How to Reset Canon Printer Ink?

Running out of ink is a common issue for Canon printer owners. Resetting the ink cartridges allows you to continue using the cartridge even when the printer says it’s empty. Resetting Canon cartridges is an easy process that can save you money on buying new cartridges.

How to Reset Canon Printer Ink?

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how to properly reset Canon printer ink cartridges. We’ll cover steps for various Canon printer models like Canon PIXMA, Canon MAXIFY, Canon imageCLASS, and more. Read on to find out how to reset your Canon ink cartridges so you can reduce waste and save money!

How Printer Ink Works

Before learning how to reset the ink, it’s helpful to understand how printer ink cartridges work.

Canon printers, like other inkjet printers, use cartridges filled with liquid ink. The cartridge contains a print head which distributes the ink onto paper. The cartridge also contains a small chip that tracks ink levels.

As you use the printer, ink levels inside the cartridge drop. The chip tracks this ink usage. When the chip detects ink is running low, it will notify you with a “low ink” warning.

Eventually when the chip estimates the cartridge is out of ink, the printer will stop printing. This is to prevent damage to the print head from running totally dry.

However, there is usually extra ink left in the cartridge even when the chip says it’s empty. The chip errs on the side of caution to protect the printer. Resetting the chip essentially fools it into thinking it has a full cartridge again.

Benefits of Resetting Ink

There are a few advantages to resetting Canon ink cartridges:

  • Saves money – Resetting lets you use the cartridge until it’s truly empty instead of tossing it when the chip says it’s out. This saves money since you get more mileage out of each cartridge.
  • Reduces waste – Throwing out cartridges still partially filled with ink creates unnecessary plastic waste. Resetting cuts down on the environmental impact of frequently replacing cartridges.
  • Avoids inconvenience – Running out of ink at an inopportune time can halt important print jobs. Resetting lets you keep printing without the disruption of replacing cartridges.

As long as you reset carefully and don’t try to push the cartridge past its true capacity, resetting is a smart move.

What You’ll Need

Resetting Canon cartridges is easy to do yourself at home. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canon ink cartridge that needs resetting
  • Paper towels or cloth
  • Tape (regular scotch tape is fine)

In addition, you’ll want to follow safety precautions:

  • Work in a well-ventilated area – ink fumes can build up indoors
  • Avoid getting ink on your hands/clothes
  • Keep ink cartridges out of reach of children and pets

And for certain resetting methods, you may also need:

  • A pair of needle nose pliers
  • An 8mm hex wrench

Resetting Methods by Printer Model

The steps for resetting Canon ink cartridges vary slightly depending on your printer model. Refer to the section below for your specific Canon printer.

Canon PIXMA Printers

Most PIXMA models are equipped with individually replaceable ink tanks. Here’s how to reset PIXMA cartridges:

Supplies needed: Tape


  1. Remove the ink cartridge that needs resetting.
  2. Tape over the cartridge’s electrical contacts completely. Use scotch tape or electrical tape.
  3. Insert the taped cartridge back into the printer and close the cover.
  4. Turn on the printer and wait about 10 seconds. This resets the chip.
  5. Open the printer and remove the cartridge. Take the tape off.
  6. Insert the reset cartridge back into the printer and run a test print.

The printer will now read the cartridge as full again. Repeat as needed each time the cartridge runs out.

Canon MAXIFY Printers

MAXIFY printers use ink tanks instead of cartridges. Here’s how to reset MAXIFY ink tanks:

Supplies needed: Needle nose pliers


  1. Remove the ink tank that needs resetting.
  2. Locate the small contact chip on the bottom of the tank.
  3. Use needle nose pliers to gently pry up and remove the chip. Be careful not to damage the chip.
  4. Clean off any remaining adhesive from the ink tank. Let dry completely.
  5. Re-attach the chip to the ink tank by pressing firmly. Make sure it sits flush with the plastic.
  6. Insert the tank with reset chip back into the printer.
  7. Turn on the printer and check that it reads the tank as full again before printing.

Removing and re-attaching the chip resets the ink level and tricks the printer into thinking the tank is full.

Canon imageCLASS Printers

imageCLASS printers use all-in-one cartridges. Here’s how to reset them:

Supplies needed:
Hex wrench (8mm size)


  1. Remove the cartridge that needs resetting.
  2. On the side, locate the small chip with a hex screw.
  3. Using the hex wrench, press down and turn the screw clockwise about 1/4 turn.
  4. Turn the screw counter-clockwise back to the original position. Avoid over-tightening.
  5. Re-install the cartridge and power on the printer. It should now read the cartridge as full.

