Apple adopts Nastaleeq font for Urdu in mobile devices

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Express Tribune

KARACHI: Nearly eight months after Apple introduced an Urdu keyboard for its mobile devices, it has gone ahead to incorporate the Nastaleeq font, widely used in the sub-continent.

As part of its iOS9 software upgrade for mobile devices, the beta version of which was unveiled by Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday, Nastaleeq has been adopted for its Urdu keyboard. The full version of the operating system is scheduled to be released in September for the public at large.

Mudassir Azeemi, a user experience designer, had initially brought the Urdu keyboard onto Apple devices using his Urdu Writer app. When Apple introduced the Urdu keyboard in October 2014 as part of an iOS8 update, he had campaigned for Nastaleeq’s incorporation along with the native Naskh script by wirting, emailing, Apple executives.

On Monday, right after Cook’s announcement, Azeemi got a pleasant surprise when he saw Nastaleeq in iOS9 beta. His campaign had paid off.

“I felt the rush of joy just like a kid who gets his long awaited gift on his birthday,” Azeemi wrote in a thank you post to Cook on Tuesday.

Speaking with The Express Tribune, Azeemi said that he had told fellow developers that if they wanted anything to be implemented on a wide scale, they have to campaign to the big manufacturers and developers such as Apple, Microsoft and Google.

“Apple does not do it first, but when it does, it does it in the best way.”

He added that Apple would not jump into something, but if there is something there with enough appeal, it would find what the issues are and then try to find a better way to do it. However, he noted that while Google had introduced Nastaleeq font, it was only on the web browser, which did not always have support on the myriad of devices that people use to access it.

Talking about the latest release, Azeemi said that it still contained some bugs and he had submitted the problems to Apple to have them resolved.

Campaign not yet over

Azeemi’s campaign to bring Nastaleeq font to every device is far from over.

Detailing his plans to spread the campaign further, Azeemi said he will be reaching out to other software and hardware companies as well.

“[I] will be writing to people at Google and Bill Gates – not Microsoft directly – to implement Nastaleeq across their systems.”

“If you want to gain market in India and Pakistan, you have to treat the language – Urdu – properly.”

Azeemi even used Allama Iqbal’s poetry in Urdu in his letter to thank Apple

عشق کی گرمی سے ہے معرکہء کائنات

علم مقام صفات، عشق تماشائے ذات

The universe is moved by the warmth of Love; Knowledge deals with the Attributes, Love is a vision of the Essence;

(Dr Allama Iqbal)

Express Tribune, “Apple adopts Nastaleeq font for Urdu in mobile devices,” in Express Tribune, June 10, 2015. Accessed on June 12, 2015, at:

The item above written by Express Tribune and published in Express Tribune on June 10, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on June 12, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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