Changing fonts

Updated: November 19, 2010

The iPhone has a couple dozen different fonts. I don't have a list that says what font is mapped to what application. I will cover three methods of changing fonts in this tutorial: manually swapping them out using OpenSSH, and using the programs on Cydia: BytaFont and FontSwap. I found a collection of iPhone 4, and non-iPhone 4 fonts at iPhone Ruler.net





I have found that if you change the Helvetica, and Helvetica Bold fonts with a customized font, it has the single greatest impact on the look of the iPhone. However, with 4.0 firmware Apple has decided to use the .ttc extension on some fonts (like Helvetica) thus complicating the issue of swapping out fonts easily. Put simply, .ttc is a True Type Collection - a file consisting of several fonts packed into it. In order to change Helvetica, you'd need to decompress the .ttc, switch out the font you want to change and then repack all the fonts together as a .ttc. I've read about a Windows method of doing this, there is also a Mac program called FontLab Studio, which sells for a mere $650. Currently I won't be covering how to manipulate .ttc files until someone can simplify it for us. If you'd like to read more about this, check out this discussion over at MacThemes.net here.

I will link to many other fonts later on, and you can experiment with swapping those out with their counterparts.

Attention

I will be using YummyFTP to upload the files in this tutorial. These instructions can be applied to any files you want to add to your iPhone, provided you already have SSH installed. If you have not installed OpenSSH, or used YummyFTP before, then you must read this tutorial first.



Method 1.

The custom font (non-iPhone 4) I am going to use in this tutorial is called NeoTech, and is made by Gaurav Giri. You can read the article about this font, and download the font here.   Note: This website has some other fonts in it, so spend some time reading it. You can also view examples of this font and download it from here.

Launch YummyFTP and navigate to /System/Library/Fonts/Cache. I renamed the MarkerFeltThin.ttf file to MarkerFeltThinOriginal,ttf so I could switch it back if I wanted to. Then I copied over the modified MarkerFeltThin.ttf file.

iPhone



Turn the iPhone off, and then back on (or use a program that will respring for you like SBSettings).

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Here's my before and after.

iPhone       iPhone




Now I'm going to install a new font on my iPhone 4. It's called Laffayette Comic Pro. It includes six different types to theme the various areas of the iPhone like the lock clock, the notes font, the system font, and a dialer font. In my example I'm only changing out the Helvetica fonts, obviously you'd want to use them all for a more consistent look.

iPhone



I then used SBSettings to respring. Here's what it looks like. Reminds of me the font used on the TV show Heroes.

iPhone       iPhone



There is a thread at MacThemes where someone is porting fonts on request. Read it here. There is a thread over at ModMyi which is also hosting many iPhone fonts. Read it here.





Method 2.

There are two programs on Cydia that make changing fonts push button simple. One is BytaFont. You install the program, then you go to the Fonts folder in Cydia to find BytaFont font packages to install. The thing that I like about this program is it changes the fonts system wide at the same time. Upon installing, two programs will be added. Launch BytaFont. I've already installed a couple fonts.

iPhone       iPhone



Upon respringing, here is what the Akbar font looks like.

iPhone       iPhone



Here's the Walt Disney Font.

iPhone       iPhone




Method 3.

Another program on Cydia is called FontSwap. While not fully compatible with 4.0 firmware (the System fonts feature doesn't work, nor does the automatic restore feature), it is still helpful, and an easy way to change fonts. It works with all versions of iPhone. Here is what it looks like.

iPhone       iPhone



If you change the lock clock font you can go from this, to this. There are several other fonts you can choose as well.

iPhone       iPhone



You can also change the font used in the Calculator program.

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