How to Get Apple’s Hidden 30th Anniversary Macintosh Icon Font

Jan 24, 2014 - 18 Comments

Mac Icon font

If retro Macs built out out LEGO that double as iPad stands aren’t your thing, maybe you’ll enjoy this little Easter Egg of sorts that Apple seems to have left on their 30th Mac Anniversary website. It’s a free 62 character font of Mac icons, ranging from the original Macintosh 128k through the PowerBook lineup, 20th anniversary Mac, all the way to the modern iMac, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro models.

Installing the font is a piece of cake, done the same as any other font in OS X:

  1. Download the Mac Icon font directly from Apple.com (link to .ttf font file)
  2. Double-click the TrueType Font file (mac-icon-standard.ttf is the exact file name), then choose “Install Font”
  3. Install the Macintosh icon font

Once it’s installed you can find it usable from within the Font Book app titled “Mac Icon Standard”. You’ll need to either copy and paste the icons from Font Book into your app of choice, or drag and drop them into a usable field, but the font itself isn’t usable as a standard font by typing. You’ll also find it in the general font preview tool, but with the same limitations.

Here is a quick overview of each of the included font icons, though you’ll be able to use high resolution versions of each by installing it yourself in OS X:

Macintosh icon font from Apple

This font is used on Apple’s 30th anniversary celebration of the Macintosh site, whether or not it was intended to be downloadable by the rest of us isn’t known, so grab it while you can. An excellent find by @llsethj of 9to5mac on Twitter, cheers!

(Update: some users are reporting they aren’t able to use the font directly within many apps, this may be OS X version dependent, or a limitation on the font itself. If you’re having troubles, access the font and icons through the Font Book application either with Copy & Paste, or by dragging & dropping from the Font Book selector. Looking into this further…)

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

18 Comments

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  1. Peter says:

    Very well done line art drawings.

    It seems like you must access and use these through Font Book, trying to type with it as a normal font app didn’t work for me and the font reverts back to the default. Anyone else run into this?

    • Peter says:

      OK so the Greg Barbosa ‏guy who found it said “Apple is implementing Private Use Areas in these icons, which explains why regularly typing won’t make them come up”

      I can use it through the Font Book app, but not typing. No biggie.

    • Marty says:

      The utility PopChar by macility (Ergonis Software) allows one to visually select any of the mac sketches and place them into your typing. It works with TextEdit, Word, etc, but not Pages 5.1. Go figure… :-)

  2. jeff n says:

    what — no eMac?!

  3. Sinister says:

    So, I was able to get the font installed on both my machines, and it shows up in Font Book. However, it doesn’t come up as a choice for font in either Word or Pages. What am I missing?

  4. Michael says:

    Will this work on a PC?

  5. Udo Schmitz says:

    Guys, just use a design or page layout program with modern font support. There all the Macs will show up in the glyph table. I just tried InDesign successfully, but it I’m sure it will work as well in Illustrator, Quark or Corel apps.

  6. roy gordon says:

    wow! i dont see the greyscale PORTRAIT apple monitor circa 1989 – i just loved it, was perfect for letter size documents…

  7. Keith Martin says:

    I converted it with Fontographer so it uses a-z, A-Z, 0-9 and a few punctuation marks. It’s now easy to use in my Mac. I also converted it for my iPad using the iOS Font Maker (from thehelpful.com/iosfonts).
    Bazinga!

    • Paul says:

      OK I did the same, but how do you actually use the font once the profile has been accepted on iOS? There is no where to change fonts in Notes app or anywhere else :(

  8. Keith Martin says:

    The Notes app doesn’t let you pick fonts. :(
    Try Pages or Keynote, to start with. Oh, and try Quark’s new DesignPad 2.0 app, for DTP mockups. Let me know if that doesn’t work, as it’s okay for me here.

  9. Andrew says:

    I can’t figure out for the life of me what the icon on the leftmost side, 3 rows up, is? Is it an iPad/iPhone/old Mac? I really can’t tell. It’s the one (and the only one) with the Apple logo on it.

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