While I was mucking around last night trying, again, to figure out the much talked about “per app VPN” that iOS 7 supposedly offers, I stumbled across a rather glorious discovery. You can install any TrueType or OpenType font on your iOS devices and use those fonts in iWork across iOS and OS X. Hallelujah!

Disclaimer: I stumbled across this process and have managed to replicate it in order to make the documentation which follows. But your mileage may vary, so there are no guarantees this will work for you and I shan’t be held responsible if you do something nasty to your device.

Full details are below. Have at it!

Update: I discovered some fonts on my system were in a Font Suitcase format which the Apple Configurator refuses to deal with. I’ve added a post on how to deal with these.

Update 2: Developer Florian Schimanke has built an iOS app, AnyFont, which makes this process even easier as you can do it directly from your device via iTunes file uploads.

Installing fonts on your iOS devices

In the beginning

Apple has released new versions of iWork for iOS and OS X which now promise “full file compatibility” between these operating systems. However one long standing issue is that of fonts. Whilst the collection of fonts available on iOS has expanded considerably, it doesn’t address the problem for those of us who seek out very particular fonts on OS X. I’m a big user of display fonts for craft purposes and this has always meant the iOS version of iWork was off limits.

Until last night I stumbled across the simple way to solve this. No hacks required! Below you can see part of the available list of fonts on my iPhone before I followed this process. I’m going to add to it. Follow me…

 
 

Font Book

Apple supplied the Font Book application with OS X and we’re going to use this to locate the fonts we want to install. I’ve chosen for this exercise to install a font called Dunkirk. Notice how it has multiple styles of the font. Initially we’re just going to add the Regular style to the iPhone. I’ll come back at the end and cover how to get the others.

Locating the font file

Right click on the font style name as shown and choose Show in Finder to have Font Book reveal the file that defines the particular font style.

Font found

The Finder window opens and the chosen font file is highlighted. Note its location – usually in your user folder inside the Library/Fonts folder if it’s one you installed yourself. Don’t do anything with the file here, but perhaps leave the window open as a reference for later.

Obtaining the magic sauce

The trick to installing fonts is to obtain Apple’s Apple Configurator app which is available for free in the Mac App Store. If you search for “apple” you’ll probably see it pop up as the second choice in the list as below.

Get it!

My screen shows it’s already installed, but you know how to “buy” this free app, right? Well go ahead!

Launching the Apple Configurator

When you launch the Configurator it’ll look something like below. This tutorial was recorded using version 1.4.2. There’s actually a lot you can do with this application – it’s intent is to manage (potentially multiple) iOS devices and you’d probably find it in schools or businesses. But it suits our purposes today as it will let us install fonts on our iOS devices!

Create a profile

The basic concept of the Configurator is creating profiles which contain payloads which are then deployed to the device(s). So we need to create a profile.

Make sure you’re on the Supervise tab and then click on the + button and select Create New Profile…

Our new profile

A panel appears in which we can define our payloads for the new profile. The General tab is the only mandatory one and the only mandatory field is a display name. Here I’ve just called it Font load.

Time for fonts!

Scroll the left side of the panel until you see the Font payload type and then click on it. You’ll get the Configure button. Click that.

Select the font

Remember when we located our font file from Font Book earlier? Now we need to navigate to the same place and select that font file. Then click the Select button.

Our font is a payload now

Once you’ve selected the font, it’ll show up as a small preview in the font tab of our profile pane. It’s now a payload for our profile. As this is all we’re adding to this profile, click on the Save button to save it.

Profile is ready

You’ll now see your new profile in the list of profiles on the Supervise tab.

Next, plug your iOS device into your computer with its USB cable.

Device found

With my iPhone plugged in, I can see a number (1) has appeared on the icon for the Preparetab. That’s what you need to see before proceeding.

Let’s get ready to rumble

Click on the Prepare tab and then on the Install Profiles… button. Note the description below it which says “Click to install profiles on a single connected device.” That’s exactly what we want.

Finding the device

As soon as you click the button the panel below will appear. Initially it shows a USB cable but I wasn’t fast enough to capture that! Once it identifies your device it will appear as below.

Click the Next button.

Choose your profile

Next you need to select which profiles to load onto the device. Make sure you tick your profile.

Before you click Next, make sure your device is unlocked!

Then click Next.

Oops!

If you get this, it probably means you didn’t unlock your device. If that happens, click Close, unlock your device and then click the Install Profiles… button again.

Installed!

If everything was OK, you’ll see this success screen. You can click the Close button.

Now turn your attention to your device.

Now to ACTUALLY install

You should see a screen like this on your device. Note the display name you provided is the bold title next to the Settings icon and you can see when the profile was transmitted and what it contains – in this case, one font. It’s not verified because we haven’t gone through a signing procedure. If you trust yourself, tap on the Install button.

 
 

Accept the risk

Still trust yourself? Tap Install Now.

 
 

Really sure?

For your further protection, you now have to enter your phone’s unlock code/password.

 
 

Finally!

Note the heading has now changed to say Profile Installed. Now it’s really installed. Tap on the Done button.

 
 

All your profiles are belong to us!

Now you’ll see all the profiles installed on your device, including our new font configuration. Let’s head back to Pages.

 
 

In fonts we trust

You may have to quit Pages to force it to reload the font list (double tap the home button and swipe it up off the screen). As you can see below, I now have Dunkirk as a font choice.

The (i) buttons to the right of some fonts give access to different font styles. Remember how Dunkirk had several? We can go back now and add those if we want.

 
 

Changing the profile

In my testing, changing a profile’s contents and then reinstalling didn’t work, so the trick is to remove it from the device before reinstalling. You can get back to the list of profiles in the Settings app by going to General and then Profiles (scroll down a way). Removing it is pretty straightforward with a Remove button right there on the detail page.

 
 

Updating the profile

To add extra styles or extra fonts, go back to the Supervise tab and double-click on your profile name in the list. That will bring you back to the editing pane.

Adding more fonts

You can click on the small (+) button to add additional fonts. Here I’ve added the bold, italic and bold italic styles of Dunkirk by including the extra three files. Oddly, the font pane does not scroll so be careful picking your font files. You can always use the (–) button to remove them and start again.

When done, click Save to resave the profile and then install as before.

Multi-font payload

Here’s the install screen for the revised profile with four fonts. Note the Contains field tells us there are now four.

 
 

Styles galore

After killing off Pages again and relaunching I can now select bold and italic for my Dunkirk font. I’ve not tested, but I expect other style types will show up when you tap the (i) button next to the font name as I previously illustrated above.

 
 

Collaboration?

And the final test – here’s the document opened in Pages for OS X. There’s my bold, italic Dunkirk just as I’d hoped!


Banner image composited on Placeit, © A. Jenks.

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