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Global chip shortage forces Canon to allow ink cartridges without chips

canon printer on shelf
canon printer on shelf (Image credit: Canon)

What you need to know

  • The ongoing global chip shortage has led Canon to ship ink cartridges without chips inside them.
  • Canon is sharing how to bypass warnings and error messages that appear when using cartridges that lack the required chips.
  • Chips are normally used to prove that ink cartridges are legitimate and to prevent people from using unauthorized ink.

The ongoing global chip shortage continues to affect a wide range of industries. Now, printer maker Canon has had to resort to shipping ink cartridges without chips inside. These chips are used to detect toner levels and to verify the authenticity of ink cartridges.

Twitter user Mario W. flagged up the change on January 7, 2022. Canon's German website breaks down the change in more depth (translated by Microsoft):

Due to the ongoing global shortage of semiconductor components, Canon is currently facing challenges in sourcing certain electronic components used in our consumables for our multifunction printers (MFPs). These components perform, for [example,] functions such as detecting the remaining toner level.To ensure a continuous and reliable supply of consumables, we have chosen to supply consumables without a semiconductor component until normal supply resumes.

The business model of certain types of printers relies on people having to purchase ink from manufacturers. Inkjet printers are sold at an affordable rate, while required components, such as ink, are sold at a premium. To prevent printer owners from being able to use more affordable alternatives, Canon and other companies built chips into ink cartridges to verify authenticity.

Printers will show error messages when ink cartridges without a certain type of chip are used. Canon explains how to get around these prompts on its website. Theoretically, people could use these instructions to bypass Canon's restrictions on cartridges from other manufacturers.

Before anyone gets their hopes up that Canon has had a change of heart regarding how it sells ink cartridges, the company plans to return to its normal setup once chips become more readily available (via TechRadar).

If you do a lot of printing at home or at your office, picking up one of the best laser printers could be your best option. While these types of printers normally have a higher upfront cost than inkjet printers, they're built for bulk printing. The cost of printing a page is often less on a laser printer as well.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

8 Comments
  • I guess there is a silver lining to the shortage. Now, just never update your printer and you are set. It just goes to show the poor business model of using cartridges to make your profits really are.
  • Damn, this thing is getting bad.
  • Just go HP Instant Ink. It reuses the tanks and reprograms those chips. Plus it's legit ink instead of janky refills
  • I don't think the solution to overpriced ink cartridges is to subscribe to get overpriced ink. I suggest a laser printer for bulk jobs that don't include images. For photos and certain types of printing, you have to stick with inkjet.
  • Odd, the Walmart Photo Centre uses laser printers from Espon. Are you saying inkjet printers would be better?
  • They do make color lasers, and they aren't super expensive. The cartridges however are eye watering, especially when you need 3 or 4. Still If you don't print color all that much, a laser won't dry out like ink jets will.
  • The list of MFPs at that site are imageRUNNER models, which are commercial/industrial centric. The list doesn't cover the imageCLASS SMB and Pixma consumer models. My MF743Cdw is at the top of the imageCLASS line. There is an option buried in the menus that allows the user to switch between Canon-branded toner and third-party toner. I've never owned a Pixma printer, so I can't tell if such a setting exists in that product line.
  • Unauthorized ink???? roflmao. OEMs added chips in ink cartridges just so they can render or have an ink cartridge “expire”, so that they can continue to fleece customers Ad Infinitum.