Now serving TrueType fonts to iOS 4.2 devices

As noted previously, iOS 4.2 adds support for TrueType fonts, an improvement over previous versions of iOS which only supported SVG fonts. TrueType fonts are superior to SVG fonts in both performance and rendering quality.

We tested TrueType fonts across our system and have been pleased with the results; in particular, the fonts load noticeably faster. Today, we have updated our system to serve TrueType fonts to all iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod) devices. To update your sites to the latest font versions, just republish your kits.

As always, if you have any questions, please drop a line to and we’ll be happy to help.

9 Responses

  1. Trent Walton says:

    Happy to hear this.. especially the bit about fonts loading faster.

  2. Jeremie says:

    I’m a bit surprise by what you’re saying here and maybe something is missing.

    Obviously, a TrueType font file is smaller than a SVG font file but only if you do not permforme any king of compression. By using, SVGZ font file (which are SVG file compressed through GZip) or by dealing with Gz/deflate compression over HTTP, SVG compressed files are smaller than TrueType compressed file.

    Of course, TrueType file are better rendered even if sometime it’s hard to say. But in a mobile environment, TrueType file remain quite heavy. I’ve made some tests that demonstrate to me that sometimes compressed SVG is better on low bandwidth connexions. I’m not sure there is a strait answer here and anyone should perform it’s one test with it’s own fonts to be sure.

  3. JP DeVries says:

    Great news. I don’t understand why iOS doesn’t support OpenType as well.

    I read that part of the Apple’s reasoning for not originally supporting embedded fonts was the obvious implications of file size for mobile devices. I find this ironic because as a Web Developer, I know that designers want to use the typefaces the choose, and when embedding isn’t an option, I’ve had to degrade to using Cufon or images, both of which are often larger in file size.

  4. Matt Colyer says:

    Jeremie: You are indeed correct that compressing the SVG does result in a smaller file.

    It wasn’t clear in the post, but we have found the overall performance of TrueType fonts to be superior over SVG. The main factor driving this is that the time to render in the Mobile Safari is significantly less for TrueType files giving an ultimately better experience for your users.

  5. Noloqoq says:

    Android devices support such fonts for long time, I’m again surprised by Apple late answer for so common technology today.

    1. Mandy Brown says:

      We’ve been serving fonts to iOS for a while now, but they only supported SVG fonts. This change marks an update to (we believe, superior) TrueType fonts.

  6. Adam Twardoch says:

    > I don’t understand why iOS doesn’t support OpenType as well.

    TrueType fonts are OpenType.

  7. Richard Fink says:

    Yes TrueType is OpenType but does iOS accept OTF CFF files? I am assuming this is what JP DeVries had in mind.
    (I haven’t tested or looked for documentation as yet.)

  8. Noloqoq says:

    Mandy Brown, I said than Android manage opentype fonts for a while…

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