If you want to send a fax from your Mac, the good news is it’s very easy either with or without a modem. Believe it or not, even in 2016 and 2017 faxes are still legally required by certain professions, businesses and organizations and using a high street faxing service is both expensive and a hassle. Here we’ll show you all the ways of sending and receiving faxes from your Mac and along the way, we’ll even show you how to send a fax for free online. Note that all these ways of sending a fax from Mac work for most versions of OS X including OS X 10.10 Yosemite, OS X 10.11 El Capitan and OS X 10.12 Sierra.
- 1 How To Fax From Mac
- 2 Sending A Fax Via An Online Fax Service
- 2.1 eFax ($16.95/month. 30 Day Free Trial. No Setup Fee)
- 2.2 RingCentral (Starts $7.99 Month. 30 Day Free Trial. No Setup Fee)
- 2.3 Nextiva (Starts $4.95 Month. 30 Day Free Trial. No Setup Fee)
- 2.4 MyFax (Starts $10 Month. 30 Day Free Trial. No Setup Fee)
- 2.5 RapidFax ($13.99 Month. 30 Day Free Trial. No Setup Fee)
- 2.6 Fax.com ($9.99 Month. 30 Day Free Trial. No Setup Fee)
- 2.7 MetroFax (Starts $6.63 Month. 30 Day Free Trial. No Setup Fee)
- 3 Fax From Mac Services Comparison Table
- 4 Sending A Fax Via Pay-As-You-Go Software
- 5 How To Fax For Free From Mac
- 6 Faxing From Mac Using A Modem
- 7 Faxing From Mac Via A Printer Fax Scanner
- 8 Conclusion
- 9 Further Reading
How To Fax From Mac
There are 4 different ways to send faxes from a Mac:
- Via an online fax service such as eFax or RingCentral (see reviews below)
- Via pay-as-you-go fax software
- Via a USB modem (not supported in OS X 10.12 macosSierra)
- Via a printer-fax-scanner machine.
In this article, we’ll look at each method in detail but if you’re in a hurry, here’s the deal in a nutshell…
Online fax services are ideal if you’re going to send faxes regularly and need the convenience of sending faxes from your email account. If however you just want to send one or two faxes, you’re better off going with a pay-per-fax service. If on the other hand you want to avoid third party fax services completely and fax directly from your Mac using your landline, then you’ll need either a printer-scanner-fax machine or an external USB modem.
We’ll start by looking at the different online fax services available followed by pay-as-you-go fax software, via USB modem and finally via a printer-scanner-fax machine.
Sending A Fax Via An Online Fax Service
Modems and phone landlines in general are slowly becoming a thing of the past and definitely the easiest and best way to fax from a computer nowadays is by using an online fax service. The great thing about online fax services is that they do not require either a phone line or a modem and are very easy to setup and use. All of them allow you to both send and receive faxes on your Mac (or a PC) both within the US and internationally without the need for a fax machine – all you need is an internet connection. A few online fax services even allow you to send a limited number of ad-sponsored faxes for free which we look at in more detail later on in this article.
With all online fax services, you get your own dedicated fax number that anyone in the world can use to fax you and some services such as eFax and MyFax even allow you to select a fax number with the country code of your choice for free thus giving you an international fax number for the country of your choice, even if you don’t live in that country. This is very useful if you run a business with offices in different parts of the globe.
If you just want to send the odd one-off fax or need a quick and easy way to send a fax now, you can sign-up for a 30 day free trial of any of these services and send a fax in minutes. Note that to start a free trial, all online fax services require you to enter your credit or debit card details. However, if you choose to cancel your free trial, your card will not be debited when the 30 days expires. Some services such as eFax require you to cancel by phone, not online. This is quite common practice in the online fax industry and is no problem as long you make sure you receive a cancellation email after cancelling by phone.
If you’re happy with the fax service after your trial, you should sign-up for a monthly subscription which gives you a quota of faxes you can send and receive each month. If you go over your monthly quota, most services charge you anything from around 3-10 cents per page extra. Note that although all online fax services advertise the subscription cost per month, this price is discounted because you are charged annually in advance so check the small print. If you choose to be charged on a monthly basis, the monthly cost will be a few dollars higher than paying annually. Most services also require you to pay extra if you want to fax internationally and the cost will depend on their location so check with the vendor if you’re planning to fax abroad. If you want to setup a toll free fax number so that customers or clients can fax you at no cost, some services such as eFax and RingCentral support 800 or vanity numbers.
To fax from an online fax service, most allow you to either send faxes using an email account or by simply uploading the document you want to send in either Word or PDF format to your online fax account. Most services allow you to view and read faxes within your browser in PDF format although some require you to download them first before opening them. Sending via email is easily the most convenient way to send a fax from your computer or mobile phone. You can use your existing email client to email and receive faxes which are received either as an attachment or via a link. To send a fax via email, you simply compose an email as you would normally and in the address field, enter the country code and fax number of the recipient and then @eFax.com, @Nextiva.com, @RingCentral.com or whatever service you’ve signed up for.