Turning the screw resets the chip by interrupting the electrical connection temporarily.

Other Canon Printer Models

For other Canon printer models, refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to reset ink levels.

Methods may involve removing the cartridge, power cycling the printer, covering electrical contacts with tape, or gently prying out the ink level sensor chip.

Do research on reset steps specific to your printer model and cartridge type before attempting to reset ink levels yourself.

Usage Tips After Resetting Cartridges

Once you reset the ink cartridges, here are some tips for usage:

  • Print a test page – Make sure the cartridge is aligned and printing properly after resetting.
  • Top off with ink – For nearly empty cartridges, you can inject a bit of refilled ink which extends usage. However this carries some risk of damaging the print head if done improperly.
  • Reset only once – Don’t try to keep resetting the cartridge indefinitely or you may face issues with clogged nozzles or print quality.
  • Monitor ink levels – Keep an eye on print quality and do visual checks of ink levels to avoid damaging the printer by running too low.
  • Don’t let ink dry out – If you remove and reset a partially used cartridge, make sure to keep it airtight when not in use. Prolonged exposure to air evaporates ink.

Resetting too often or continuing to print with very low ink can damage the printer over time. But used wisely, resetting your Canon cartridges helps you reduce waste and save money!

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Resetting Canon ink cartridges is usually straightforward. However, sometimes issues come up. Here are solutions to some common problems:

Printer won’t recognize cartridge after resetting:

  • Check that all protective tape is removed from the cartridge.
  • Verify the cartridge is firmly clicked into place and the cover is closed.
  • The chip contacts may need to be cleaned with a cloth and alcohol.

Ink levels still reading as empty:

  • For Canon printers with screws on the chip, make sure you rotated the screw fully before reinstalling.
  • Try the process again in case the reset didn’t take the first time.
  • On older printers, a firmware update may be needed to recognize reset chips.

Refill ink not working:

  • The cartridge may already be too damaged internally to accept a refill. Try a fresh new cartridge instead.
  • Ensure you are using ink specifically formulated for your Canon printer model. Ink composition differs between printers.

Printouts have missing colors:

  • One of the cartridge’s color wells has likely run fully dry. Replace that individual cartridge to restore print quality.
  • The print head may need cleaning if dried ink is clogging the nozzles. Refer to your owner’s manual for head cleaning instructions.

Printouts are streaked:

  • Clean the electrical contacts on the cartridge and printer with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol.
  • The print head may need alignment. Refer to your printer manual for alignment instructions.

Visit Canon’s support site or contact their customer service line for further troubleshooting tips specific to your printer model.

Safety Precautions When Resetting Ink

While ink cartridge resetting is generally safe when done properly, be sure to keep these precautions in mind:

  • Work in a well-ventilated room – Breathing in ink fumes can be hazardous.
  • Wear gloves – Ink can irritate skin and stain hands. Disposable gloves keep you protected.
  • Use eye protection – Safety glasses prevent ink from getting in your eyes.
  • Wash hands after – Always wash up with soap and water after handling printer cartridges.
  • Keep ink away from children/pets – Ingesting or coming in contact with ink can make children and animals sick.
  • Reset in a contained area – Cover surrounding surfaces with paper towels or newspaper to avoid spills and splatters.
  • Handle cartridges gently – Dropping or jostling cartridges too much can cause leaks or break internal parts.

Observing basic precautions makes the ink cartridge reset process safer and cleaner.

Key Takeaways

  • Resetting Canon ink cartridges can save you money by extending cartridge life beyond when the printer says it’s empty.
  • There are different reset methods for Canon cartridge types – follow the steps specifically for your printer model.
  • Be careful when handling ink to avoid leaks, spills, and skin contact. Work in a ventilated area.
  • Reset cartridges gently only 1-2 times for best performance. Don’t try to exceed the true fill capacity.
  • Refilling fully depleted cartridges can work for a few refills before needing replacement. Use brand name refill ink designed for your printer.
  • Troubleshoot issues like cartridge recognition errors, low ink warnings, and print quality problems by cleaning contacts, aligning print heads, or replacing damaged cartridges.

Resetting Canon ink cartridges enables you to reduce waste and save on the high cost of cartridge replacements. With some simple steps, you can easily reset Canon printer ink levels and keep your printer going strong.


Learning how to reset Canon printer ink cartridges is a great way to save money and get the most out of your printer. While techniques vary between models, the processes outlined here will work for most Canon ink jet printers.

