Install fonts from App Store with iOS 13

Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 195
edited June 2019 in Font Technology
Per the iOS 13 announcement today, Apple's website states:

"Font management. Create beautiful documents that reflect the style and character of your project with custom fonts you can install from the App Store."

I know this was discussed a few months ago while in dev phase, but curious if any new insights into how this will roll out and guesses at what it may mean for the market (perhaps hard to tell at this point).


  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,226
    edited June 2019
    I'm very curious about that, too. Didn't see it coming. It'd be pretty cool if font suppliers get the same deal as app developers (70%). On the other hand, it seems likely that some sort of blanket license would apply (rather than a different one from each supplier).
  • Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 195
    Yes, will be interesting to see how this rolls out since it's only a few months until it's available. I'm curious if it will perhaps be like a marketplace/reseller of sorts (where a foundry would apply for acceptance and release through the app store) or if Apple is curating by reaching out to designers on an individual basis to license/sub-license select fonts. I would guess it to be pretty curated, but at the same time, there are apps in abundance.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,929
    Monotype’s press release mentions them having a dedicated app on the app store, apparently just for Monotype.

    So that suggests that each partner foundry can potentially have their own app, and presumably have in-app purchasing, and deliver fonts through the app to the OS.

    I imagine that it is then up to the foundry whether they do a per-font charge, or a subscription to the library, or what—but I do not know for certain that this is as flexible as I am thinking.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,226
    What Monotype press release?
  • Marc OxborrowMarc Oxborrow Posts: 164
    edited June 2019
    If Apple uses the model that Thomas describes, I wonder if Adobe will add Adobe Fonts (née TypeKit) to their iOS Creative Cloud app.
  • I just saw an announcement that Morisawa will be on iOS too.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,929
    Apple announced five partners: Monotype, Morisawa, Adobe, Founder and DynaFont.

    Monotype press release:
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,929
    And a good analysis from Matthew Rechs (former Adobe person):
  • ValKalinicValKalinic Posts: 45
    edited June 2019
    We'll have to wait and see if MyFonts will make their library available, and if that library will consist of fonts from all foundries they offer, or be severely limited to their own (as "Monotype library subscription", "Mosaic", etc.).

    In any case, with fonts coming to the App Store (as well as its Windows counterpart), there is clearly space for a vendor to make this a staple of their business model. The question is whether iOS users are willing to pay for type licenses. I'd assume that most of those who are, are creative professionals who are already doing so, making this only a new way to purchase for people who already are. Still, the iOS user base is a huge market, so if a vendor (or notable foundry) can efficiently offer their catalogue in this way, it's a great opportunity. 

    Maybe Fontspring (with their understanding of technology and impressive speed at adopting it, as well as a focus on clear licensing) could jump in quickly (with all foundries they offer, on an opt-out basis) and get a head start on the other players, making most of this opportunity.
    cc: @Joe Manbeck   @Ethan Dunham
  • ValKalinicValKalinic Posts: 45
    edited June 2019
    Also, all the news from Apple deals with buying fonts rather than installing them, as is being reported. It seems a user simply installing fonts they already have a license for is an undefined scenario as of yet.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,035
    I'm concerned about whether or not users will be able to install their own fonts. On mobile devices, sideloading is the exception, not the rule.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,929
    Apple has created the hooks. So even if they do not allow users to do it directly, an app could enable it without hackery. (Unlike today.) This leads me to assume that Apple itself would enable this, but it remains to be seen.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,035
    Bump in the road: delivering custom fonts to clients. Maybe it could be done as a service: someone makes an app that allows designers to submit password locked fonts for a fee. When new fonts are added, the app gets updated with everyone's password locked fonts. Client unlocks the font in the app with a password. That will present a delay in custom fonts reaching clients but from what I understood from the WWDC video, it's possible.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 813
    edited August 2019
    Adobe demoed their implementation at TypeCon yesterday:

    I am really concerned about Apple’s implementation and hope it is merely a first crack. Requiring an app to install fonts is not good for anyone except subscription services, and even then it will require resubmission to the App Store every time a font is changed or released. Most of the replies to my Twitter thread say this is a security issue for Apple, but I think that’s a cop out. Sure, fonts are code, but they’ve always been code, and (with rare exceptions) macOS has always been able to verify them at the system level. I can’t believe iOS isn’t sophisticated enough to do this too. Perhaps someone with deeper understanding of iOS can explain.

    Either Apple has a grander strategy that is unclear at this point or they didn’t think it through.
  • ValKalinicValKalinic Posts: 45
    edited September 2019
    Either Apple has a grander strategy that is unclear at this point 
    It certainly is unclear, and iOS 13 is coming in a few days.
    or they didn’t think it through.
    They did think it through, it just doesn't really include us. Had they wanted the presence of smaller players, they would have made it possible for us to prepare for it. Instead they just said "the only way for fonts to iOS is the App Store, and the big subscription services we want in have had months to prepare, while the rest don't really need to know details".
  • ValKalinicValKalinic Posts: 45
    edited September 2019
    Also, it seems pretty clear to me the simplest and most intuitive way to do this would be: in Safari, a customer opens any site they've bought a font from, or get a free one, download its OTF to iOS which verifies and installs it. 