If you send via email, the coversheet will be the email subject heading and content in the body of the email. If you add attachments, they will be sent as separate pages. If you need a cover sheet, most online fax services provide their own but you can also find lots of free fax cover sheet templates for Mac and PC here. Services such as Nextiva also allow you to connect your physical fax machine or printer fax if you’ve already got one so that you can use the software as a hub for sending and receiving faxes from your Mac or PC. Note that there are no online fax services that have a desktop fax app for Mac since most are completely cloud based. However, there a few fax apps for Mac in the Mac App Store which are unrelated to any of the online fax services featured here which we look at later on in this article in the best fax software for Mac.
Finally, you might also notice a very close similarity between the interfaces and services of some online fax services. This is because major online fax services such as eFax, MyFax, MetroFax, RapidFax and Fax.com are owned by the same group J2 Global which is one of the biggest players in online communications and also the owner of email marketing software such as Campaigner and Skype for Business for Mac alternative eVoice. The only difference between J2 services are usually the pricing plans and some functionality with eFax easily being the most complete (and most expensive) fax brand that it offers.
Here are the best online fax services to send and receive faxes from your Mac. At the end of this section, you’ll find a quick and easy comparison table of the fax services featured here which you can also scroll to directly by using the Table of Contents above.
eFax is easily the leading online fax service out there due to it’s ease of use, email fax sending system and useful mobile apps. However, it’s also one of the most expensive at $16.95 per month but for this, you get more features than any other fax service such as e-signing and the largest file attachments in the industry (up to 1GB). To use eFax, all you need is your regular email service to send faxes with it although you can send faxes via a web interface too. All you need to do to send a fax is attach the faxes as attachments to an email, write your cover letter in the body of the email and send the email to the fax number of your choice followed by @eFaxSend.com e.g. [email protected] You will receive faxes in the same email account that you send faxes from. Alternatively, you can log into your eFax account online and send them via the eFax web interface:
eFax offers the biggest file attachment limit on the market at 1GB compared to just 5MB with Nextiva and 20MB with RingCentral so it’s ideal for those that need to send very long faxes or faxes with lots of images in them. eFax is also one of the few fax services to offer mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. These apps support swipe-signing of faxes so if you need to sign-off a lot of faxes on a daily basis, you can simply swipe your mobile device and the fax will be signed and sent. You can also take a photo, sign-it and then fax it in a few swipes.
If you need to fax a document that’s not saved on your phone, eFax is integrated with online storage solutions such as Dropbox and OneDrive so you can download them and send them from your phone:
The mobile app is are very useful if you need to send or check faxes when your on the move and away from your computer. You can easily see how many faxes you’ve got how many pages they are in your inbox.
eFax also claims to offer one of the safest and most secure online fax services available using encrypted fax protocols to comply with HIPAA, SOX and other federal regulations. However, note that eFax will not sign a Business Associate Agreement.
eFax is very quick and easy to get up and running with. You simply send and receive eFax e-mails using the e-mail address you provide when you sign-up. eFax now has two monthly subscription plans – eFax Plus for $16.95 per month and eFax Pro for $19.95 per month. The only difference between these two plans is that you get 200 sent and received faxes per month with eFax pro compared to 150 with eFax Plus. Overage rates for pages beyond this are $0.10 cents per page. Both of these plans are more expensive than RingCentral or Nextiva but they also offer some useful benefits as you you can see below:
eFax offers more features than both Nextiva and RingCentral and also offers a few things that they don’t such as the ability to add electronic signatures, the ability to take, sign and send a photo instantly and of course, the whopping 1GB file upload limit compared to Nextiva’s 5MB and RingCentral’s 20MB. If you know you’re going to have to upload very large images or documents for faxing, eFax is definitely the better option to go for. and as you can see below, the free trial is unlimited allows you to do everything you can with a $16.95 per month subscription.
Note that eFax is one of the only online fax services to feature a Mac fax app but unfortunately, it only works on old PPC Macs running OS X 10.1 (see more about eFax Messenger in our Mac fax software reviews later on in this article). eFax Messenger does not work on newer Intel Macs making it useless for the majority of people but if you do still use an older PPC Mac, eFax Messenger is a useful fax software for Mac and Windows that allows you to write and edit faxes on your Mac desktop and check your incoming faxes. As well as being virtually obsolete nowadays, the Mac version of eFax Messenger isn’t as complete as the Windows version which allows document conversion, digital signing and scanner support among other things.
You can try eFax free for 30 days although if you want to cancel, you must ring customer service – you can’t do it online. You can also see exactly how to send a fax from OS X with eFax and everything else it can do below:
RingCentral is one of the most established, reliable and professional online fax services available and the biggest competitor to eFax. RingCentral is however more of a complete communication suite for your computer, offering phone, video conferencing and fax in one if you want it making it a suitable Skype for Business for Mac alternative. RingCentral allows you to send and receive faxes from your computer, gives you a dedicated fax number if you need one and the ability to use e-mail to send and receive faxes. All faxes can be sent and received using an online interface similar to Nextiva or you can send faxes via email too. If you want to fax multiple contacts, you can create Groups in exactly the same way as you do with email. RingCentral has also improved its service most recently by adding integration with Google Drive, DropBox, Box and Microsoft Outlook meaning you can conveniently fax documents stored in them from the main web interface.
