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Apple Adds Free Fonts to Catalina

For those who have made the jump to macOS 10.15 Catalina or ended up there after purchasing a new Mac, we’ve just learned of a hidden bonus. Ralf Herrmann at Typography.Guru revealed the fact that Apple has licensed a number of new high-quality fonts for use in Catalina, though you have to download them first.

Open the Font Book app, click All Fonts in the sidebar, and then scroll through the font list until you see a grayed-out font, which indicates that it’s available but must be downloaded. (There are also numerous non-Latin fonts.) Click the grayed-out font name and then the Download button to install it.

A screenshot of Font Book with Proxima Nova selected.

See Herrmann’s article for a list of the new fonts; Apple provides a full list of all fonts in Catalina. We’re jazzed to see Proxima Nova, the font we use for the TidBITS Web site and in Google Docs for writing and editing articles.

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Comments About Apple Adds Free Fonts to Catalina

Notable Replies

  1. Hope they’ll be there for 10.16 because 10.15 was the first “major” release I completely skipped.

  2. I don’t think you need the latest update to get those fonts. I was able to download them as described and I’m still on 10.15.4.

  3. I’ve still got Mojave. The other day I was looking for a font and noticed several I hadn’t seen before, including Canela and Proxima Nova. I don’t have the others mentioned, however.

  4. I wish to God Apple would stop including hundreds upon hundreds of foreign fonts, many of which cannot be turned off or uninstalled easily (yes, I know how to force remove them, but it’s a big headache).

  5. Hear hear!

    My font menus have become virtually unusable because instead of maybe one or two dozen fonts, they’re now seemingly endless listings. The result is I have resorted to using about three fonts and font discovery has gone to essentially zero.

  6. The new list of all fonts with Catalina is a nice addition, but I could not find a list of the irremovable, undisablable SYSTEM FONTS.

    Does having all those foreign system fonts I will never use take up any memory or in any way slow down my Mac so that I should look for ways to remove them?

  7. I can’t speak for Catalina, but in the past some friends I worked with ran into worlds of hurt by deleting system fonts in foreign languages they thought they would never need. It turns out that some applications wouldn’t run without loading them; they are needed to run in the background. There are also some third party apps that won’t launch without one or another supplied Mac font. Mess with system or installed fonts at your own peril.

    Back in Mac’s earliest years, there were two types of fonts, screen fonts and PostScript. PS fonts were used for professional printing and the files were huge because each point size required its own font, and because screens were crummier, a separate screen font was used that could render quickly on screen and a print version. Back then, font files were humongous and took up a ton of space in what we would now consider tiny hard drives. True Type fonts had one file that could scale, and it was invented to conserve disk space, but they did not render well on most publication standard imagesetters, though they worked fine on desktop printers. Open Type fonts, the newest format, is a single file font, they do render much better than TT, and files are much smaller.

    Disk size has multiplied dramatically since 1984 and continues to expand. Cloud storage, relatively speaking, is no longer prohibitively expensive. Between smaller sizes for font files and bigger and less expensive disk storage, there’s no need to worry about all but the most gigantic type libraries.

  8. Sorry I didn’t answer this sooner. It’s super easy to create collections and libraries directly in Font Book, as well as to keep fonts active or inactive. If you can organize your stuff in Music or iTunes, you’ll have no problems with Font Book.

    Good summaries are here:

  9. Anyone remember the bad old days when it was necessary to shell out big bucks to buy Adobe Type Manager and Extensis Fusion to manage font collections? And what nightmares these apps were?

    Adobe is only selling an Asia Pacific version. In other countries they are giving away a free “Light” version for Windows users. I suspect Font Book was another shiv Steve Jobs stuck in Adobe’s back when Adobe announced they would stop Mac development for Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc.

  10. I use Monotype Font Explorer X Pro to manage my fonts. Is there a way to download the fonts without having them being managed by Apple Font Book?

  11. I’ve heard really good things about Font Explorer X, but I’ve never used it. Sorry, I don’t have an answer for this one.

  12. Apple clearly think everyone is like themselves, this means they think everyone gets free of charge.

    1. The top most spec Mac with the biggest drive and most RAM
    2. That everyone has at least a 1Gbps Internet link with no data cap

    They think this because all their staff have this.

    Of course out here in the real world this is not true. :frowning:

    Anyone else remember back in days gone by when Macs ran from floppy disks that the Mac installer let you select which fonts/languages you wanted to install to save disk space? Even Apple staff back then had to live with the same limited capacities to us mere customers. (The Mac installer used to have a customise option.)

  13. Let’s try not to use everything as an excuse to complain about Apple. I fail to see how Apple providing more free fonts—which you get to download, so they’re not taking up space by default—is a bad thing.

  14. I’m happy foreign fonts are included automatically. That way messages or posts I see in foreign languages don’t look like broken characters, and when I write in Japanese I can be sure people can see the characters I input.


  15. I don’t mind that they offer foreign fonts… I do mind that they force me to live with them because they cannot be turned off or uninstalled/removed.

    In the case of these free fonts, I find it nice that they are offered — but I’m glad they aren’t just forcing me to have them by installing them and not allowing me to remove them under the guise of “hey, they’re free so don’t complain.”

  16. I haven’t run into any problems by NOT downloading the free Arabic, Korean, or Japanese fonts with English language names.

    Thanks for the info on how to group fonts into libraries and collections using Font Book.

    If I create a collection or library and un-enable it (say Halloween fonts or Handwriting fonts) if one of those fonts is used in a document, will that font automatically be enabled for that document or does it generate a good old days error (Remember “This document uses fonts not present in your system”?

    Or the dreaded automatic font substitution, where the system would choose a similar font automatically that often displayed entirely differently, screwing up column widths or page breaks?

  17. A good question. I’m running a million year old OS on my Mac, and it doesn’t automatically open deactivated fonts within a Word document, although it will auto open a font needed to run an app if it is installed. I also have a huge font collection and I only have a very few fonts disabled, and the disabled ones are pretty much all duplicates. Adobe and Quark apps open fonts automatically, so I don’t remember having run into this problem. It might be worth a trial and error to see if it will work. Let us know if it does.

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