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  • Emma Lake Boydston

Should I Apply Printer Updates?

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

If your printer is connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, you may occasionally see a message telling you that an update is available for the printer and prompting you to install it. This update, called firmware, may apply security patches and/or add features to the printer. (Firmware is specialized software that controls hardware, like a printer.) In most cases the updates are benign and won’t affect how you use the printer. However, there have been cases of manufacturer updates that cause undesirable effects. HP, for example, came under fire a few years ago for pushing out a firmware update that caused printers using non-HP ink to fail and ended up paying $1.5 million in a class action lawsuit. It’s a small penalty for such a large company but has made me wary about applying firmware updates. If you chose to do so, first check the manufacturer’s website for a list of what changes are included in the update.

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