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HP inkjet printers - Ink Alert or Low on Ink message

Some HP printers continue operating as ink runs out, while others switch to backup mode. In backup mode, blacks might not be as dark, or printouts might be in grayscale. Ink level warnings and indicators are estimates provided for planning purposes. When an Ink Alert or Low on Ink message displays, you can continue printing until the print quality is unacceptable or until you are prompted with a Replace Cartridges Now message.

Resolve a low ink message or alert

If you see an ink alert but are satisfied with the print quality, you can clear the message and continue printing. HP recommends having replacement cartridges available to avoid printing delays.


Ink Alert and Low on Ink messages are calibrated for genuine HP cartridges. These messages might not be accurate for refilled or remanufactured cartridges.

  1. Select OK on the printer control panel, computer, or HP Smart app to close the message and continue printing.

  2. Check the ink level indicators on the printer or in the HP Smart app to see which ink cartridges are low.

  3. Order a replacement cartridge if you do not have one on hand.

    • Purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.

    • If your printer is enrolled in Instant Ink and you do not have a replacement cartridge on hand, contact HP Instant Ink support.

  4. If the message continues to display after replacing the low cartridge with a new, genuine HP cartridge Contact HP Customer Support.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Still have a question? Find additional answers and help.

How do I check ink levels?

Your printer estimates the remaining ink for genuine HP cartridges.

To learn how to check ink levels, see Check HP printer ink or toner levels.

How do I replace ink cartridges?

HP has replacement instructions for all cartridge types.

To learn how to replace ink cartridges, see Replace HP inkjet printer cartridges.

Which cartridges work with my HP printer?

Find the correct cartridge replacement for your HP printer.

To select replacement cartridges, see Which cartridges work with my HP printer?.

Where is my Instant Ink shipment?

Instant Ink ships cartridges to you before you need them, based on your printing volume.

To see how to track Instant Ink shipments, see Instant Ink shipment questions.

Can I print with black ink only or when a cartridge is empty?

Depending on your printer, you might be able to print after one or more colors run out of ink. You can also change your print settings to minimize the use of color ink.

To see if you can print with an empty cartridge, see HP inkjet printers - Print with one or more empty ink cartridges.

To learn how to print with black ink only, see HP inkjet printers - Print in black and white.

Why did my printer run out of ink sooner than I expected?

HP publishes estimated cartridge page yields online. Actual yield varies considerably based on the content of your printed pages, how often you use your printer, and other factors.

Factors that affect page yield can include:

  • The density of print or images on the page. "Dense" pages require more ink than less dense pages.

  • Infrequent printing. If days pass between print jobs, servicing routines are required to keep print nozzles clear and ink flowing smoothly. Servicing uses some ink.

  • Printer set up. Some HP inkjet printers use ink from the first cartridges installed for printer setup, and this can reduce page yield.

For more information about page yields and ink usage, go to About Original HP Cartridges.