iOS 13 and iPadOS added official support for adding fonts to your iPhone and iPad. You’ve been able to do it for a while, using third-party apps that hack their way around the problem using software configuration profiles to install typefaces on your system.
And you can still use those. In fact, you may have to, as we’ll see in a moment. But now you can also install fonts from the App Store, as well as previewing them in a new built-in panel. Let’s take a look.
Surprisingly, iOS 13.1 is already in beta. It looks like Apple’s release strategy this year is to freeze the current beta version of iOS 13.0 in order to get it ready for the new iPhones expected on September 10. Meanwhile, Apple continues to test the next version, adding back some features removed during the beta period — Shortcuts automations, for example.
So, what other new (or revived) features will you find in iOS 13.1 beta 1?
The iPhone and iPad are usually great at making web pages easy to read, even when they have lots of small text. Double-tap on a column of text, and it automatically zooms to fill the screen. Double-tap it again and you’re back where you began.
But sometimes a page behaves badly. You see it often on Internet forums, or the mobile-friendly (!) version of Reddit, for example. The text is tiny, and runs from edge to edge. There’s no way to zoom in. Even if you turn your device on its side to make the screen wider, the text just reflows — the same tiny letters, but in even longer lines.
This weekend I got sick of this, and set out to find a way to increase the font size in Mobile Safari with a bookmarklet. It didn’t take long.
If you do any work with fonts on the Mac whatsoever, you will have run up against the font picker. It’s a piece of design that dates back to when the Mac only came with a black-and-white screen, and yet it’s still the only way to select a font on an Apple computer. That wouldn’t be so bad if it was a good design, but it’s not. The macOS font picker is little more than a drop-down menu. Worse, it’s a drop-down menu that changes every time you use it.
You can use the Mac’s font panel in some apps, but even then you’re faced with long and confusing lists.
Sam William Smith, a designer from Glasgow, Scotland, decided to do something about this. He completely redesigned the Mac font menu, and it’s great.
Most of use just use the fonts that come supplied with the iOS apps we use every day. If you use Pages, you get a ton of built-in typeface options. But what if you use a notes app by a smaller developer that hasn’t licensed a bunch of fonts for their app? What if you have a favorite font, or even a font you designed yourself, that you want to use on your iPhone or iPad? Or maybe you opened up a Microsoft Word document in Pages and got the dreaded “missing font” warning?
Then there’s good news, because you can quite easily install fonts on your system, and they can be used by any app that supports them.
What? Yes. AnyFont is a proper, available-in-the-App-Store iOS app that lets you install fonts system-wide, for use by any app that allows access to the full list of iOS system fonts. How does it manage this sandbox-skipping magic? Installation profiles.
Does the recent spat over Writer Pro and its software-patenting shenanigans leave you wishing you could use its beautiful Nitti Light font in a different developer’s app? Or are you so scarred by years of using Microsoft Word that you can’t concentrate unless you’re staring at a page of Times New Roman?
Fear not, friends, because The Soulmen have the answer. Hidden in the latest update to Daedalus Touch is a way to import any font you like. Yup, I’m talking about Comic Sans on iOS.
Remember Mac font managing apps? I do: I hated them. Extensis Suitcase caused more problems with my old G5 PowerMac than anything else, ever, and I was fairly conservative in my font use back when I worked as a designer.
Thankfully, Macs these days don’t need the user to manually switch fonts on and off: our computers are powerful enough to handle it. Which is why Bohemian Coding ditched its old Fontcase app and replaced it with the shiny new Fonts, an app that is dedicated to just organizing and looking at your fonts.