Thursday, July 19, 2012

The evolution of Android Arabic support

Now that full Arabic support has finally been added to the latest version of Android (4.1, nicknamed Jelly Bean), here are some details as to what extent Arabic has been supported in previous versions:

up to and including Android 2.1:

No Arabic support whatsoever. Any attempt to show Arabic text will result in rectangular boxes instead of characters. Applications that wish to support Arabic must include their own Arabic font. There is no shaping support, meaning letters will not connect to each other, but this can be provided by a third-party library. In addition, the diacritics/harakat will not be properly placed and will often overlap, making them difficult to read.

Android 2.2 - Android 2.3:

In Android 2.2, an Arabic font was added (DroidSansArabic), which is the default Arabic font in Android until Android 4.0. still no shaping or diacritic support.

Android 3

With Android 3.0, shaping support is finally added, so now the Arabic letters will connect without the aid of a third-party library. Still no diacritic support.

Android 4.0

The default Arabic font is changed to Droid Naskh, and another Arabic font is added to replace DroidSansArabic: Droid Kufi. Still no diacritic support.

Android 4.1

Finally, full Arabic support, including support for diacritic placement!


  1. My gadget is adroid 4.1.2, but arabic text still detached on all apps like
    , reader or browser.FYI,: i don't want to rooted mine, for any reason

  2. That's odd. It sounds like the manufacturer either removed the relevant code for supporting Arabic (maybe to save space) or overwrote it with their own code that doesn't handle the Arabic. Android definitely supports Arabic in version 4.1, and attached characters since version 3. Out of curiosity, what device do you have?

  3. Hello,
    Do you know how to type the harakat in the arabic keyboard on Android 4.2?

    1. Here you go: