iOS 4.2 improves support for web fonts
November 23, 2010
With yesterday’s release of iOS 4.2, a frustrating Mobile Safari bug has been resolved: previously, Mobile Safari would crash if more than one weight or style of a font was loaded. This bug has been repaired in iOS 4.2, so that users of the iPhone, iPod, or iPad who update their device will no longer experience crashing.
This is great news, and as a result we are updating our support for iOS. Currently, support for iOS is disabled by default; starting in two weeks (on December 6th), support for iOS devices will be enabled by default. You will still have the option of disabling it if you choose, but every new kit created will have iOS turned on. (Note that this change does not affect settings in your existing kits — only in newly created kits.)
Additionally, we have decided to drop support for older versions of iOS. Also starting on December 6th, we will no longer send fonts to versions of iOS prior to 4.2. Dropping support for a browser is not something we take lightly; but we believe the crashing bug is so offensive as to make supporting these browsers untenable. No one should ever experience a browser crash because of a web font; and we are taking this step to make sure that they never will.
What does this mean for you? It means that older versions of iOS will see your sites with the fallback fonts rather than Typekit fonts. We recommend that you use Font Events to take full control over the fallback scenario, so that your site looks just as effective with those fonts as it does when the Typekit fonts are enabled. Doing so will also ensure a good experience for users who visit from older browsers, as well as for those who have disabled web fonts. This is a smart, progressive enhancement practice, no matter which devices are supported now or in the future.
iOS 4.2 is also the first version of Mobile Safari to support native web fonts (in TrueType format) instead of SVG. This is also exciting news, as TrueType fonts are superior to SVG fonts in two very important ways: the files sizes are dramatically smaller (an especially important factor on mobile devices), and the rendering quality is much higher. We are currently updating our testing suite to evaluate how well TrueType fonts perform in Mobile Safari; once we’ve confirmed that they do in fact work effectively, we will begin sending TrueType fonts to iOS devices. Look for more updates on this change in the near future.
As always, if you have any questions about what these changes mean for your site, or if you need help working with Font Events, please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.