How to use Apple Watch font as system font on OS X Yosemite

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As part of the WatchKit resources, which can be downloaded for free by anyone from Apple’s website, the company has released the font it uses on Apple Watch, called San Francisco.

With Yosemite, Apple changed the system font from Lucida Grande to Helvetica, the font used on iOS. This caused some backlash within the designer community who hated the change in typeface. The Apple Watch font has been widely praised, leading some people to question whether it will soon become the default font on iOS or OS X. A GitHub user posted instructions on how to try San Francisco on your Mac today. hui, with some basic modifications.

You can download the necessary font files from the GitHub page, which are adapted versions of the files made available by Apple, as they need to be modified slightly to function properly as a system font. To install, the steps are quite simple.

  1. Download the compressed font files.
  2. Copy the 6 font files to /Library/Fonts on your Mac. (tip: press cmd+shift+g in Finder to type the path directly.)
  3. To run sudo chown root:wheel /Library/Fonts/System San Francisco* to set the appropriate property of the font files.
  4. Repair disk permissions diskutil repairPermissions / (for good measure)
  5. Log out and log back in to apply the changes.

Steps three and four require the use of the terminal, so be careful when typing both commands. It just changes file permissions so it’s hard to go wrong. However, the terminal will ask for an administrator password, as changing permissions requires elevated privileges. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of moving files to a special directory. You can see what it looks like from the screenshot above.

If it turns out that you want to go back to Helvetica, simply delete all six files from the Library Fonts folder and restart. By the way, it should also be possible to install San Francisco as the primary font on your iOS device, although that will require a jailbreak.

Let us know what you think of Apple’s Police in the comments below. San Francisco will officially debut as the Apple Watch typeface early next year. 9to5Mac also posted a first look at how developers can use WatchKit to extend the functionality of their apps to the new wearable.

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