How to install fonts in iOS 13 and use them on the iPhone

Improve documents on the iPhone with fonts

iPhone fonts: Install and use fonts on the iPhone

Although apps to install fonts on the iPhone have been around for years, they were a fudge, using school or corporate profiles. iOS 13 enables fonts to install into iOS properly. Here’s how.

Forget those old font installer apps, there is a new way to install and use fonts on your iPhone or iPad with iOS 13. They can be installed from the app store and there are new features in iOS Settings to show installed fonts and manage them.

Now you can be more creative on your iPhone and use fantastic font designs for text in apps.

This is a great new feature for iOS, but there is a downside. Not many apps enable you to select fonts, at least not at the moment, but that may change in the future as developers begin to explore the new font handling features in iOS on the iPhone and iPad.

Creative apps that handle text are the most obvious places where fonts can be accessed and in this guide, Apple Pages is used. It is not the only app where fonts can be selected, but it is a powerful word processor that enables you to create great documents that contain text, images and other media.

Pages already allows you to select the font for text and when new fonts are installed in iOS, they automatically appear on the font selection menu. Let’s see how it works with a step-by-step guide.

1 Find a font app

Font Diner app in the iOS App Store

First you need to find a font app in the iOS App Store. This is not as easy as it sounds because there are dozens of apps that don’t do fonts the iOS 13+ way. Check what version of iOS is required in order to run an app and if it runs on anything less than iOS 13, ignore it. You need a font app that ONLY runs on iOS 13 or later.

There are few font apps at the moment and Font Diner will be used for this guide, but more are sure to come along as developers begin to use ISO 13’s font features. Font Diner has the added advantage of being free.

2 Install and run Font Diner

Font Diner app on the iPhone with fonts

Install and run the app. It displays samples of all the fonts included, 23 when I ran it, but this number may change in future. These fonts are not yet installed and you must click the Activate button near the top on the right.

3 Install the fonts in iOS

Font Diner app installing fonts on the iPhone

Tap Activate and you are prompted to install all the fonts in a pop-up message. Go ahead and do so.

4 Enable/disable fonts

Font Diner app on the iPhone with fonts

Down at the bottom of the screen, off the screenshot above, are three buttons. Tap Library to see a list of fonts with on/off switches next to each one. These can be used to enable or disable fonts you need or don’t need.

5 iOS Font settings

Settings on the iPhone showing fonts

iOS 13 adds a new section in the Settings app for fonts. Open Settings, tap General and then press Fonts.

6 View installed fonts in iOS

Settings on the iPhone showing fonts

A list of fonts is displayed. It shows only the extra fonts that you have installed and not the default fonts bundled with iOS.

Remove a font from iOS: Press the Edit link in the top right corner of the Fonts screen and fonts can then be selected and removed from the device.

View a font in iOS: Tap a font to see an information screen showing the font name, copyright notice, size and variations like regular, bold, italic. There is another Remove option here and you can also tap a font variation to see a preview of the font in several different ways.

7 Use fonts on the iPhone

Apple Pages app on the iPhone editing text

Most apps do not allow you to select fonts, so after installing fonts you will not immediately see any differences on the iPhone or iPad. The iOS system font for example, cannot be changed.

You must use an app that provides font selection and here is the Apple Pages app on the iPhone. It is a word processor for creating documents, so naturally, it enables you to choose the font for the text.

Long press on some text to select it and drag the handles left and right to choose what to change. Then press the paintbrush icon at the top of the screen.

8 Select a font in Pages

Selecting the font for text in the Apple Pages app on the iPhone

The paintbrush icon opens a Text panel at the bottom of the screen and the current font is displayed. Press it to change it.

9 Choose a new font

Selecting a font for text in Apple Pages app on the iPhone

The fonts that were installed by the Font Diner app, or any other iOS 13 font app, are listed and can be selected. Here Bahama Slim was selected and the text in the document changes.

Fonts use system resources, so don’t go and install thousands. There may be a limit, but before it is reached, the iPhone or iPad’s performance might begin to suffer. Having a thousand fonts on that Pages font list would be a pain to scroll through, so just install what you need and not everything you fancy.

Look out for more font apps coming into the iOS App Store.


What's next?