How To Change Fonts On Any Android Device
Everybody knows that Android is a good OS for both smartphones and tablets and there is no doubt that Google has managed to offer the best solutions for each device trough Android. But considering the huge amount of devices which are running on Android OS there are always going to be complains about turning your smartphone or tablet into a device that will best fit each individual’s demands. That’s why CyanogenMod exist and is enjoying so much popularity among Android users. They have built the entire company based on a simple principle: not everybody will be pleased with a stock device, and users will always aim for a more personal approach with the devices they are interacting on daily basics. So they have created a software that can turn a mainstream, classic device into a personalized and unique version that can mold its owner and keep up with its needs.
Android, as a standalone OS, is not offering so much support ( actually is not giving any kind of alternatives in this direction ) when it comes to changing the fonts for the menu and this can be quite annoying as most users have the desire of knowing that they can have full access to any kind of customization over their device, so the most common example, the Android stock font family, cannot be changed. Well, not quite, as we are going to show you a few examples of how to change your Android OS based smartphone or tablet family fonts, so that you will delight your eyes with a different visual experience.
In order to proceed, you must know that there are two main ways in which you can change the fonts for Android devices: one requiring a root of the smartphone or tablet and the other option that can be done more easily by installing some apps. There will be also a section dedicated to Samsung devices, so make sure you are going to follow the right method when changing fonts on your device. If you are not sure which method will suit best for the Android smartphone or tablet you own, don’t hesitate to ask us in the comment section below.
Changing Fonts Of A Rooted Android Device
This section is dedicated to those of you who carry a few technical notions about how your Android smartphone or tablet is working and who managed to perform a root in the past. If you don’t know how to root your Android device, all you have to do is to go to the search box of this website and type in your devices name and root, and you will find the proper guide on how to root the device. For example, type in “ Samsung Galaxy S3 root “ or “ how to root HTC “ and follow the steps in that guide first, then come back at this guide and continue with one of the following methods. If your device is not rooted, then scroll down to the “ Changing Android Fonts on a non rooted device” section and follow one of the methods described there.
Keep in mind that if your smartphone is under a contract, the carrier is not covering any damage caused by a rooted device, so you will have to do the rooting on your own risk, and only after you are aware of the damage it can be done on your smartphone or tablet if the root process is not done as described in the tutorial. It is important to back up any data stored on your device before proceeding in any manner and you are the only responsible if the device will brick in the process.
Now that you made all the necessary actions, backup and root, you are now ready to go on with the first three methods of changing the Android OS Font.
This is an app that can be found on Google Play and will bring a huge amount of fonts available to download and install on your device. The app is free to install but it works with ad-support, meaning that on the bottom of the screen, ads will pop up. If you want to disable them, you’ll have to purchase a license. The fonts will be available as a TTF font file, which can be downloaded on your device. In order to install the font and apply it to your OS, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Copy the TTF font file on your removable SD memory card ( /sdcard ) directory
- Go to the menu and launch Font Installer app
- Create a backup of the fonts you already have, as in case something will go wrong, you will be able to change back to the last configuration which worked. In order to backup, tap the Menu Button and select Backup. You might be asked for permission by Superuser of SuperSU, just allow it. Now the backup process will begin
- Then tap on the Local tab to locate the TTF font file you previously saved on the removable memory card
- Tap the TTF file you want to use and select Install form the pop-up window which appears. You can also select Preview in order to take a look on how the new font will look like before installing it
- After you decided on which TTF Font file you want to install. Again, permission will be asked by SuperSU or Superuser, so just allow it.
- The final step will be the reboot of the device trough a pop-up from Font Installer. Just tap Yes and soon as the device will be back on, you will experience the font you decided to install.
If you don’t want to download and save the TTF file on your removable memory card, you have the option of installing any font available on Font Installer, directly from their online font collection. In order to install a font through this method you’ll have to:
- Launch Font Installer app from the menu
- Open the Server tab in order to access the online catalog
- Now you can see a list of TFF Font files. You have the option to preview or install any of the fonts from that list.
