The default font for Arabic seems to have changed to "San Fransisco" in some update in the past, but my iPhone shows what I believe is the "Nastaleeq" font, which is supposed to be used for Urdu.

This is what it should look like (SF Arabic): San Fransisco Font

This is what it looks like on my iPhone: Nastaleeq Font

To be clear: my device language is set to English, but wherever there are Arabic chracters they appear as in the second photo. It is quite hard to read this font, and I am puzzled as to why it appears for me, even though it is supposed to be SF Arabic.

Is there a way to fix this/change the font?

Edit: Here is an example from Safari: Safari

  • Could you specify where you are seeing this? Email, webpages, when you input Arabic in a note? – Tom Gewecke Nov 4 '17 at 1:55
  • @TomGewecke It appears like this when I input text, on the internet (Safari), on Instagram captions, anywhere there is Arabic text. – casey Nov 4 '17 at 2:04
  • But not in Mail or Notes? Or here? – Tom Gewecke Nov 4 '17 at 2:33
  • @TomGewecke Yes it happens in Mail and Notes as well. I am learning Arabic, so it's kinda inconvenient when trying to read the script when it is very stylized like it is – casey Nov 4 '17 at 2:34
  • I wonder why I do not see this at all on my iPad with 11.1. The font you show is in the nastaliq style, which is normally only found for Urdu these days. – Tom Gewecke Nov 4 '17 at 4:37

It seems I had my language preferences list with Urdu higher up than Arabic, so it used the Urdu font (Nastaleeq) wherever it saw Arabic text. Putting Arabic higher up in the list fixed the issue and made the font San Francisco.

As a side note, it is kind of a shame that it can't distinguish between Arabic and Urdu (seeing as they use the same alphabet), and yet it assigns a separate font to each of them and uses said font depending on its position in the language preference list.

  • 1
    I should have guessed -- that is the same way apple handles the stylistic differences between the japanese and Chinese use of the same characters in their scripts. – Tom Gewecke Nov 5 '17 at 0:41

I can confirm that this messed up font is due to the iOS 11 update, as multiple users on the Apple forum have also been complaining about the Arabic font in iOS 11 being very bad.

Maybe in the next update, Apple will take the complains into consideration and fix the font

  • I saw these complaints on the forums, but I wasn't sure if they were about this calligraphy-type font; I thought they were about the difference new "San Fransisco" font and the old "Geeza Pro" font from previous iOS versions. Perhaps I'm mistaken about this – casey Nov 4 '17 at 2:48
  • Yup, I’m pretty sure that those complaints are about this new font – Mark Hettwer Nov 4 '17 at 2:51

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