San Francisco (sans-serif typeface)
|Variations||SF, SF Compact, SF Mono, SF Serif|
San Francisco is a neo-grotesque sans-serif typeface made by Apple Inc. It was first released to developers on November 18, 2014. It is the first new typeface designed at Apple in nearly 20 years and has been inspired by Helvetica and DIN.
The San Francisco typeface has four variants: "SF" (or "SF UI") for macOS, iOS, and tvOS; "SF Compact" for watchOS; "SF Mono" for the Xcode, Terminal, and Console applications; and "SF Serif" for Apple Books. The main difference is that the sides of letters with round shapes, such as o, e, and s, are round in SF, whereas they are flat in SF Compact. The flat sides allow the letters to have more space between them, thereby making the text more legible at small sizes, which is particularly important for the Apple Watch.
Both SF and SF Compact each have two optical sizes: "display" for large and "text" for small text. Compared to display, the letters in text have larger apertures and more generous letter-spacing. The operating system automatically chooses the display optical size for sizes of at least 20 points, and the text optical size otherwise. Additionally, included in macOS Sierra and iOS 10 is a new variant named "SF Compact Rounded". It is used in the new contact placeholder icons introduced in the OSes.
"SF Mono", which is a monospaced variant, was introduced at WWDC 2016. It is installed as default in Xcode and Terminal. Its license states that SF Mono is only allowed to be used in the Xcode, Terminal, and Console apps, and therefore is not available for download.
The "SF Serif" variant was showcased during the keynote at WWDC 2018 on June 4, 2018 when the all-new Apple Books app was introduced. This variant is exclusive to Apple Books in iOS 12, and as a result, is not available for download.
Since its introduction, San Francisco has gradually replaced most of Apple's other typefaces on their software and hardware products and for overall branding. It was the original system typeface of watchOS and tvOS and has replaced Helvetica Neue and Lucida Grande as the system typeface of macOS and iOS since OS X El Capitan and iOS 9. Apple uses it on its website and for its product wordmarks, where it replaced Myriad Pro. It is also used on the keyboard of the 2015 MacBook and on the 2016 MacBook Pro, replacing VAG Rounded. It is also used as Apple's corporate typeface.
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