User-installed Fonts Coming to iOS 13

Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
edited April 18 in Font Technology
According to 9-to-5 Mac:
Font management is getting a major upgrade on iOS 13. It will not be necessary to install a profile to get new fonts into the system anymore. Instead there will be a new font management panel in Settings. A new standard font picker component will be available for developers and the system will notify the user when they open a document that has missing fonts.

It's about time. I say this as both an iPhone and (especially) iPad user and as a font maker. There have been ways to do it, but nothing officially supported or that normal users would put up with.

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Comments

  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 892
    This seems big. Opens up an avenue for more demand.
  • Does this mean that the name for "Desktop Licensing" needs to change?
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    edited April 18
    Yes, it was one of the biggest missing pieces limiting the viability of iPads for use in design. Apps like Procreate and Affinity Designer have allowed fonts to be added in the app, but not system-wide.

    The other big one, if Apple wants iPads to be taken seriously as an alternative to laptops, is to open up the file system to external storage. Cloud storage is great, but has some serious shortcomings.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    edited April 18
    Does this mean that the name for "Desktop Licensing" needs to change?
    Perhaps. Maybe "Device Licensing"? On the other hand, "Desktop" has been assumed to include laptops.

    (FWIW, my desktop license is based on number of users anyway, not computers or devices.)
  • Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 131
    Pardon my lack of knowledge here... but is this proposing that an average user will be able to install their own fonts (that they've bought or created) on their iOS device to change the system/UI font to their liking? Or is this more about developer/app use?
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,591
    edited April 18
    Two different things.

    IF you could install fonts on the device, it would be a separate question whether the OS would  allow users to change the system font settings.

    But currently, there is no general way to install fonts on an iOS device. Period.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    edited April 18
    It will allow users to install fonts for use in the user's documents in any app, just as on desktop operating systems.

    It's possible to do this now using third party apps, such as AnyFont, which take advantage of a capability intended mainly for developers known as provisioning where you install a "profile" on an iOS device. It works for fonts, but is not straightforward or simple to do.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,653
    It’s interesting that Apple is allowing the users to install fonts themselves instead of requiring them to come through the App Store. 
  • RaseOneRaseOne Posts: 15
    When I decided to open up the system fonts on IOS devices for use in my app (Graffwriter) I was pretty surprised to learn that there were actually about 240 system fonts pre-installed with IOS. Everything @Mark Simonson says is true & provisioning is definitely not something any normal user would really want to do. This is a good thing for a lot of reasons. For me one reason is that I'll now be able to allow desktop versions of fonts purchased through the app to be installed for all apps on the IOS device rather than just adding them to the app and providing the file for transfer to desktop. It'll be a cleaner, easier, more intuitive behavior for both users & developers.
  • RaseOne said:
    I was pretty surprised to learn that there were actually about 240 system fonts pre-installed with IOS.
    What’s far more surprising (at least to me) is that this is roughly the same as the number of fonts that come pre-installed with watchOS.
  • edited April 19
    To me it’s clear this decision was made in the light of making iOS apps (particularly iPad Pro) more appealing to any professional market. This isn’t restricted to visual designers, but also people working in virtually any industry or business.

    Apple promotes the use of Pages and Keynote on iOS. Currently, whenever you opened a Keynote document in iOS which was created on the Mac, Keynote on iOS will force-replace all fonts in the document to Helvetica Neue – unless you’re using one of the system fonts.

    For companies using their custom designed font, or the font chosen with their identity design (Philips, Renault, Volkswagen, Coca-Cola, to name a few), this is a game changer.

    Plus, graphic designers will no longer be forced by management to go with a system font or a free-use licensed font when they’re developing an identity design for a brand.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 433
    RaseOne said:
    When I decided to open up the system fonts on IOS devices for use in my app (Graffwriter) I was pretty surprised to learn that there were actually about 240 system fonts pre-installed with IOS.
    Well, I guess if you don't allow new fonts to be installed, you pretty much have to cover all the bases with the fonts that are preinstalled.