If you need to upload large attachments, RingCentral offers a significantly larger 20MB upload limit compared to Nextiva’s 5MB. You can even add additional fax numbers to your plan for an extra $4.99 per month and add additional 800 or vanity numbers for a one time fee of $30. Unfortunately, there’s no desktop app for Mac yet although there is one for PC. RingCentral is definitely better integrated with Windows than OS X but if you don’t care about a desktop client and just use the web interface, it’s exactly the same service.
Like eFax, RingCentral is the only fax service to offer a mobile app. You can also use the RingCentral companion mobile app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry from which you can send faxes.
RingCentral pricing plans are mid-range – cheaper than eFax but a little more expensive than Nextiva ranging from $7.99 to $49.99 a month. The basic Fax 500 $7.99 package allows you to send 500 pages per month and then it’s 5.9c per fax over that. If you upgrade to the Fax 1000 package for $12.99 per month, you get 1000 free faxes a month with faxes costing 4.9c per fax over that.
Note that you cannot receive calls if you only sign-up to RingCentral’s faxing plan. If you want to make cheaper national and international calls from your computer as well, you have to sign-up for RingCentral’s Professional Plan which acts like a communication suite that can screen calls, take voicemails and send faxes.
RingCentral is certainly the most professional and feature rich online faxing service out there with nice touches such as OneDrive, Google Drive and Microsoft Outlook integration and the possibility to add further 800 or vanity numbers. The best thing to do is try RingCentral Fax free for 30 days or if you’re interested in calling capabilities as well, try the RingCentral Professional Plan for free instead. For a limited period, RingCentral is also currently offering a free $50 Amazon voucher for every new sign-up if you sign-up for RingCentral Office 2 lines. Note that there is no longer phone support with RingCentral – all support is now online so if you prefer to talk to someone if you have any issues, you might be better going with eFax.
You can watch an overview of how to fax with RingCentral here:
Nextiva offers some of the most competitive pricing on the online fax market with the basic service costing just $4.95 a month which is far cheaper than Fax. There are no contracts to tie you into a subscription and you can send faxes via email or your mobile device. Nextiva isn’t a cheap and cheerful service however as major corporations such as Target and Burger King use it for some of their faxing needs.
Nextiva has a very clear and simple dashboard which helps you manage sent and received faxes. You can choose to either send and receive faxes via this portal by clicking Send A Fax or setup and email account to associate it with via Fax Settings.
Sending a fax via the portal is simply a case of adding a fax number and details about who it’s from and when to send it. You can upload documents in most major formats such as PDF, DOC, PNG, JPG etc. You can also choose to send a copy of the fax to an email address if you want to have confirmation of it.
Sending via email is even easier. All you have to do is to send the email to the fax number of the fax machine you want to receive it by prefixing the number with a “1” and adding @nextivafax.com.
The same rules sending a fax via email on Nextiva apply as on the portal i.e. you can send up to 10 attachments with a maximum file upload size of 5MB.
Nextiva’s Single User account is definitely the cheapest you’ll find anywhere at just under $5 a month. For most people that just need to send occassional faxes, this is more than sufficient with a limit of 500 pages a month. For small businesses, the $12.95 supports 100 pages per month and for bigger businesses, you can send up to 3000 pages a month with the Business Pro plan. Note that Nextiva doesn’t support setting-up of toll-free fax numbers. Although you have to pay annually in advance for all Nextiva plans, you can cancel at any time and get a full refund.
In general, Nextiva is as reliable as any other online fax service out there and although it’s quite basic in features, it offers all the essentials that most people need for faxing. For all plans, you can try a free trial of Nextiva for 30 days and you can watch exactly how Nextiva works below:
MyFax is made by J2, owners of eFax and is very similar as it’s based around sending faxes by email but has less features and is therefore cheaper at $10 per month. There used to be three pricing plans with MyFax but it’s now been simplified to a basic $10 a month plan which allows you to send up to 100 faxes per month and receive 200 pages per month which is considerably less than both Nextiva and RingCentral’s basic of 500 per month. Extra pages are charged at $0.10 cents per page after that.
There aren’t many advantages to using MyFax compared to Nextiva, RingCentral or eFax except MyFax offers lots of fax cover sheet templates. You can view some of the fax templates MyFax offers in the fax cover sheet gallery. If you need to send faxes from your mobile device, MyFax also has the advantage MyFax for iPhone and Blackberry that enables you to send faxes directly from mobiles although many users have reported fax sending problems with it so it’s not 100% reliable.
