With iOS 13, Apple overhauled the way you can install and use custom fonts on your iPhone or iPad. In earlier incarnations of the mobile operating system, you could download and use non-system fonts on your Apple device, but the process was complex and limited. In iOS 13, Apple made downloading and switching fonts a more integrated experience, though even now, that capability is limited to a few Apple apps like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Here, we walk you through the basics of getting started with third-party fonts in iOS 13.
With iOS 13, you can install custom fonts by first downloading specific font apps from the App Store and managing them in Settings. To control those fonts, you work through the app you’re using.
Controlling fonts in iOS 13
Even though you can’t use all third-party fonts in Apple Mail yet (Adobe’s font was the only one that works for now), you can use the app to gain insight into the iOS font manager.
At the top right of the keyboard, find the Left-Pointing Arrow, and tap it to access the quick toolbar.
Tap on the Aa icon to view the available formatting options.
Tap on Default Font to view the font manager, which holds all the current fonts. Any new fonts you download will also show up on this list.
Go to Settings > General > Fonts, and you will see a list of all your installed fonts (if any) and also the prompt to download fonts from the App Store. Alternatively, you can access the App Store directly from your phone’s main screen.
Tap on the Open App Store button, tap the Search icon, and enter Fonts. You will see a number of categories to choose from. Do not download keyboards, but only fonts from reputable outfits like Font Diner.
Tap any font file to view information about the font, such as copyright, file size, and typefaces it includes. You also view letter/number, paragraph, and character formats.
Options for free fonts are extremely limited, as are font apps compatible with iOS 13’s direct installation scheme. We expect that additional custom fonts will be available over time and in subsequent operating systems like iOS 14, which is still in beta. Adobe has made available many fonts that you can download from the Creative Cloud iOS app for use in Photoshop for iPad as well as in Apple’s own iOS office suite. You do not have to be a Creative Cloud subscriber to access Adobe’s fonts, but you do have to set up a free Creative Cloud account. The Font Diner app also offers a slate of free selections.
Do not expect all apps to behave the same way. The free Fonteer app installation functions a bit differently than Font Diner, as does iFont, but it lets you gather fonts from Google Fonts and Font Squirrel into collections.
To delete a font, go to Settings > General > Fonts, and either swipe left on a font in the list or tap Edit in the top right. Select the fonts you want to delete, then tap Remove.
How to use third-party fonts
Right now, custom fonts are mostly only available for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for your iOS devices. The Adobe font was the only one usable in Apple Mail. While more apps are expected to come on board, the timetable remains unclear.
To use custom fonts right now, launch any one of Apple’s productivity apps on your iPhone or iPad.
In Pages, for example, create a new document and tap on the Brush icon at the top to reveal the formatting options.
Tap the ABC icon to reveal available fonts.
Scroll through the list of fonts. Any third-party fonts you have installed will show up here.
Tap on the font to select it, and begin typing, or replace text by selecting and choosing the new font.
Third-party fonts are bound to be an exciting part of designing and editing on your mobile device. While the font feature in iOS 13 is a work in progress, you can still get started using it with Apple’s free productivity apps and, in some cases, Apple Mail.