By carefully following the steps to reset the ink level chip, you can fool your printer into using cartridges beyond when it says they are empty. Just be cautious not to over-reset cartridges as this can damage print heads.

Combined with occasional refilling of depleted cartridges, resetting allows you to keep up with high volume printing needs at a fraction of the cost of buying new cartridges constantly. Just remember to take precautions and handle ink carefully to avoid messes or injury.

With a simple home process, you can say goodbye to annoying low ink warnings and wasted money on premature cartridge replacement. Reset your Canon printer ink today and unlock cost-effective, environmentally friendly printing!


  1. What is the chip used for on Canon ink cartridges?
    The chip embedded in Canon cartridges tracks how much ink is estimated to be left in the cartridge. When it detects low levels, it prompts the printer to display warnings.

  2. Where is the chip located on most Canon ink cartridges?
    The ink level chip is typically located either on the side or bottom of the cartridge. Refer to your specific model’s manual to find the exact chip position.

  3. How many times can you safely reset a Canon ink cartridge?
    Canon cartridges can usually be reset 1-3 times safely before print quality declines. Trying to exceed this with multiple resets can damage the printhead.

  4. Does covering the chip contacts with tape damage the chip?
    No, using tape to cover the contacts is a safe and reversible way to reset the chip. Just be sure to fully remove the tape before reinserting the cartridge.

  5. What percentage of ink is wasted when a cartridge is replaced prematurely?
    An estimated 20-60% of unused ink remains in the cartridge when the printer stops printing due to low ink warnings.

  6. How long does a set of Canon ink cartridges typically last?
    For moderate home printing use, a set of Canon ink cartridges lasts 4-6 months on average before needing replacement. High volume users may need new cartridges every 1-3 months.

  7. Is there a downside to overriding the low ink warning on a Canon printer?
    Yes, continuing to print when very low on ink can cause permanent clogs or damage to the printhead. It also affects print quality.

  8. What colors are included in a standard Canon color cartridge set?
    Most Canon printer cartridge sets contain black plus the three CMY colors – cyan, magenta and yellow ink cartridges. Some models may use more.

  9. Why does Canon ink fade faster than other printer brands?
    Canon printers tend to use dye-based inks which contain organic color pigments that can fade faster than more UV-resistant pigment based inks over time.

  10. How can you tell if third party ink is compatible with your Canon printer?
    Check that the cartridge model number exactly matches OEM Canon cartridges made for your printer. Also ensure it is specifically advertised as Canon-compatible.

  11. Is it bad to leave cartridges out of a Canon printer for extended periods?
    Yes, ink cartridges should always remain installed. Removing them allows nozzles to dry out and ink to evaporate even when not in use.

  12. How do you properly align cartridges in a Canon printer?
    Refer to your user manual for the specific alignment process for your model. It typically involves printing an alignment sheet and scanning it.

  13. Why does my printer say cartridge is empty after resetting it?
    This usually means the actual ink supply is fully depleted. The cartridge will need to be refilled or replaced with a new cartridge with ink in order for resetting to work.

  14. What is the best way to clean a Canon printhead?
    Use the printer’s built-in cleaning utility found in the maintenance menu. This flushes the nozzles to clear any clogs. Severe clogs may require professional servicing.

  15. Where is the cheapest place to buy replacement Canon ink cartridges?
    Canon cartridges are typically cheapest when buying in bulk bundles from warehouse retailers like Amazon or Costco compared to small individual packs at office supply stores.

  16. How long does Canon ink stay usable in the cartridge before expiring?
    Unopened, shelf life is 2 years from production date. Opened cartridges will eventually expire in 6-12 months if the printer is rarely used and ink sits for extended periods.

  17. Why does my black print look gray after resetting cartridges?
    This is a sign the black ink cartridge is becoming empty. Replace it with a new cartridge for dark blacks. The other cartridges may still be fine.

  18. Can you reset Canon cartridges without a computer or mobile app?
    Yes, no device is needed – the reset processes covered simply involve removing cartridges and manipulating chips physically. No software required.

  19. Should I remove the cartridges when not using the printer?
    No, you should leave the cartridges inserted even when not printing. Prolonged exposure to air can dry out ink in removed cartridges.

  20. How can I tell if my cartridge is damaged and needs replacing?
    Symptoms of a damaged cartridge include ink leaks, missing colors in printouts, and loud noises or grinding coming from the printer during operation. If you notice these issues, replace the faulty cartridge

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