- If you decided which TTF font you want to install, tap the file and select Install
- A backup notice will appear. This replaces the manual backup you had to do at the previous method. Just allow the app to backup your fonts, it will take a few moments, and after that the app will ask if you agree to reboot your device. Tap yes and when the device will be back on, you will have installed the fonts you picked up from their online catalog.
This app can be installed on most non rooted Samsung devices, but for all other type of devices, you’ll have to root it first. The app can be found at Google Play and it’s free to download and install. It has many fonts to choose from, in an alphabetical order, easy to find and dedicated to specific region fonts ( English, Japanese, Chinese and so on ).
In order to download and install a specific font directly from their online catalog, follow these steps:
- Open iFont app from the menu
- Go to the Online tab and choose the font you want to install
- Tap the Download button
- After the font is downloaded, tap the Set button, in order to install the font you picked
- You’ll get a pop-up screen asking you to change the font mode. Tap the System Mode and then tap OK
- The device will reboot and when it will switch back on, you can enjoy the font you just installed.
If you already have a TTF Font file that you want to use, you can copy it to the SD memory card ( /sdcard/ifont/custom ) in the pointed directory and then follow these steps:
- Open the iFont app and from the main screen go to the Menu button
- Go to Settings and then select Change Font Mode. Now follow one of these two options: for rooted non Samsung device, choose System Mode, and for Samsung device, choose Samsung Mode.
- Now go to Custom Tab and tap on the font you just saved on the SD memory card
- Tap the Set button
- You will be asked if you want to change the font, just tap OK
- You’ll get a pop-up screen asking you to change the font mode. Tap the System Mode and then tap OK
- iFont will now apply the font you chose and will reboot in order to complete the task. When powered back on, the device will run with the new font.
This is an app who will work on rooted devices, and its similar to Font Installer. It is free and requires at least Android 1.5, so without any doubts, it will work on every Android OS smartphone on the market. The app can be downloaded and installed from Google Play store and has similar steps with Font Installer.
Old School method ( the most difficult one )
Now we are going to learn how to change the fonts on a hard way. This is for advanced geeks who are not afraid to manually doing stuff, without any help from apps ore friendly UI. This one goes for the warriors out there!
First of all, rooted devices are the only ones who can take up this challenge as the method described below will modify some protected system directories. By default, these directories are protected by the operating system and that protection won’t help us in any way. The directory or folder where we are trying to reach is /system/fonts and in order to get access there we must root the device. Android.gs offers its readers guides for rooting, so if you really want to go on this path, all you have to do is to search for the proper guide on rooting your smartphone or tablet. Just type in the search box the name of your smartphone / tablet next to root and follow the steps indicated in the specific root guide for your device. After that, come back here and continue with one of the methods described below and if you encounter any issues during the process, describe them below and we are going to assist you trough the whole process.
The only thing you have to keep in mind is that no matter what, you’ll have to stick to the steps, and follow them exactly as they are listed below; otherwise we are not able to help you in any way.
As I said, this “old school” method is using system fonts directory and we are going to discuss a little bit about what they are and what each original file represents once you get to open that directory. First TTF file which we are interested in is the Roboto-Regular.ttf font file. This file is the one which contains the actual Android font, used in all circumstances and on every stock Android device, from application names, to menus, status bar, contacts and text messages. Any font displayed on your Android device is coming from this file, so it can be considered the hearth off the whole app. Next TTF font file we are interested in is the Roboto – Bold.ttf font file and as the name suggests, it is the bold variant of the stock Roboto TTF font file. It is used rarely, and affects little area of text from the device. We can see bold text in the carriers name and on several notifications from either apps or built in services. Next we can see the Roboto – Italic.ttf font file and describes the italic stock font. And the last file we are interested in is the Romoto-BoldItalic.ttf which is a combination of those three previous font files.
