An open letter to Tim Cook, and Jonathan Ive

Mudassir Azeemi
4 min readOct 9, 2014

iOS 8, Urdu Lovers, and Nastaleeq Typeface

Dear Mr. Tim Cook & Sir Jonathan Ive,

Thank you for keeping up with the amazing bits from Apple.

Purpose of this email is to point you toward an issue that we the Urdu speakers, lovers around the world are having at the moment with iOS, Mac OS, and Urdu default typeface.

See the following image left-side image tells the story of the current situation with the iOS 8 and the right-side image tells the story of what we are looking forward for, after that image some bit of background in bit detail:

The difference between Naskh and Nastaleeq visualized

Urdu language’s beauty lies in the typeface, at the moment when we type in Urdu on iOS 8 it displays the font in the Naskh Typeface, a common typeface for any language that derives from Arabic Unicode. However, problem is it don’t show the quality of the writing and the basics.

My app Urdu Writer was serving that purpose since 2011, but introduction of Urdu Keyboard system wide is the superb addition. Thank you for bringing the Urdu Keyboard to the iOS 8. We love Urdu Language, and that was the reason I came up with that app in 2011, since then Urdu Writer has got immense popularity 165,000+ downloads, and 500+ awesome reviews worldwide and till today we served 4 million sessions!

However, now the only hurdle for us is to bring typeface that truly represent the language, and every language when it is written, shines when using the typeface which it truly presented in real world.

We the Urdu speakers having trouble with the Naskh Typeface utilized for the Urdu. It is not clear, and really not representing the true spirit of the Urdu language. Ali Eteraz wrote an article about that bit in detail, and I responded by writing the following response to his article where I talked in detail that it is super easy for any big organization to implement the typeface as needed and just purely map it to the Urdu unicode, and render it properly whenever we see any Urdu unicode text!

Simple and elegant solution can be done as follow, however only few tinkerer will do as follow:

1. Download an app known as Phonto (
2. Download the font on your Mac
3. Unzip the file, and then send the two .ttf file to your iPhone via email OR you can install the font via iTunes specific to the app
4. Via Email to iPhone
6. Open the ttf files in to the Phonto app.

Now, if you open the app and start using that font inside the app it will display the the text as in Nastleeq. What we want is, we need this system wide. Even when we are typing in to a text box for our SMS or when we are seeing the Urdu status updates of our friends on Facebook and on Twitter.

Let me end the letter on the following note as I read what you recently wrote on Steve Job’s Death Anniversary “Steve’s life’s work produced the canvas on which artists now create masterpieces.”. Marvelous encapsulation! We the Urdu lovers would like to have a brush related to our art and culture and we know only Apple has that courage to do so and no one else. That’s what I believe.

Take Care


Following is the letter I sent them via snail-mail, I shortened the above captioned letter. You can see the PDF here:

Mail, ready to go!
Snail mailed letter

Some helpful links:

How to install Nastleeq on your iDevices running iOS 8: Love Story (bit broken)

From Urdu Writer to iOS8 Urdu Keyboard

The Revival of the Urdu Script

The Death of the Urdu Script

Meaning of the verse in the image:
With a tranquil heart create means of attaining your aims
Because the whirlpool’s knot is only up to the water’s flow

Mudassir Azeemi

Finding patterns in chaos. Pioneer of Urdu language on Apple devices! UX/UI Instructor | Speaker | Design Governance Head at Ring Central | Curious