San Francisco (sans-serif typeface)
|Variations||SF, SF Compact, SF Mono|
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 three main variants: SF for macOS, iOS, and iPadOS; SF Compact for watchOS; and SF Mono for the Xcode, Terminal, and Console applications. Several other variants exist for internal use by Apple.
San Francisco was first introduced in watchOS only. The next year at WWDC, Apple released the watchOS font as SF Compact and at the same time introduced SF UI (generally called SF) for OS X El Capitan and iOS 9. In macOS High Sierra and iOS 11, SF UI was succeeded by SF Pro. Note: SF has the codename SFNS in macOS and SFUI in iOS, regardless the official name.
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 be laid out with 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.
In the iOS 12.2 beta, SF Pro Rounded (codename SFUIRounded) was found. It was officially released on the Apple Developer website on June 3, 2019.
SF Mono, which is a monospaced variant, was introduced at WWDC 2016. It is installed as default in Console (only regular weight), Terminal and Xcode. Its license states that SF Mono is only allowed to be used in Xcode, Terminal, and Console apps, and therefore is not available for download.
The SF Serif (codename Serif UI) variant was showcased during the keynote at WWDC 2018 on June 4, 2018 when the all-new Apple Books app was introduced. This variant was exclusive to Apple Books in iOS 12, as a result, it was not available for download. It was later released in four optical sizes with six weights each, under the name New York on June 3, 2019, on the Apple Developer site. The font includes OpenType features for lining and old-style figures in both proportional and tabular widths. Despite Apple having the same name with the bitmap format for the original Macintosh (and later converted to TrueType format), it is unrelated to this design.
The SF Hello variant was first introduced in 2016. It is restricted to Apple employees and permitted contractors and vendors, hence it is not available for public use. This variant appears to be an intermediate optical size between SF UI Text and SF UI Display; however, some characters are tweaked, and the letter-spacing is adjusted specially for printing rather than displaying on screen.
SF Cash, appeared for Apple Pay in iOS 11, includes a chiseled-style SVG color font "SF Cash Chiseled" and a plain version "SF Cash Plain". In iOS 12 SF Cash Text Condensed Semibold appears more condensed than SF Pro Text Condensed Semibold.
SF Shields was first found in iOS 12.1, hidden in the GeoServices cache.
Since its introduction, San Francisco has gradually replaced most of Apple's other typefaces on their software and hardware products and for overall branding 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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