If you find yourself with a Mac where fonts are misbehaving, it’s easy to restore them to their default state using macOS’s built-in Font Book app. Here’s how to do it.

What Does Restoring Fonts Do?

Since system fonts cannot be uninstalled on a Mac, restoring fonts does not install anything, as you might expect. Instead, it actually uninstalls all the “nonstandard” fonts that you have installed on your system. By “nonstandard,” Apple means any font that didn’t ship with macOS by default.

The Mac Font Book window in Big Sur.

Once those have been uninstalled by the Font Book app, you’ll find your non-standard fonts located in either /Library/Fonts (Removed) or ~/Library/Fonts (Removed) . They can be reinstalled from that location later, if necessary.

RELATED: How to Install, Remove, and Manage Fonts on Windows, Mac, and Linux

How to Restore Standard Fonts on a Mac

It’s easy to restore your Mac’s fonts to their default state. First, open Font Book, a special utility app that is usually located in ~\Applications\Other . If you can’t find it, press Command+Space, type “Font Book,” then hit Return.

In Mac Spotlight Search, type "Font Book" and hit Return.

When Font Book opens, click the “File” menu at the top of the screen and select “Restore Standard Fonts” from the menu that appears.

Next, you’ll see a warning explaining that nothing will be deleted, but that your nonstandard fonts will be moved to a new folder. Click “Proceed.”

When the process is complete, press “OK.” Your fonts have been restored to their standard, factory default state. You can find the removed fonts in either /Library/Fonts (Removed) or ~/Library/Fonts (Removed) . Happy typing!

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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