Note that if you need to send faxes internationally, there are different international rates compared to the US and Canada. The best thing to do is try MyFax free for 30 days and judge for yourself. You can see how to fax online with MyFax below:
RapidFax for example is a no-fuss email fax service which doesn’t have all the fancy features of the others, but is simple and easy to use. RapidFax is a dedicated email fax service that offers 350 free inbound or outbound fax pages and toll free numbers at no extra charge (as long as you have a subscription for $13.99). Note that the 350 free pages are valid in the US only, not internationally.
To send a fax using RapidFax, you simply address the email to the recipients fax number @rapidfax.com using your regular email client i.e. Outlook, Gmail etc. You can add attachments normally as if you were sending an email and you’ll receive and email when the fax is delivered. The same goes when receiving faxes – RapidFax will automatically deliver faxes to your email address. Alternatively, you can use the RapidFax web interface to send and receive faxes. RapidFax is also integrated with Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 to send faxes directly from within Office. However, this only works on Windows and doesn’t work in the latest versions of Microsoft Office indicating that RapidFax is a bit dated nowadays when it comes to faxing online.
You can try RapidFax free for 30 days to judge for yourself although you’ll need a credit card to sign-up but you can cancel at any time during the trial.
Fax.com is one of the cheapest online fax services out there and for $9.99 per month, you get 300 sent and received faxes, local or toll free fax numbers and online fax storage. When you sign-up for Fax.com, you simply have to choose the fax number you want:
Then enter the email address you want to use to send and receive faxes:
The final part of the sign-up process is to enter your credit card details although the first 30 days are free and you can cancel during the trial and not get charged if you’re not satisfied by going to fax.com/cancel.
When you’ve finished the sign-up process, you can start faxing for free from Mac or PC immediately. Like most online fax services, you attach the main fax document to the email. The Fax.com interface is basic but self explanatory and easy to use and there are hints and videos if you get stuck.
Although there is no Fax.com mobile app, you can of course use Fax.com on a mobile device via your browser. Fax.com has a flat rate of $9.99 per month for 300 sent and received faxes with a 30 day free trial.
MetroFax is a reliable, value for money online fax service for with subscriptions starting at $6.63 for a generous 500 sent and received pages per month. Additional pages are just $0.03 cents per page making it one of the cheapest online fax services available. This doesn’t mean it’s not reliable however and large enterprises such as Marriott Hotels, Safeway and Stanford University use MetroFax for their fax needs so it’s got a good track record with some major clients.
MetroFax isn’t jam packed with features but it does include the most important ones such as the ability to fax from email, a web browser and a mobile device via mobile apps. MetroFax is very easy to use and follows the same standard process as most other online fax services to compose and send a fax. You can send a fax two ways – either from your own email address including Gmail, Microsoft Live Mail and Outlook or from the MetroFax web interface. Sending a fax from your email address is the easiest way. All you have to do is simply compose a new email message in your email client and type the recipient’s fax number including country and area code followed by @metrofax.com (e.g. [email protected]). In the body of the email, you can type anything that you want to appear on the cover page. The actual pages you want to fax you just add as attachments and then send. Note that attachments are limited to 18MB which should be sufficient for most fax needs unless your fax includes a lot of images, in which case you can simply divide into into several faxes. When you’ve sent the fax, you’ll receive a confirmation email in your inbox with details of when the fax was sent, whether it was successfully and how long it took. This is actually quite a neat feature because with some fax services, it’s not always clear whether your fax was actually sent or not.
Any responses or replies to your faxes from the recipient, you will receive in your email inbox either as a PDF or TIFF attachment.
Alternatively, you can easily send and receive faxes from your MetroFax account. Just log into your account and then it’s pretty self-explanatory how to send, receive and view faxes. Other things you can do in the MetroFax web interface are update your service plan if you need to send and receive more faxes per month, check how many faxes you’ve sent and received, add an additional fax number, change the email address that you send and receive faxes from and change the file format (PDF or TIFF) that you receive email faxes in.
Finally, MetroFax is one of the few online fax services to also offer mobile apps. Although you can use all online fax services via a web browser on a mobile device, mobile apps are more convenient offering quicker access and additional features such as the ability to take a photo and fax immediately. This is useful if you need to fax someone a document in a hurry that you don’t have saved on your phone, Mac or PC.
What we liked most about MetroFax is that it’s no nonsense, there are no gimmicks, it’s straightforward to use and it’s reliable. It doesn’t feature some of the more advanced features of services such as eFax and RingCentral such as vanity numbers and sign-and-fax but for many people, these aren’t essential anyway. MetroFax is also remarkably good value starting at $6.63 a month for 500 sent and received pages and there’s a 30 day free trial. You can also watch how to send a fax from computer via email with MetroFax below:
Fax From Mac Services Comparison Table
If you’re finding all this information about faxing online difficult to digest, below is a comparison table to give you a clearer overview of the different services availabl
Number of Faxes/month
Additional Fax Numbers
Overage Charge Per Fax
Additional 800/Vanity Numbers
Number Of Users
Send Fax From Email
Works With Your Fax Machine
Cloud Storage Integration (OneDrive, DropBox etc)
Take Photo, Sign & Fax
Attach Large Files (1GB)
24 Hour Phone Support
HIPPA Secure Encrypt
Unlimited Fax Storage
$30 one time fee
$0.05 per fax
Finally, if you’re looking for a really cheap way of sending fax from your Mac, SmartFax is worth a separate mention. SmartFax is a very quick and easy way to get a cheap online fax number. SmartFax is also operated by J2 and therefore similar to Fax.com but slightly cheaper at $6.95 per month for 250 inbound and outbound faxes. SmartFax is an ideal solution for startups on a tight budget or mobile professionals than need a cheap fax service for occasional use. SmartFax also supports international faxing but note that there are extra costs per fax depending on which country outside the USA you want to fax. SmartFax includes a 30 day free trial although like Fax.com, you must sign-up with your credit card details.
