How to bring the bold fonts back to iOS 7

One of the many visual changes made in iOS 7 over that which came before it is to the font. Slimmer, lighter, and altogether more delicate, there are as many who hate it as there are who love it. For many, a legitimate concern is that the new font is more difficult to read. It doesn't matter how nice it may look if you're strugging to read what's written. Fortunately, a little of the pre-iOS 7 font can be brought back to life. Here's how.

  1. The first thing you need to do is open up the settings app.
  2. Then you're wanting General > Accessibility
  3. About half way down you'll find the options for on-screen text. If you wish, you're able to increase the physical size of the font, but the one we're looking for here is just below this, labelled "Bold Text."

Toggling this on will prompt a confirmation message that your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch will need to restart to apply. If you're happy, hit continue, wait for things to reboot and you'll notice the difference immediately.

The app labels on the homescreen now look a lot closer to the old-look font from iOS 6, and this is repeated throughout apps and settings menus on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. That's all there is to it. Give it a go, and do tell us if it makes your iOS 7 experience a little better!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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Reader comments

How to bring the bold fonts back to iOS 7

33 Comments

Now we just need a way to substitute these nearly invisible thin outlined light blue icons with solid icons.
Jobs is rolling over ...iOS 7 = great function + HORRIBLE FORM!!!!!

this might actually convice me to cross over....maybe. anyone have screenshots of how they have modified ios7 to look more old school?

I was going to ask Richard if he could also give us a side by side comparison, my new 5S should be coming today according to the tracking #. I would like to check it out side by side to see what I might like the best.
Thanks

Hero image at the top. iPad and White phone are bold, black phone is the standard iOS 7. Will see if I can insert some screengrabs :)

Thanks, looks good.

I personally like the thin, but had a few people complaining Wednesday. I will send them this tip!

Thanks for posting the comparison. In my opinion it's not enough of a difference to change so I'll leave my setting as is.

The font for the keypad in the phone app is too light. The numbers and corresponding letters are barely legible even with the bold font. I think the light gray color on all that whitespace is causing that. There's also too much white space in the messaging app.

You can go into accessibility and change the "contrast". That may help. NOT the regular contrast, but the setting in accessibility.

Sent from the iMore App

I have it on. The keypad is just a blank piece of paper with some marks on there. Maybe I'm used to the older version. That was easier on the eyes. I wish we could choose different themes.

Sent from the iMore App

I agree. I have pretty poor eyesight even with glasses i endure some eyestrain and i found it difficult to use. In fact it's one of the main reason i didn't upgrade. I had the beta for about two weeks and the light background and light thin texts really caused eyestrain for me. Sort of like how iBooks allows you to yellow all the pages to prevent eyestrain, well ios7 made me feel like using iBooks with a white background. For most people it's not an issue i'm sure but for me it became very uncomfortable very quickly. I guess that's probably why my desktop wallpaper, iphone wallpaper are all super dark, why i dug the look of ios 6 because it wasn't as light. Anyways, time for new glasses anyways.

I also agree Derrick. I am also in need of glasses to read. I was hesitant to upgrade my 4S (to say the least) without an option of going back to the display of OS6. After seeing OS7 on my daughter's phone, I thought to myself "WHEW!" As for the bold option, thanks for this tip Richard. I have gone as far as to get a stronger prescription reading glass recently in order to make out some of my the embedded images/drawings in my mails, only to find out part of the problem was pixilation and the rest is age. LoL The darker background seems to accentuate some of the "brightness" of the icons ... Is there a way to make them a bit more subtle by altering the contrast? I am hoping to have my 5S by the end of the first week in October, and am more than curious how to alter the screen to be more reminiscent of OS6 without being labeled a troll. After that, I'm going to have to take ndogdrumz's advice and wait for the jailbreak.

Um... they're fine. Really, they are. The numbers are black on white and fairly large. The letters are a bit small but... eh.

I don't mean this to be, well, mean but if you find those hard to read (and you're seeing this which is what I see: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9041343/phonescreen.PNG ) then have your vision checked. I'm not being flip, check to see if there's something wrong.

