All hail Apple’s new iOS 9 font, San Francisco


As Apple endeavors to make its operating system environments ever more frictionless, yet another change in iOS 9 has taken a few observers by surprise: a new font.

Apple introduced the new San Francisco font earlier this year at WWDC, but today the public finally got a look at the new font treatment in the latest, non-beta update to iOS.

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“San Francisco is a new family of type faces designed by Apple in California and it is both inconspicuous and beautiful,” said Apple type designer Antonio Cavedoni, during WWDC. “[It] unifies our platform with a consistent typographic voice.”



That note about unification is no exaggeration. Beyond iOS, the new San Francisco font is also being used in OS X for Macs, tvOS for Apple TV and watchOS for the Apple Watch.




However, it should be noted that on the Apple Watch, a slightly modified version of San Francisco will be used called SF Compact. The primary difference between the standard San Francisco font and SF Compact is the fact that the Compact version of the font will be less rounded, a difference you’ll notice most prominently on the font’s lower case “o” and “e” type treatments.



Apple type designer Antonio Cavedoni at WWDC 2015 in June.


According to Apple, the new font is designed to deliver the maximum amount of clarity in terms of easy readability. After spending some time comparing the fonts in iOS 8 and iOS 9, it appears that Apple’s assertion is on the mark. Text is, even if ever so slightly, a little easier to read.



The new font is something of a departure from the previous Helvetica Neue font introduced in iOS 7. And when you compare the two, you’ll notice little touches, like the slightly depressed stroke on the lower case “a,” which makes the letter a bit more readable, particularly on mobile devices.

Apparently, Apple’s bid to make its font more appealing is working, early reviews from users indicate that most are happy with the change, from casual users all the way down to hardcore font nerds.

All hail San Francisco, the new font that will unify the Apple experience once and for all.

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