Sending A Fax Via Pay-As-You-Go Software
Online fax services are ideal for sending faxes regularly and for sending faxes via email. However, they all require signing up for a monthly subscription which is no good if you just want to send the occasional fax. That’s where pay per fax services come in like the ones featured here. All of these pay per fax services have Mac fax software and some like iFax and FaxDocument also allow you to send faxes from your browser for as little as $0.25 per fax. Most of them are available on the Mac App Store and you pay for faxes using your iTunes or Mac App Store credit. If you don’t want to sign-up for an online fax service with a monthly subscription and just want to pay for the odd fax now and then, these are the best fax software for Mac. Note that pay per fax services are very limited in features and functionality compared to online fax services. They are also far more prone to problems such as failed faxes and technical issues and they usually have very limited customer support.
The first thing to note about the iFax for Mac on the Mac App Store is that although it claims to be “free”, it is definitely not free to send or receive faxes. The second thing to be aware of is that it is not always reliable and can lead to some confusing errors and doubts as to whether your faxes have actually been sent or not. However, if you just need to send one or two faxes or the occasional fax, when it works properly iFax is a very quick and easy solution without the need to sign-up to an online faxing service.
You can download the iFax app for free but it’s completely useless unless you make in-app purchases to send and receive faxes. You pay for faxes using your Apple iTunes credit. The minimum payment amount is $0.99 to send 5 faxes to a “Group A” region. Group A includes the USA, Canada and most European countries but does not include South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina or Eastern European nations such as Russia and Poland which fall into “Group B” and cost $1.99 per fax. Finally “Group C” faxes cost $2.99 per fax and includes countries such as Egypt, Israel and UAE. If you want to fax more than 5 pages to Group A regions, there are plans of up to 25 pages for $4.99 but if you want to fax extra pages beyond that, it costs $0.99 per fax which soon adds up if you’re sending a lot of faxes.
The other thing to be aware of with iFax is you have to pay to receive faxes. If you want your own fax number, you must pay $17.99 and this allows you to receive unlimited incoming faxes. Incoming fax plans for Group B and Group C are more expensive. You can purchase fax numbers for whichever country you choose so even if you are based in the USA, you can purchase a virtual fax number for Canada for example. Most recently iFax now allows users in the USA to test incoming faxes for free and if you’re based in the US, you can get an iFax incoming fax number free trial for 7 days.
iFax is simple to use and allows you to attach documents in PDF, TIFF and JPG format which you can attach my dragging and dropping them into the iFax Mac app interface. Using the iFax Wizard tool in the left hand side of the interface, you can start the process of sending a fax by choosing different Cover Sheet styles.
If the fax number you are sending to is busy or engaged, iFax will keep re-sending faxes until it is sent. You can also send, receive and check faxes on your iOS or Android mobile device as iFax is multiplatform and works on Mac, Android, iPhone, Windows 8 and even Google Chrome. You configure iFax to send push notifications for faxes to your Mac or mobile device so you don’t need to keep checking the app for new faxes. iFax also uses HIPAA compliant encryption which is the industry standard for sending faxes online.
The main downside of iFax is the reliability which be very bit hit and miss. Some users experience no problems but many others find that faxes often fail to send with no given reason other than “telephony error” or timeout problems. iFax telephony errors are quite common and there is no help from the app or help section on the developer website regarding iFax troubleshooting. In the fax industry a “telephony error” can be caused by many different things, usually to do with the setup of a call or transmission and it would be helpful if iFax specified exactly what has gone wrong. Most online fax services will still try to deliver your fax using different servers and phone lines after reporting telephony errors although it’s not clear with iFax whether it does this or whether the fax sending has completely failed.
iFax for Mac can be a good solution if you just one to send the occasional fax and don’t want to sign-up to a faxing plan or need an incoming fax number. It’s also one of the few faxing apps for Mac that actually has a desktop client for OS X if that’s important for you. If you need reliability, proper customer support and are going to be sending lots of faxes, you’re much better off instead signing-up for an online fax service.