I may be in the minority here, but I tried this, and actually went back to the lighter font. Guess that's why there's both chocolate and vanilla ice cream!

A very good tip for those who wear glasses or contacts to read or just want to be able to see things better and not so thinned out in font.

I think Apple has been banking on most people identifying their apps by the icon and the thin text is more of a supporting actor than the star.
Uh... I guess I'm ok with it. I am bothered by the stark appearance of the dock and the folders than the thin text.
It's good to know that this option exists. Who knows, after a month or so of using iOS 7 I might need the bolder font style! xD

Sent from the iMore App

That's an interesting comment considering in many other areas they went away from symbols and towards texts like in the music player. I honestly don't know what apple is thinking lol. so who knows. personally i use the icons more. That said i have bad eyes so i find most of ios 7 hard to read and too white for me. but that's just me. I wish there were a lot more options to have skins or change the colors, like change all the white to grey or all the white fonts to black or whatever works best from a readability standpoint. i'm no designer so i don't have the answers.

The bold helps most things but this keyboard is ridiculous. I had to set my triple click option to invert colors so that I can use the keyboard to type emails and messages. The classic keyboard still lives as I have seen it appear in a few apps that haven't been updated in a while so they should let us choose to use it throughout the OS. At the very least allow the bold option to bold the keyboard.

I love the fonts on iOS 7 and don't have a problem reading on my iPhone or iPad (with or without my reading glasses). It's a great tip and by the comments, I definitely seem to be in the minority!

Sent from the iMore App

I sure need my glasses a lot more with iOS7! As this seems to be a general problem I hope Apple will soon alleviate things in the accessibility section with more options. The bold fonts alone don't cut it.

Chalk me up as another who doesn't like the super thin, eye-straining font. The bold option in Accessibility does not help with the keyboard as that seems to change very little, if at all. Bolding makes all text (such as in Notes) seem like shouting, and that has its own readability issues.

I think what is required is a slightly heavier font. I do like the darker keyboard for iPhone search. Much easier on the eyeballs. I wish there was an option to use that instead.

I liked the old versions better. The elegant font is great for those with good vision. For me it is too skinny for good eye hand coordination. There is SO much white brightness and not enough control even with bold switched on and contrast as well. By inverting colors in accessibility everything sits better on the page but then when you come to use your camera all the colors are also opposite! Have tried all the tips and have a good pair of glasses. Feel like iOS 6 was close to perfect for me and with iOS 7 am spending a lot of time trying to fix things. It is really smart & chic but because of the added eye strain with iOS 7 I will sadly be having to use my iPhone much less .....:(

I also paid for and dowloaded 2 new keyboard apps from the app store.
Fancy colors - but nothing to write home about!!!

What is completely NOT cool is that we paid for a certain "look" & now it's gone.
Why does apple NOT get that?!?
It'd b SO easy to include an option for this in the new os!

The bold feature helps...slightly....but what about the yellow text in the notes app? Yellow type on a white background is impossible to read. Can that be changed? Why do they always think they have to change things that work well. I'm very disappointed with ios7. Maybe it's time for a droid.

I am new to Apple having just bought the Ipad retina model. I am extremely disappointed with the readability of certain documents, particularly the online Daily Mail as the text is so thin and washed out. I had tried changing to bold text in settings, but could not tell any difference. I tried reading the same article on my Samsung Galaxy smart phone and despite the screen being a lot smaller it was way more readable. I just bought the Samsung tab 3 8", and opened up the same text in all three at the same time for comparison. Both android devices were way superior in readability to Ipad. After reading all the great things about Apple I am both surprised and disappointed. Obviously I shall be returning the Ipad. The Samsung is also nearly half it's price for a far superior display.

I hate hate hate hate that when somebody calls me
I get two circles red and green just like stupid android phones
I hate android phones I need my swipe to unlock thingy back
APPLE what tha fuck is goin on over there?
Never touch the swipe to unlock bar
That's y'all signature look halloooooooo wtf
I'm so pissed right now
I can't even use my phone right now
I liked my swipe to unlock bar the way it is
Fuuuuck