Tag Archives: Japanese

iOS7 fonts used for Japanese text

Is your iPhone using the correct default font for Japanese text?

Today I want to tell you about a little quirk of the system which I encountered when playing with iOS7.

With successive releases of iOS, Apple occasionally add new fonts to the system. Aside from app developers, it is something to which most of us are probably oblivious. There aren’t that many apps where a user has the need or opportunity to select a font (iBooks being an exception). Probably the majority of developers opt to stick with the default system font, which offers a clean and simple look and ensures their UI looks and feels like it belongs on the platform.

I don’t know if this was the case in earlier iOS versions, but there are currently different default system fonts used for each out of Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
When an iPhone displays Chinese, Japanese or Korean text, it will begin by looking in the current system default font for the required character. If it doesn’t find it, then it seems to fall back to the default system font specific to the language with which that character is primarily associated.

The default system font is changed when switching between the three languages, and because all three fonts contain the Japanese Hiragana and Katakana characters, Japanese text will appear different when the iPhone system language is set to Chinese or Korean.

All pretty straightforward so far, but… if you happen to be using your phone to display Japanese text, while the system default language is set to anything other than Chinese, Japanese or Korean, which font does it choose?
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