You can watch a very brief overview of iFax in action below:
The FaxDocument Mac app is the official Mac fax software of FaxDocument.com which allows you to send faxes either from your browser or from the FaxDocument Mac app. FaxDocument is very similar to iFax but with a slightly more straightforward, less gimmicky fax machine interface that iFax has. Like iFax, it’s also one of the few services that charge per fax via your iTunes credit rather than tie you into annual fees or subscriptions. The difference is that iFax offers considerably cheaper rates at $0.60 per fax compared to $0.99 per fax with iFax. Alternatively, you can buy a quota of faxes. For $19.99 you can send up to 25 faxes or send 50 faxes for $29.99.
FaxDocument is very easy to use. You can drag and drop documents in PDF, TIFF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint or RTF format into FaxDocument and the interface is probably about most OS X like that you’ll find in a fax app for Mac.
One very useful feature of FaxDocument is that it clearly shows you which faxes have been successfully sent and which failed. It would be better if you could tag or label these faxes as they’re all listed by their fax number and it can be hard to distinguish which fax is which but it still gives you peace of mind that the fax was sent successfully. The overall reliability of FaxDocument has improved a lot and most of the time your faxes are sent successfully but at least nowadays, you can see which ones failed in the fax log.
On the downside, the FaxDocument Mac app doesn’t tell you how much credit you have remaining so it’s very difficult to keep track of how many more faxes you can send (you have to log into the web version to check your balance). In addition, you can’t receive faxes with FaxDocument like you can with iFax – it’s purely for sending faxes from your computer. Finally, stability and reliability can sometimes be an issue although the FaxDocument works well most of the time. Like iFax though, support can be slow to respond and not very helpful when they do.
You can download FaxDocument for Mac free from the Mac App Store but remember you’ll need to make in-app purchases of fax credit to use it.
Like iFax and FaxDocument, FaxFresh for Mac offers a free desktop app for OS X which allows you to send faxes from Mac. FaxFresh is far more basic than iFax and FaxDocument and the pricing plan is slightly different. You can fax 8 pages for $1.99 and then it costs 25 cents per sheet beyond that. Although FaxFresh supports faxing to over 100 countries which is a lot more than either iFax or FaxDocument, there may also be an extra surcharge depending on the country you want to send to and you should check the FaxFresh pricing plan before signing-up as this can add significant costs to faxes.
There’s no sign-up process for FaxFresh and no subscription required. FaxFresh encrypts all faxes sent with it and doesn’t store documents after sending. FaxFresh only supports attachments in PDF format but is extremely simple and easy to use. Once installed, just use the small uploader to browse to the fax you want to upload in PDF format and just click Pay and Send. To pay, you’ll be taken to PayPal so you’ll need a PayPal account in order to send a fax.The interface in FaxFresh is very small and could do with being a bit bigger but it’s easy to use and self explanatory. You receive a confirmation email when a fax has been sent successfully although some users have found that there can be a frustrating delay in this. If a fax is not sent because of a problem or wrong fax number, you will not be charged which isn’t always the case with fax software. FaxFresh also uses encryption to send faxes which mean it’s safe for sending confidential documents to your bank too. On the downside, you can’t receive faxes in FaxFresh – like FaxDocument, it’s only for sending faxes. There’s also no preview, cover letter generator and no support for multiple pages (you have to merge them all together in a PDF basically). If you need to generate a cover page, we recommend using Instant Fax Cover alongside FreshFax:
FaxFresh can also be frustratingly slow at sending faxes and in general we’re bigger fans of iFax and FaxDocument. FaxFresh does send to more countries than either of the latter though so if neither of the above cover the countries you need to send to, FaxFresh may be your only pay-per-fax option.
CoMa X ($39.00. 30 Day Free Trial)
CoMa X requires a modem and a landline phone line in order to work and is therefore only suitable for older Macs or those that have purchased a USB modem. CoMa X is a very dated standalone desktop Mac fax solution by an independent German developer. It’s been around on Mac for many years and works as both an answering machine and fax service. The interface is basic and it doesn’t support all modems but CoMa X works with everything from OS X 10.4 onwards (older download links necessary for OS X 10.4 and 10.5). If you have access to a modem and phone line, you can use CoMa X to send and receive faxes on your Mac but it’s now a very old and unnecessary way to send faxes from Mac.
Important Note: eFax Messenger does not work on Intel Macs. It only works on older PPC Macs.
eFax Messenger is the Mac desktop client for the eFax online fax service (see review at beginning of this article). The eFax Messenger download only works with on older PowerPC (PPC) Macs (not the more recent Intel Macs) so it’s not much use unless you have an older Mac. If you try to install it on Intel Macs, you get the following error message:
If you are working on a PPC Mac and manage to install it, the eFax download installs a simple Fax interface on your Mac that allows you to save, view and edit faxes. You can add notes to faxes and highlight them as well as a signature stamp. As mentioned reviewed at the beginning of this article, eFax is a subscription based fax service but eFax Messenger is now so dated that it’s basically irrelevant for most Mac users.
How To Fax For Free From Mac
All the online fax services featured at the beginning of this article offer a 30 day free trial which allow you to send a fax for free during this time although most of them require you to sign-up first and provide credit card details in order to start the trial. Pay-as-you-go fax software don’t allow you to send any faxes for free. However, there are a couple of services which allows you to send a fax for free from your computer without any sign-ups or credit card details. FaxZero and PamFax both allow you to fax for free from Mac but they do insert small ads in your faxes. Note also that free fax services such as these do not encrypt or protect your faxes meaning they may not be suitable for sensitive, private or confidential documents.
