What is Printtool? Why does Printtool want to modify my printer settings?

You are working on some serious stuff on your Mac, and randomly this message pops up saying “Printtool Is Trying to Modify the Printer Settings.” Obviously, you can close it, but turns out it is appearing repeatedly asking you for the user name and password to modify the settings.

I understand it can be pretty irritating to get this pops-up when you don’t even understand why I am getting this. Well, if you may have noticed, this message appeared when you are trying to use your printer or scanner on your Mac.

But, the only thing that comes to your mind is how can I stop this message to appear again? And why does this message appear when I am using a scanner and printer? Well, I have an answer to all of those questions.

In this article, I will show you to fix this and stop this message to display again on your Mac.

What is Printtool Mac OS?

what is printtool mac os
what is printtool mac os

Printtool Mac OS is basically used for managing printing interfaces, it is a macOS process. In simple words, printtool is a necessary system process that checks if the printer is available and ready to print. If you open Activity Monitor and search printtool, you will be going to see this dialog box.


What is the Reason Printtool Pop-up Appear?

Sometimes, this dialog box appears because of your printer or scanner. Are you getting the above-given Printtool trying to modify the printer settings dialog box? If yes, then there are two main reasons for it:

  1. The printer driver (also called a printer’s software) you may have installed to use a printer is no longer available. 
  2. Because the people who are trying to use the printer do not have the rights to print or scan. 
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Now that you know the reason why the printtool message keeps appearing, I will show you some of the methods that will help you to fix it. 

Methods to Fix “Printtool is trying to modify the printer settings” to stop appearing

Remove an Unused Printer from Mac:

The first thing you can do that might actually solve this issue is to delete the printers from your Mac that are not available to you anymore. Once you remove it, it might fix the issue you are going through. Here is how you can do it:

remove an unused printer from mac
remove an unused printer from mac
  1. On your Mac, go to the Apple menu given on the top left side of the Mac.
  2. Select System Preferences, then click Printers & Scanners.
  3. Go through the list of the available printers.
  4. Select the one that is not available.
  5. Click the (-) Remove button.
  6. A pop-up will appear asking Are you sure you want to delete the Printer.
  7. Select Delete Printer.


Once you delete the unused printer, you can now install the new printer from the scratch. After installing it from the scratch, the message of printtool will be going to stop appearing again.

Give the People their necessary Rights:

The second reason why you are getting the pop-up error is that the user is not having the necessary rights. If the person he or she is not having sufficient rights, then they might face this printtool error. But, you can solve this by giving them rights. How to? By adding the user to the Print Administrators Group using Directory Utility.

To do that, open the Directory Utility by using the Spotlight search. Open the spotlight with Command – Space bar, and type Directory Utility, then click Return.

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Following I will show you some steps which you should follow. They are pretty confusing but straightforward to understand.

printtool is trying to modify the printer settings

  1. Once the Directory Utility page opens, click on the Directory Editor tab.
  2. Open the Viewing drop-down menu and select Groups.
  3. In the search box, type print.
  4. From the results, select Print Administrators.
  5. Click the Lock icon next to Not authenticated to unlock the section.
  6. Enter your Mac username and password.
  7. Select GroupMembership. Click the + Add button next to the GroupMembership line. You have to unlock the section to see it.
  8. Enter the user name that keeps seeing this printtool pop-up message. In the text area underneath the list, replace “new_value” with your user name.
  9. Click Save, then Quit Directory Utility.
  10. Restart your Mac.

Reset your Mac’s Printing System:

I am sure the above two methods will definitely going to solve the printtool appearing issue. But, if it’s not, then the last option you can try is the reset the print system. Resetting the printing system helps fix the issues like connection problems, AirPrint problems, Stuck print jobs, and many more.

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However, the only problem with this method is that it will be going to reset all of your Mac’s printer settings. It means all the presets, settings, scanners, and faxes will be deleted from your Mac.

Remember, if you want to print or scan again, you have to add presets and settings all over again from the scratch. So, if you are using this method then keep this in mind. Kindly use this method if only the above two methods do not work for you.

1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.

system preferences 1

2. Open the printers and scanners settings by clicking the Printers & Scanners.

reset your mac’s printing system

3. You will see all of your printers, scanners, and faxes in the list on the left.

4. In the list of devices, right-click and then click “Reset printing system”.

5. Enter your password and click reset.

reset your mac’s printing system 2


6. After you reset, the list of printers, faxes, and scanners will be empty.

The Bottom line:

I hope most of the users who are facing this pop-up message of printtool might have understood what printtool is. And the reason why they are getting the error saying “printtool is trying to modify the printer settings.”

The solution is pretty simple to understand and perform. I have explained three different methods to stop getting the pop-up dialog box again. Hopefully, I believe one of the methods might have helped you solve it. Thanks for choosing to read my guide.