How to Change Android System Font without Apps

Changing the default system font on an Android device should be the easiest thing in the world, yet on many devices it’s actually rather complicated. The issue stems from the fact that stock Android does not offer the ability to customize system font – this is something that some device manufacturers have built into their ROMs. Furthermore, while some device manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, LG, etc) offer a way to easily change font, it’s often through their theme store where you will need to purchase a new font you like.

Android users are likely familiar with the plethora of font apps out there – FontFix and iFont are two such examples. The drawbacks of these apps however is their potential to brick your device – while the developers of both of those apps have made them extremely user-friendly, accidents can happen, usually due to fonts not being given the correct system-permissions after installation.

What we’re going to do is change your system font through ADB, which is a bit more technically involved, but it significantly reduces risk to bricking your device.

Warning: You must only use TrueType font files (they will end in .ttf file extension).

Where to Find Fonts

Most of the font-changing apps pull fonts from online font directories. You can just as easily browse these directories on your PC and download the font files for pushing to your Android phone. Here are some of the best free font directories available:

Google Fonts
Font Squirrel
Urban Fonts


ADB (see “How to Install ADB on Windows”)
A rooted phone
[Optional] Auto Font Unbricker

How to Change Font on Android with ADB

Download the font you want to use to your PC desktop.

Place the font on your phone’s external storage via USB transfer. Rename it to Roboto-Regular.ttf – this is very important, because we need to trick the Android system.

Open an ADB terminal and type the following commands:
adb shell
mount –o remount,rw /system
cd /system/fonts

ADB is now inside the fonts directory of your Android device. Now, Android phones typically use Roboto font for the system, with variations of that font for menus, notification bar, etc. They are:


So what we’re going to do is first replace the Roboto-Regular font, but you can also use this guide for replacing the bold, italic, and bold-italic versions of Roboto with those same versions of your chosen font.

Before continuing, let’s make a backup of the Roboto-Regular font incase something goes wrong. Type into ADB terminal:
mv Roboto-Regular.TTF Roboto-Regular.ttf.bak

Now we’re ready to replace it with your custom font. Type into the ADB terminal:
cp /sdcard/Roboto-Regular.ttf /system/fonts

And now we need to set the file permissions for the font, which is extremely important – this is where a majority of device bricks occur when using font-replacing apps.

Type into the terminal:
chmod 644 Roboto-Regular.ttf

Now power on your Android device – you should see your new font being used for a majority of the system UI, such as the Settings menu, notifications bar, etc.

If Something Goes Wrong:

A lot of novice users panic when their device goes into boot-loop. Recovering from a boot-loop depends on what caused it, and luckily, recovering from a boot-loop caused by font tampering is as simple as restoring the original Roboto font to the Android system. Inside the ADB terminal, type:

Adb devices
mount –o remount,rw /system
cd /system/fonts
rm Roboto-Regular.ttf
mv Roboto-Regular.ttf.bak Roboto-Regular.ttf
chmod 644 Roboto-Regular.ttf

Now power on your device, and it should be back to normal. In the rare example where this doesn’t fix a boot-loop after changing your system font, there is a tool available for exactly this problem, called “Auto Font Unbricker”.

Just download the Auto Font Unbricker to your PC, connect your device via USB, launch the program and follow the on-screen instructions.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

How to Change Android System Font without Apps

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