    But of course, there's no sweet profit cut for Apple then, from any and every font bought or used on iOS devices. Basically, they've come up with a grand convoluted scheme to wedge themselves between buyers and sellers of fonts, something no other platform has managed to before. (Should Dell Inc. get 30% if I buy a font online and install it on a Dell laptop?)
  • Hmmm, interesting. Not seeing any revenue model there for Font Diner, if the app is free and does not offer in-app purchasing. Have I missed something?
  • Hmmm, interesting. Not seeing any revenue model there for Font Diner, if the app is free and does not offer in-app purchasing. Have I missed something?
    Font Diner gives away the same fonts off their website, I believe.

    I would assume by being on the app store, they are looking for more exposure with the notion to sell the non-free fonts.
  • Stuart Sandler said:
    Phase one is getting the app up and working and allowing the fonts to load in the iOS.
    I tried Font Diner app on the iOS 13. The app could install all free fonts and appeared in font management. But all fonts didn't show on the font list in the apple mail app. In the mean time, I also tried to use iFont to download other fonts, they all worked in the Mail app.

    So far, I have tried to find what app will work with the font management. It's very interesting to find the only working app with the font management is the Mail app.
  • Sorry I am so late to join this thread. I'll just add a couple of notes to my earlier blog post on the topic (

    First, I feel strongly that the significance of all of this is to effectively create a third platform on which creative work can effectively be done: Mac, Windows, and iOs. No fonts, no creative work. Yes fonts, yes creative work.

    Apple has effectively been developing the iPad into a notebook PC replacement. Fonts are one of the final dominoes to fall. Keyboard and mouse support, it's been pointed out, are a couple of others.

    The next, in my opinion, is application software. Photoshop for iOS will be a major milestone. "Real" Photoshop for iOS was demo'd last October at Adobe MAX and promised for release in 2019. I don't know when it's coming, but I think it's a safe bet it will be relatively soon.

    Basic economic theory teaches us that where there is a demand, there will be a supply. Photoshop on the iPad will create a demand for licensed commercial-quality fonts on iOS. To the extend that the independent type community has been until now (very reasonably) waiting on the sidelines, I imagine the corporate launch partners may have a jump on the rest of the industry.

    Of course they'll have to catch up to Font Diner who clearly has the first-mover advantage! I think this shows in part that this new ecosystem does not necessarily favor corporate font suppliers. The idea that it is easier and cheaper for a big company to build and manage an iOS app than it is for an independent foundry... easy to say it until you've tried it!

    Stephen makes a good point about Apple's appetite for avarice in our space. All type content suppliers are the same size, compared to Apple, and compared to their partners in TV, music, movies, and games. I don't think they're looking to wring every penny out of the market strategy. I expect they'll hold us all to the same standards, at least. 

    From my perspective, the great thing about the iOS type marketplace is that we have the opportunity for a more level playing field than has existed in a very long time. It is not operated by type industry incumbents with vested type interests. Of course Apple has its own vested interests -- any marketplace operator will. But those interests are from my vantage point less likely to be misaligned with our own.

    In fact I see them as being relatively closely aligned: Security, ease of use, and, remarkably, equal access to all comers.

    That's how I see it! I'm talking with my clients about these topics every day. I'm happy to talk to you to. Feel free to drop me a line if you'd like to chat.

  • Great posts and to both of your points, really what will make the difference is which apps will be using the installed Custom Fonts.

    Indeed there are many apps that currently side-load existing TTF and OTF fonts by converting them to iOS profiles which then can be accessed from within other apps which appears to still be supported in iOS 13. And while iFont continues to make income from it's tool, I had expected once iOS 13 was released, it would no longer work.

    I'm attaching an interesting thread I came across recently which will illuminate how Custom Fonts may eventually become more integrated but still don't have specifics on this.

    Also to be sure, to our knowledge, there isn't a single app currently available that supports Custom Fonts yet, so even if users can install the fonts from our app, they cannot access them.

  • Honestly, I’m still confused because I also assumed sideloading installation would no longer work in iOS 13, but RightFont (an app like iFont) claims their method still works.
  • @Stephen Coles so are we since it would mean there is no compelling reason for iOS device users not to continue using iFont or similar.
  • I can think of one: Convenience. Downloading an app vs the rather convoluted steps you have to do to side load fonts.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 813
    edited September 2019
    Right. I am hopeful that Apple is not disabling the ability to use profiles for installing fonts, but merely adding a method that is more convenient to users.

    It’s just a shame this method is much less convenient for font makers who have to make their own app (if they want to distribute fonts directly) and then submit every font (and then every updated font!) for App Store approval. This scheme is also inconvenient for any users who want fonts from multiple providers because they’ll have to install an app from each one.
  • @Mark Simonson the main issue is, the font WILL show up in every current app that offers fonts in a font menu if it's side loaded whereas at present MOST apps aren't calling to iOS to pull Custom Fonts. So while most folks can install our fonts properly in iOS 13 and assure they're activated in the Settings > General > Fonts panel, there isn't a single design app I can point folks to that currently can load our fonts (including Apple apps)

    @Stephen Coles based on our results/experience, we are exploring iOS app development for independent font foundries so there can be a meaningful market full of independent font foundry apps rather than one or two apps by only the largest players that dominate the category.
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