The idea with this method is to replace the stock Roboto TTF font files with the font files you would like to use on your device. The trick is that you will have to use the same name as the stock one. For example: If you want Arial.ttf to be the default font for your device, all you have to do is to change the files name from Arial.ttf into Roboto – Regular.ttf then copy and overwrite the renamed file in the /system/fonts directory. But before that you have to make a backup of the original Roboto-Regular.ttf file or simply copy it somewhere safe, so that you could restore it in case something will go wrong.
Manager app method
This method requires a rooted Android device, a file manager capable of navigating up to root directory, read and write permission for the /system directory and TTF font files copied on the SD memory card. For the file manager app, it is recommended to use one that you are familiar with or is easy to work with so that you could focus on the steps not on the app which has to help you do the job. We recommend you ES File Explorer or Smart File manager but any other app is good as it can help you reach the desired directory.
In order to make things easier we are going to call Roboto-Regular.ttf = Original.ttf and the TTF font file you want to apply New.ttf.
- Copy the New.ttf font file on your Android SD card directory
- Open the File Manager app ( ES File Explorer, Smart File Manager or any other utility app )
- Go to Menu then Settings and Root Settings. From this menu, you will have to turn on “Root Explorer” and “Up to root” options. You might be prompted by Superuser or SuperSU to give permission. Give it your permission and then enable the “Mount File System” option.
- Now go to /system/fonts directory and look for Original.ttf ( Roboto-Regular.ttf ). Once you found it, long tap on it and either copy it to another location, or rename it. In either case, this is just for backup purpose, so make sure you are having this backup of the file.
- Go to the place you saved the New.ttf font file and rename it to Roboto-Regular.ttf. In order to do that, long tap on the file, select Rename, type in the new name and then select OK
- Now long tap again on the new.ttf file and from the pop-up menu, select Copy To. The location where we want this file to be copied is /system/fonts, so we have to indicate that specific directory.
- Next, we have to navigate to system/fonts, where we just placed the newly renamed TTF font file. Long tap on it again and from the pop-up menu, select the Properties option.
- On the new dialog window, tap on the Change button and we are going to give permissions of the file. Make sure that Read permission for User, Group and Other is assigned, as well as Write permission for User is checked as well. Then save everything by tapping OK
- Reboot your device and enjoy the new font you just installed!
This is a simple way to install or apply custom fonts, but the next method is going to be trickier and a little bit harder.
Android Debug Bridge or ADB method
As I said, this method is trickier and is going to put you at work. In order to get started you will need the following: Rooted Android device, Android Software Development Kit (SDK ) installed on your computer and set for launch, USB cable for the device, TTF font file you want to apply. In order for this method to work, beside all requirements, Android Debug Bridge must be able to detect your device. If ADB is not getting any response from your device, then you should try with another computer. So here we go:
- Rename the TTF file you want to apply into Roboto-Regular.ttf
- Copy the newly renamed .ttf font file on your device’s SD memory card
- Open command prompt on your PC ( windows logo + R, then type in the run window: cmd and hit enter )
- Type in “ adb shell “ in the command prompt window and hit enter
- Execute the following commands: “ su “ then hit Enter and then type in “ mount –o remount,rw /system “
- Create a backup copy of the original TTF font file by typing the following commands: “cd /system/fonts “ followed by Enter and then “ mv Roboto-Regular.ttf Roboto-Regular1.ttf
- Then copy the New TTF font file to the fonts directory with the following command: “ cp /sdcard/Roboto-Regular.ttf /system/fonts “
- Make sure that the copied file can be read by the device. Do a test by typing “ chmod 664 Roboto-Regular.ttf “
- If everything is ok, type in “ exit ”
- Reboot your device and enjoy your new font!
Changing Fonts On Non Rooted Android Device
This is the simplest method, and requires minimum technical knowledge. There are some apps that can give your device the desired font with a few taps. The good thing about these methods is that you won’t have any issues bricking your smartphone or tablet and you are not risking the warranty of the device provided by your carrier. So, for entry level skills, here are the simplest methods to change the Android Fonts.