FaxZero is a basic and easy to use Fax service with which you can send free faxes no longer than 3 pages and no more than 5 faxes per day. The only condition is that FaxZero inserts a small ad on the cover page and free faxes are limited to sending faxes in the US and Canada only. You can also send international faxes but this costs anything from $1.99 per fax upwards (maximum 25 pages).
PamFax allows you to send 3 pages for free from your computer and then a very reasonable €0.11 per page after that. The only requirement is that you sign-up for a free PamFax account. You even get a free fax number for 30 days with no limit on how many faxes you can receive. There are no upfront costs, no ads inserted into faxes and no monthly charges. PamFax also offer a very competitive Monthly and Professional Plan for around €4 and €7 respectively. Once installed, PamFax is integrated into OS X so you can send faxes directly from the Print Menu in OS X:
Alternatively, sending faxes is just a case of dragging and dropping documents into the PamFax Dock icon:
Or, you can select multiple documents to upload and send at the same time:
To check whether a fax was sent or not, just go to the PamFax Portal where you can see the status of faxes and any incoming faxes to your computer:
Although you can’t fax from Skype on a computer, PamFax is also one of the only fax services that allows you to send sent status notifications of faxes to Skype:
PopFax (now eFax)
Important Note: Since this was originally written, PopFax has now been bought by eFax. The following information is purely for legacy purposes.
PopFax (formerly Freepopfax and now part of j2 Global’s eFax service) used to offer a free way of sending faxes, including international faxes, from Mac but later became subscription only. The attraction of PopFax used to be that that you could send faxes for as little as 6 cents without a subscription. Alternatively, there were pricing plans costing either $23.99 for 3 months for a maximum of 20 pages or $59.99 for one year and 50 pages. PopFax is no longer available and is now part of eFax.
These are the best fax apps for Mac. There really aren’t many other options aimed at general users wanting to send a fax from Mac beyond these. There used to be a few others such as PageSender and Fossi but both have been discontinued. If you are looking for a really robust professional fax solution for Mac software, then 4-Sight Fax is worth checking out although it doesn’t come cheap at $797.
Faxing From Mac Using A Modem
If the idea of subscribing to an online fax service isn’t for you, you can send and receive faxes on your computer directly using a USB modem or a printer-fax scanner which both have a few advantages. One is that you only pay for what you fax on your analogue phone landline bill – there are no monthly or annual subscription costs like with an online service. There’s also no need for an internet connection as both USB modems and printer fax scanners plug into your phone line to send faxes rather than use your internet connection. Faxing this way also preserves your privacy more than online services as it doesn’t involve uploading faxes to third party sites or services. The disadvantage of course is that you need to purchase either a USB modem or a printer fax scanner and it takes longer to setup than using an online service. You also need to make sure you have a working landline phone connection in your home or office to plug them into.
Important OS X Sierra Note: macosSierra does not support external USB modems. Apple decided to drop support for USB modems with the release of OS X 10.12 Sierra so you’ll have to be using OS X 10.11 El Capitan or lower to use a USB fax modem with your Mac. However, Sierra does support connecting printer-fax-scanner machines to send faxes so scroll down to the section on how to send a fax from a printer-fax-scanner machine if you’re using OS X Sierra.
If you want to send a fax via your phone line using your Mac then unless your Mac was built in 2005 or earlier (in which case it will have an internal modem), you’ll need to buy an external USB modem. All external modems simply plug into a USB port and enable you to plug your analogue telephone line into the other end.
For newer Macs, you need to buy a modem including if you want to fax from Mac minis. There is an external Apple modem available which works with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and below but it does not work with OS X 10.7 Lion or above. It also only works with iMac G5, Mac mini or Power Mac G5 making it quite a outdated for most users.
However the good news is that other modems, such as the USRobotics USR5637 56K modem, work fine with both Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite and El Capitan and works on all newer Macs. Note that Sierra or above are not supported.
When you’ve installed the modem, it will appear under your Printers menu where you can select it to send faxes from your Mac.
Note that this is the only way to connect a there’s also no way to connect a modem to a Mac, You can’t fax from a Mac using an iPhone as a tethered modem.
Faxing From Mac Via A Printer Fax Scanner
The alternative to a using a USB modem is a printer fax scanner machine. This is a slightly easier way to fax from a computer because you can connect your Mac or PC wirelessly to the machine so the only thing you have to plug in is the phone line. If you already have a home office printer-scanner-copier machine, it may already have fax capabilities so make sure you check before going out and purchasing one. To check whether your printer supports faxing on Mac, you can check the useful Apple Printer Fax compatibility page which shows which brands and manufacturers are compatible with Mac and which support faxing on Macs. If you do decide to purchase an all in one printer-fax-scanner for your fax needs, don’t forget to read our guide to The Best All In One Printer For Mac first.
