We’ve all known the frustration of trying to print something in black and white, because you know your colour ink cartridges are low, and the error message cannot print, Yellow ink low pops up. When this happens, we’ve all thought “I know my yellow ink is low, printer, that’s why I want to print in black and white!”
Despite all of us thinking that this is just another way for our printers to make printing even more difficult, this one actually has a reason, unlike some other frustrating error messages we get. Every printer in the world leaves a digital footprint; tiny, almost invisible dots of yellow ink are printed to make a pattern that shows your printer’s serial number and a time stamp on every page you print.
This is put there so that every page can be traced to the printer that printed them (so you really shouldn’t print out those ransom demands or blackmail letters unless you want to get caught). This process is called digital steganography – hiding data inside data.
But why does your printer do this? The main reason is counterfeiting. The US government persuaded printer manufacturers to make their printers include this code as a way to track those who would use their trusty home printer and printer ink to literally make their own money.
So even though you might not be able to print in black and white while your yellow ink is low, at least you’ll know why.
As always, if you need any help or have any questions you can always contact us.