    Not owning an iPhone but instead making do with a mere Android, I looked for web sites listing those fonts. One name struck my eye, "Superclarendon", so I looked it up.

    Turns out it is by Ray Larabie, at Typodermic Fonts. How appropriate that the iPhone can truly say (or even sing) that it has Superclarendon under its skin.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    Apple licenses a few new fonts every year for possible use in their operating systems or apps, including from some type designers who participate on TypeDrawers.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    It’s interesting that Apple is allowing the users to install fonts themselves instead of requiring them to come through the App Store. 
    A type designer I know asked the font guy at Apple about fonts in the apps store a few years ago, and the reply was more or less "that's never going to happen". Perhaps that was because user-installed fonts were not allowed at the time anyway. OTOH, custom webfonts were not a thing at the time either. Whenever you visit a site with webfonts, the fonts get installed temporarily. So I guess fonts are considered safe for installation by users.
  • The most use I'd have for a custom font on my phone would be to reskin the Kindle app to test readability, but then again, neither the Kindle itself nor the MacOS Kindle app allow custom fonts, so it probably wouldn't help me if there was iOS support.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    edited April 19
    I don't think it matters much for the phone, but it's a big deal for the iPad. There is a growing number of apps whose users would benefit.
  • Jeff KellemJeff Kellem Posts: 63
    The most use I'd have for a custom font on my phone would be to reskin the Kindle app to test readability, but then again, neither the Kindle itself nor the MacOS Kindle app allow custom fonts, so it probably wouldn't help me if there was iOS support.
    It is possible to load custom fonts on the Kindle as of the middle of 2018 with firmware 5.9.6 and beyond. Put the fonts in your Kindle’s fonts folder. As I recall, there's a readme file in that directory with instructions. Then, it'll show up as a Custom Font option when changing fonts in the Kindle. fyi.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 901
    @John Savard
    Yes, Superclarendon and Marion as well. I think having them included in a system which didn't allow font installations was like a captive audience which I'm sure helped me sell a few more licenses. Superclarendon was barely in my top 50* before iOS inclusion and now it's always in the top 10. Marion had been plummeting before it was included in iOS/MacOS and now it's in the top 20, sometimes top 10. I assume some of those sales were from projects that perhaps started on an iOS/MacOS and moved to Windows, Linux or Android.

    * Out of about 600.
  • Thanks Jeff! Just what I had wished for. :grimace:


  • MrEchsMrEchs Posts: 9
    Does this mean that the name for "Desktop Licensing" needs to change?

    I think so, yes. "Desktop" licensing is soon to be obsolete, I think.

    Adobe's "5 devices per license" seems smarter all the time. But Mark's choice to license to users, not devices -- that might be the smartest. 

    --Matthew
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 892
    “Users” gets a little tricky, though. I know we all know what we mean, and it seems like common sense.
    But if I license a font, I don’t know if I should go around installing it on my office computer while I’m at work. Or taking it with me and installing it on my sister’s computer while I’m visiting her.
    Or is that okay with Mark? I haven’t read his license to see how this is defined.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    edited April 25
    It's okay as long as your sister doesn't use it. :smile:

    I don't think there is any perfect solution. I think basing it on users is easier to understand from the purchaser's point of view.

    The per-CPU idea goes back to the days when Adobe had copy protection on fonts. It could track installations onto CPUs so that's what the license was based on. 


  • Reading this topic I recalled an announcement about the Windows Store introducing fonts for purchase as well. Having a quick look there seems to be a total of 9 commercial fonts in that store — I wonder if we will see an equal rush on the App store :D

    In all seriousness though, this would be a huge market in terms of quantity, and a good way to raise awareness about font quality with a larger audience — more exposure to fonts surely must drive interest and appreciation also in boutique wares. Like most other digital font markets to date it, too, will greatly suffer from popularity snowballing.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    edited June 4
    Not only will there be user-installed fonts, we also are (finally!) getting support for external storage, which I mentioned above as being the other big missing piece for doing serious creative work on iPads.
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