All in one printers are definitely worth investing in rather than a USB modem, especially if you’re running a home office. They often cost little more than a fax modem but also give you the advantage of having a printer, a copier and usually a scanner too. For example, the wireless Canon Pixma Wireless Office All-In-One Printer costs around $75 and allows you to send faxes. The US Robotics USB modem has a list price of around $57, so for little more than an extra $20 more, you’re getting a whole lot more for your money than just a modem.
The Canon Pixma Printer-Fax uses something called Super G3 Fax to send faxes via your phone line. This is a high speed fax standard for both black and white or color facsimiles and can perform up to 100 coded speed dials and receive up to 250 incoming pages. There are of course other printer-fax machines available which do a similar job such as the Epson Workforce Business Fax Printer but prices and features vary.
Whether you choose a USB modem or a printer-fax machine, once you’ve connected it to your computer, it will automatically download and install the drivers. To check that the Printer-Fax has installed correctly, you should be able to see it by going to the Apple logo in the top left of your screen and selecting System Preferences and then Printers & Scanners. If you can’t see it, click on the “+” symbol at the bottom of the Printer list.
Sending a fax from OS X is as easy as printing a page. Here’s how to fax from Mac with a modem or printer-fax machine.
1. Select Print from the File Menu of the application you want to fax from e.g. Word, TextEdit etc
2. In the drop down menu next to Printer, select Fax. You will only see this option if you have a modem attached to your Mac – in this example, No Printer-Scanner-Fax or external modem is selected as non were connected to the Mac:
3. You’ll see some Fax preferences which will vary in format depending on the modem you are using. Simply enter the recipient name and fax number of the fax machine you want to send the document to including any prefixes. The fax software may even be integrated with your Contacts already stored on your Mac in which case you can select the person you want to send it to, ensuring that the fax number is correct.
Your modem may also allow you to add a cover page. Click the checkbox Use Cover Page if you want to add a cover letter to your fax and fill in the details. You can usually preview your fax to see what it will look like to the receiver by clicking Preview at the bottom.
Your modem may also allow you to configure exactly how it sends the fax if it has Preferences. For instance you may be able to choose between dialing with touch or pluse tones or pulse tones, toggle on or off the sound of the modem dialing and whether you want to hear a dial tone before dialing. We recommend leaving these all on as it’s easier to tell if your modem is sending a fax if you can hear what’s going on.
4. Click Fax at the bottom and you’re done. You should hear the fax dial-up signal as it sends your document unless you’ve turned-off the dial sounds.
At the top of every page, the fax will imprint the time, number of pages and your fax number for the recipient to reply. If you sent a cover page with it, you can also add a subject heading for the fax.
Receiving faxes is also very simple once your printer fax scanner or USB modem is setup. As long as your USB modem or fax printer scanner is connected to your phone line and your Mac is not in sleep mode, it will receive faxes. To make sure your Mac is configured correctly to receive faxes:
- Go to the Apple logo in the top left corner of your desktop and select System Preferences and then Printers & Scanners. Select your fax device and you’ll see some details about your machine. Make sure that your fax number is correctly entered in the Fax Number field so that you can receive faxes.
- You can also get notifications of incoming faxes by checking the box “Show fax status in menu bar”. If you click on Receive Options, you can also configure whether you want your Mac to answer faxes before the answer machine cuts in, set the number of rings you want before answering faxes and choose whether you want faxes to be saved to a folder or printed automatically. Alternatively, you can answer faxes manually by choosing “Answer Now” from the fax status menu.
In summary, by far the easiest way to send and receive faxes on computer nowadays is to use an online service such as eFax, Nextiva, RingCentral, RapidFax, MyFax or MetroFax. They are certainly the best fax services for small businesses and if you need to fax from Mac or Windows regularly, then you should definitely sign-up with one of these professional online fax services. Online fax services do not insert ads on your faxes, they allow you to use e-mail to send and receive faxes, give you your own fax number and many offer much more such as extra fax numbers and Office integration. Most of them provide a similar service and the deciding factor is usually how much you want to spend and what extra features and functionality you want such as e-signing, phone support, extra fax numbers, vanity numbers etc. The most complete and best online fax services we’ve seen are eFax and RingCentral as they offer the most services and have the most customers.
If you only need to send a fax a few times a year though, services such as iFax and FaxDocument should see you through even if they can be a bit unreliable sometimes. Finally, buying a printer-fax machine is definitely preferable over buying a USB modem if you’ve got access to an analogue phone line as you get much more for your buck than just a modem.
Note that whichever service you choose, you should be very careful if you intend on sending bulk faxes from Mac or PCs. There are strict laws on fax advertising and spamming via fax and we urge you to read our article on the Best Email Marketing for Mac Software too if you require a fax service for marketing purposes.
If you found this guide on how to fax from Macs useful, you may also be interested in the following articles:
We hope that this comprehensive guide at how to fax from Mac has been helpful but if you’ve got any questions, suggestions or experiences you’d like to share, let us know in the comments below.