that go into development.
Luckily, all hope is not lost just yet, as we will be exploring a way to use Cura on the iPad in the next section.
Can You Use Cura on iPad (and Other iOS devices)?
While there is no native Cura application for the iPad and the other iOS devices, there is an alternative way to control Cura through your tablet, which can come in handy in many scenarios.
By running Cura on your computer and connecting to it on your iPad with remote desktop software (such as TeamViewer), you can control Cura on your iPad (or another iOS device) and perform all the 3D printing tasks as if you were on the computer.
If you have no prior experience with remote desktop software, here is a step-by-step guide that utilizes TeamViewer:
- Download and install TeamViewer on your computer.
- Download and install TeamViewer Remote Control on your iPad.
- Launch TeamViewer on your computer, and note the ID and the password that shows up on the screen.
- Launch TeamViewer on your iPad, and enter the ID you have obtained from your computer screen into the input.
- Submit the ID, and wait for the password input to show up.
- Enter the password you got from your computer screen and submit.
If the process went as intended, you should now see the screen of your computer on your iPad, where you can control Cura (and everything else on your computer) with your iPad.
While this solution allows you to use Cura on your tablet, the apparent downside is that it requires a computer to work, even though you won’t be using it actively.
Is There a 3D Printing Slicer for iPad?
Fortunately, even though Cura itself is not directly available for iPad, there is an alternative for those looking for a fully native solution that does not require a computer, which allows you to do your slicing directly on your iPad.
AstroPrint offers an application that you can use on your iPad (or another iOS device) to control your 3D printer – which includes a cloud slicing service that allows you to slice your models with the Cura engine directly on your tablet and upload them to your 3D printer.
While the slicer itself does not technically run on the iPad, the application essentially removes the need for a computer to manage your 3D printer by performing the tasks your tablet cannot (such as slicing) through running them on their own servers.
That being said, to get AstroPrint to work, you will still need a way to connect your 3D printer to the Internet with the computer out of the equation.
For this process, you can either use one of the out-of-the-box solutions (AstroBox Touch or AstroBox Gateway) AstroPrint offers that handle all the work for you, or go with a more DIY solution by installing OctoPrint/OctoPi and the AstroPrint plugin on a Raspberry Pi.
While this method won’t provide you with the Cura interface itself, we have found it to be more than sufficient in almost all cases, making it a much more viable option than buying a computer purely for the purposes of 3D printing.
Running slicer software, such as Cura, on mobile devices, such as an iPad, is without a doubt would be one of the best ways to enjoy 3D printing as a hobby, considering how comfortable it is to use mobile devices compared to computers with the portability they offer.
To quickly recap, while it’s not possible to run Cura on an iPad (or any other iOS device) natively, there is an alternative method where you can cast Cura to your iPad from your computer with remote desktop software.
On the other hand, if you require a native solution, a cloud slicer software provider such as AstroPrint is definitely something to look at, which allows you to slice your models with the Cura engine without requiring a computer.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.