Common Font activation issues in Big Sur
Big Sur (macOS 11) uses and activates several common fonts (or Postscript Font names) such as Helvetica, Helvetica Neue, Arial, Courier, Times New Roman and more. This can create several issues on how Apple and font management tools handle these fonts.
Because Apple includes and activates specific versions of Helvetica and other common fonts as active and locked in their system fonts upon starting the computer, does not allow you to deactivate or move/remove them. This also includes the use of such tools as FontBook or any other font management tools to deactivate duplicate fonts that reside in the system fonts folders so you may use an alternative font.
Below is an example of fonts that are locked and active fonts (use the link for the full list). If you have fonts in your font manager with the same name, you will be unable to activate and use them. This means you will need to use the versions of Helvetica supplied from Apple if necessary in any of your projects moving forward.
This list includes the following Helvetica Fonts:
- Helvetica Bold
- Helvetica Bold Oblique
- Helvetica Light
- Helvetica Light Oblique
- Helvetica Neue (multiple faces)
For a full list of fonts activated by Big Sur, see this article: Fonts included with macOS Big Sur
Extensis and others have provided ways over the last several years on how to minimize these system font conflicts to keep these system font activations to a minimum. For more on information about this, please download our Mac OS Font Management Best Practices guide from Suitcase Fusion Support.
What can you do now?
At this time, we suggest using another version or face not managed by the Mac operating system. Choosing a different Postscript Name that is not seen in the list/link above will remove the need for these fonts being used in a future project.
We are also advising our customers to contact Apple. They are the ones that will be able to change and allow the use of variant fonts, or for our and their customers to disable or manage these fonts in the future.