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How to change the fonts on your Android smartphone

A quick way to give your Android phone a whole new look is by changing the fonts. We show you how...

When it came to designing the default Android font the Google design team took two years to create something that was comfortable to read but not distracting in any way. Despite the efforts of team Google some users still have an itch to change the system font but in it’s default state Android doesn’t allow this. In this tutorial we’ll look at a simple tweak that allows the user to change the default font on a rooted handset.

For the uninitiated, rooting is a device hack that grants users access to the entire file system on their device. The process of rooting differs for each Android handset but in most cases it’s a simple operation. That said, it should still be taken into consideration that rooting can invalidate your warranty and in the worst case scenario brick your phone. The chances of the latter happening are minimal but it’s still a possibility so be prepared.

The thought of changing the font may not sound like much of a game changer but in reality the results can create some striking results and offer the user a unique way of personalising their handset.

To perform this tweak we’ll be using the app Font Changer which is a free download from the Marketplace. We’ll also need a usb lead so we can copy font files to our handset and obviously, a rooted handset.

  1. Root Your Handset

    If you’ve yet to do so you’ll need to root your phone. The ‘unrevoked’ rooting tool is a recommended program that supports a number of handsets. If your phone isn’t supported the best approach is to Google “YOURPHONEMODEL root” and research the process beforehand. There’s plenty of good tutorials available.

  2. Allow ‘System Write Access’

    Unfortunately rooting alone isn’t enough, Font Changer also requires ‘System Write Access’, otherwise known as S-Off. The ‘unrevoked’ method should take care of this for you. Again we’re unable to cover every other model here but there’s plenty of sound advice over at the XDA forums

  3. Get busy with Busybox

    The final step of rooting is to install busybox, a set of Linux / Unix commands that Font Changer uses to initiate font changes. This is a simple step that involves installing Titanium Backup from the Android Marketplace. Once installed Titanium Backup can download and install Busybox for you.

  4. Time to install Font Changer

    Open the Android Marketplace and search for Font Changer. The app is a free download but should you wish to support the developer there is also a donate version. Once installed and opened for the first time Font Changer will make a backup of your current fonts.

  5. Let’s get some fonts.

    Font changer doesn’t ship with any fonts so we need to give it some .ttf files to use. There’s a plethora of free font websites to be found online but in this case we will copy and paste font files from a computer to our android handset.

  6. Copy & Paste via USB

    For this tutorial we will transfer files via USB. Connect your handset to your computer and put it in USB storage mode. Go to the fonts folder on your computer and highlight some .ttf files for copying. Paste these files in the .fontchanger folder on your handset’s SD card.

  7. Choose a new font

    Go back into Font Changer, there will now be a list of your newly copied fonts with a small sample underneath each entry. Clicking on a font will bring up a menu where you can preview the font, apply it to your phone or cancel the operation.

  8. Reboot for that new look

    Once you’ve picked a font you’ll need to reboot your handset in order for the changes to take effect. The difference should be noticable the moment your homescreen boots up. Everything on the screen will sport the new font, the icons, the statusbar, even the widgets (in most cases).

  9. Things to bear in mind

    The default Android font is designed to be a perfect fit for every aspect of the UI, from the icons to the controls. Applying the wrong font can create undesired results. It could mess up your homescreen, render your widgets unreadable or make your keyboard unusable.

  10. Going back to defaults

    Should you tire of messing around with fonts it’s possible to restore everything back to its original state. Simply open the Font Changer app and access the settings by pressing ‘Menu’. Select ‘Remove Font Changer’, this will uninstall the app and restore your original fonts.