As part of the WatchKit resources, which can be freely downloaded by anyone at Apple’s website, the company 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 amongst the designer community who detested the change of typeface. The Apple Watch font has been widely praised, leading some people to speculate whether it will become the default on iOS or OS X anytime soon. A user on GitHub has posted instructions on how to try out San Francisco on your Mac today, with some basic changes.

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

  1. Download the zipped font files.
  2. Copy the 6 font files to /Library/Fonts on your Mac. (protip: press cmd+shift+g while in Finder to type the path directly.)
  3. Run sudo chown root:wheel /Library/Fonts/System\ San\ Francisco* to set the proper ownership of the font files.
  4. Repair Disk Permissions diskutil repairPermissions / (for good measure)
  5. Log out and log back in to apply the changes.

Step three and four requires use of the Terminal, so be careful when typing in the two commands. It just changes file permissions, so it’s difficult to go wrong. The Terminal will ask for an admin password, though, as changing permissions requires elevated privileges. Otherwise, it’s a simple case of moving files to a special directory. You can see what it looks like from the above screenshot.

If it turns out you want to go back to Helvetica, just delete the six files from the Fonts folder in Library and reboot. As an aside, it should also be possible to install San Francisco as the primary font on your iOS device, although it will require a jailbreak.

Tell us what you think of Apple’s font in the comments below. San Francisco will officially debut as the font-face of Apple Watch early next year. 9to5Mac has also published a first look at how developers can use WatchKit to extend the functionality of their apps to the new wearable.

 

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