How To Install Fonts Onto Your iPad

| How-To

Part 2 - The Font Installation Process

While AnyFont provides for a couple of methods to transfer and install fonts onto iOS, I decided to take the legacy iTunes file sharing approach. Follow along as I go through the steps I took to install the Santa Fe font onto my iPad:

With my iPad Air selected in the Sources panel in iTunes (see ‘A’ in illustration below), I clicked on the Apps tab at the top (see ‘B’), and then scrolled all the way to the bottom where there is an Apps list. This section’s purpose is clearly marked: “The apps listed below can transfer documents between your iPad and this computer.”

The iTunes window and the Apps file transfer panel

Within the Apps section in iTunes, scroll down to the File Apps and Documents section

In the Apps section, I chose the AnyApp app (see ‘C’), clicked on the Add button (see ‘D’). In the standard OS X file dialog box that appeared, I selected the Santa Fe font file that was sitting on my Mac desktop: a TrueType font file called santafeletplain.ttf.

The font file then appeared in the Documents list in iTunes.

I then selected the the Santa Fe font file in the Documents list in iTunes, and I clicked on Sync at the bottom-right corner in iTunes (see ‘E’). This initiated a transfer of the font file to the iPad.

Back on the iPad, I opened AnyFont.

The AnyFont app open on an iPad

The spartan AnyFont app on the iPad shows the Santa Fe font that was synced to the iPad.
Next, it will be installed by AnyFont.

A list of font files available via iTunes file sharing appeared. Since I only selected the one Santa Fe font back in iTunes, I saw that font as being the only one available for installation.

Tapping the Santa Fe font in the AnyFont page, brought up a single panel with a simple instruction: “Tap icon to install…” But first, I was able to confirm the font appearance by tapping on the Preview button.

Two panels in the AnyFont app

The panel on the left prompts you to tap the icon to install the font into iOS,
the panel on the right shows you a sample of the selected font.

Tapping the icon as instructed caused the installation of the font to take place in just a second or two.

And that’s all there was to it. I was able to successfully confirm that my Keynote presentation containing text in Santa Fe font was perfectly rendered in the iOS version of Keynote on my iPad. The font warning that was flashed on-screen previously was nowhere to be seen. Additionally, Santa Fe was now available for other apps to use, as long as they allowed for font selection and change and that follow standard iOS font book protocol.

Would you like a way to see what fonts are already installed on your iOS device? AnyFont can also present a complete list of installed fonts. I was surprised to see over 100 fonts installed! Wow! Where did all these come from? I know that many of the photo editing and photo-card apps that I have include a number of fonts which are installed into iOS, but even pristine systems have several dozen fonts pre-installed under iOS 7.

The AnyFont app running on an iPhone

The AnyFont running on an iPhone.
This panel shows all the fonts already installed on the device

Only fonts that have been user-installed can be un-installed. Existing default fonts cannot be removed. 

When installing fonts, AnyFont uses an iOS mechanism called configuration profiles, accessible via Settings > General > Profiles. However, uninstalling fonts is not done directly from within AnyFont. However, the included help files clearly explain what to do, which is basically to go into Profiles panel within General Settings, select the configuration profile for the font in question, then tap on Delete. Couldn't be any simpler.

A font Profile panel in Settings

To uninstall a font, go into the Profile panel for that font within Settings > General > Profiles

If you’d like to install one or more fonts onto your iOS device in a simple and painless way, try AnyFont. I would just suggest that you go easy with this, and test everything. As always, less is more.

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There’s the unfortunate fact that you will need some license to install any fonts. For example, the fonts that ship with MacOS X have a license that doesn’t allow moving these fonts to an iPad, and Microsoft’s “web fonts” only have a free license in a format that most likely won’t work directly on the iPad.

On the other hand, I doubt that either Apple or Microsoft will care much if you install one of these fonts for private use.

Maduken Arnold

Yeah man, I got anyfont ages ago, does me very well. Does this mean though that it is completely impossible to add fonts on the ipad 1?


We use Open Sans font from Google in our documentation and Keynote presentations because it looks great. Its not a standard font installed on the Macbook Pro, so one has to download this. Using the equivalent Apps on my iPad I noticed I missed this font too. So thanks for sharing how to install fonts. If Steve Jobs were still around I am sure he too would consider this a huge missing feature. If I download a font on my Mac I want to use that font on my iPad rather than an equivalent. It makes using the Apps not transparent.

Interestingly enough, although Pages doesn’t have this font by default on the iPad, Google Docs Apps does. I can easily edit documents on my Mac and iPad with Google Docs in the same fonts easily. Would love to know how they do that. I thought fonts are held centrally in the iPad and available for all Apps. How then does the Google Docs App make this work?

Once again thanks for sharing.

Jack Goossen

Hi great article! You may be interested in our app Fonteer, which is an alternative for installing fonts on iOS. As a bonus you can directly browse and download fonts from the Google Fonts archive (these fonts can be used for commercial purposes). There is a free version of Fonteer which allows up to three font installs. For $1,99 you can upgrade to the premium version with unlimited font installs.

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