Custom OEM skins
This method is one of the easiest and risk-free ways to change the font for Android, but not all devices have this possibility. It all comes thanks to specific manufacturers UI, where they introduced a simple but efficient setting which allows users to switch between some general fonts, and in some cases to add more fonts. Unfortunately none of the Nexus phones and tablets have this option, but instead several Samsung devices like Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 10.1 will let you change the font very easy. Several LG models are equipped with this easy option, and in order to check if your device has the Font changing option pre-installed you’ll have to:
- Go to Settings
- Tap the Display option
- Go to Font Style, and choose from the pre-installed fonts or tap on the Add fonts if you have this option. That will direct you to Google Play from which you can choose the font you desire to use.
The good thing about this method is that the changed font will apply immediately with no backup or reboot required. The changed font will take effect on the system menus, text messages, status bar and almost everything that has to do with a text displayed by Android OS, or basic functions such as phone contacts.
GO Launcher EX app
This app requires a non root device ( it will also work on any rooted device as well ) and will take effect only on some parts of the system, not the entire UI as “Custom OEM skins” did or the rooted methods required. But if you want a slightly change of the device, without any complications, here is what you’ll have to do. First download and install GO Launcher EX from the Google Play store. Then install GO Launcher Fonts in order to download some extra fonts. The app can also be found for free at Google Play store. Now that you have the app and the source for TTF fonts files, we can start applying the fonts to the UI.
- Copy the TTF font files to this directory on your SD memory card: /sdcard/GOLauncherEX/fonts
- Open GO Launcher EX app from the menu
- Tap the Menu tab from the main screen
- Go to Preferences in order to access the GO Launcher Settings page
- Tap on Visual Settings and then swipe to the Font tab on the left side
- Then we need to look up for the font (s) we previously saved. So tap on Scan Fonts. After the app will scan for the saved fonts, a list should appear with the font (s) you copied on your sd memory card
- Finally tap on Select Font and choose the font you would like to use on your device.
Again, the font installing won’t require any rebooting and it will apply right away. The downside of this app is that it won’t cover all parts of the device, and in some places you will have to deal with the classic Android font.
Samsung Devices Only: iFont
For more details about this app, please go to the rooted section where we talked more about iFont. To sum up, here is the guide for changing fonts through iFont:
- Install iFont from the Google Play store and launch it from the menu
- You might have to enable installation of apps from unknown sources, as iFont is usually recognized as. In order to change this option, go to Settings and then tap Security
- Now that iFont is launched, go to Online tab and select a font which you want to install from the list
- Tap the download button in order to get that specific font
- Then, tap the Set button to apply the font or go to Settings then Display and Font Style in order to apply the font you just downloaded. The second method will apply the font through OEM skin tutorial we just presented above
- The font will take effect right away, and no rebooting will be necessarily
Another, more technical method, using iFont requires you to copy the TTF Font files you have stored on your computer ( the ones that can be found in the control panel under the Font option ) to your SD memory card. The directory where you will have to copy the files, after you install iFont app is located in /sdcard/ifont/custom and in order to access it you’ll have to launch the iFont app and go to Custom tab. This method can be used only for rooted devices, so don’t be upset if it won’t work for your device. There are plenty other methods described here for you to choose from and they are going to work if you follow each step described.
Note that iFont is an ad-supported app and in order to get rid of the ads displayed at the bottom of the screen, you’ll have to purchase a license, but if those ads are not bothering you, then there is no need for spending money on that.
As a conclusion, there are many ways in which you can change fonts for any Android device, some of them are easy to follow and take up a couple of minutes to complete, and others are more difficult but gives a certain satisfaction for any geek. This is just a simple guide showing you how easy you could change the font of any Android device, but if you think about all opportunities we have today, thanks to people who spend hundreds of hours to develop all apps that transform our stock smartphone or tablet into a device who we can rely on our everyday life, then we must always thank people who are making all this things happen. Anyway, have fun installing new fonts and support the teams behind all these apps.