What are The New Features and Improvements in WordPress 5.6?

WordPress 5.6

Latest WordPress updated version has been released in December 2020. It has some awesome features and improvements. Let’s see what’s new in WordPress 5.6

The latest version of WordPress: WordPress 5.6

You may already know that WordPress is the most popular CMS or Content Management System in today’s internet world. Its been almost 2 decades that WordPress is leading in the market. Many updates have been brought out since then to add new features and improve quality. The last major release of WordPress came in December 2020. This latest version of WordPress is packed with some awesome features and improvements. In this article, we will see what’s new in WordPress 5.6.

What’s New in WordPress 5.6 “Simone”, the latest major WordPress updated version.

Like old releases, this one also includes several versions of the Block Editor improving the editing experience for WP users who do not have the Gutenberg plugin installed and updated on their sites. Some new features like the new default Twenty Twenty-One theme, auto-updates for major releases, better support for PHP 8.0, Application Passwords for REST API Authentication, etc.

Have been added to the WordPress core. Not to forget- accessibility improvements, UI enhancements, bug fixes, and many more changes for developers. We are excited to explain what’s new in WordPress 5.6 to you.

As it is a major release, you’ll have to manually initiate the update of WordPress 5.6 unless you are on a managed WordPress hosting service.

Note: Don’t forget to set backups for your WordPress website before initiating any updates.

New Default WordPress Theme: Twenty Twenty-One

WordPress usually releases a new default theme every year and as this update was released just before the year 2021, so it is named after this year. This default theme is one of the major new features of WordPress 5.6. Even if you are not into default themes, this one is worth having a look at.

Twenty Twenty-one default theme has a canvas for the WP block editor and also site editing features. The new theme is built for the block editor and contains a brand-new block pattern that you won’t find anywhere else. You can try different layouts in just a second and make your work shine with its eye-catchy, yet timeless design.

2021 default theme avails you with a range of pre-selected AAA contract standard color palates in pastel. You can also choose your background color and the theme will choose accessibility-conscious text colors automatically for you! It also ships with colors for the dark mode. You can simply enable it by customizing the theme. Isn’t it amazing? However, you can also choose colors on your own from the color picker.

WordPress Twenty Twenty-one theme also kept accessibility at the heart of your site to help you meet the highest level of international accessibility standards. It conforms to the WP accessibility-ready guidelines and addresses several more specialized standards from the website content accessibility guidelines 2.1 at level AAA.

Update Major WordPress Releases automatically:

In early 2020 WordPress already made it easier to automatically update specific WordPress plugins with the WordPress 5.5 version. But the latest update of WordPress made it even easier by adding the option to turn on automatic updates for major WP releases.

How to turn on Auto updates for WordPress 5.6?

All you have to do is, go to the Dashboard area, click the updates page inside the WordPress admin area and “enable automatic updates for all new versions of WordPress”.

It is up to you if you want to enable this feature or not. If you change your mind anytime then you can simply turn it off in the same process.  However, if you use a managed WordPress hosting, then they will automatically update WordPress for you. WordPress will send notifications for auto-updates. And don’t forget to set backups. You can use WordPress backup plugins for it. 

Block Editor Improvements:

The rapid improvement of the WordPress block editor (Gutenberg) also continues in 5.6 adding seven of the latest versions of the Gutenberg plugin (8.6 through 9.2) into the WP core. The major mentionable changes include,

Video position control for the cover block: In the previous version, the cover block used to show only position controls for images. But, in WordPress 5.6, the cover block lets you set a video position inside the cover block.

Improved layout flexibility: Adds more tools to help you edit your layout with or without code. Single column blocks, designs using mixed widths and columns, full-width headers will make your work easier.

Organized and Categorised patterns: The category switcher under the ‘Add new block’ column makes it even easier for you to find and use the patterns you need. You can also see the patterns available with their theme and differentiate between them from the default patterns.

Improved block search for keyword variation: Now developers can store keyword variations with the help of the block editor which may help users to find a block. Now users can easily discover blocks added by block library or third-party plugins.

Information Panel Characters: Now characters with words, paragraphs, and blocks used in your content, will be shown in the information panel.

Colour Support for the lists Block:

Social icon: Users can choose to open all links in the block in a new window, and A Grey new style for the social icon button. 

Preferences: The default block editor has a setting panel where you can set up the editor to your choice, which is now called ‘Preferences’ instead of ‘Options’. 

Video Subtitle Support: Video blocks will support video subtitles. Etc.

Improved Support for PHP 8:

You may already know that WordPress is written mainly with PHP programming language. PHP 8.0 came with a lot of new features and optimizations. So, it’s a big deal for developers to add support for PHP 8, the latest version of programming language to WordPress. They worked hard to recognize and fix any known compatibility issues with PHP 8. WordPress 5.6 is considered beta compatible with PHP 8. Still, there are many works to do to make WordPress fully compatible with PHP 8. 

Application Passwords:

Application Passwords for REST API Authentication is a new feature in WordPress 5.6. Developers can communicate with a website outside the WordPress installation with the help of REST API in WordPress. To ensure safety, WordPress 5.6 used cookies and nonce keys to ensure that only legitimate users can access the API.

24-characters long passwords consisting of upper-case, lower-case, numeric characters and can be generated both manually and through the REST API. This new feature of WordPress 5.6 made managing external authentication easier. 

Users can also use application passwords in WordPress 5.6. Users can give apps access to their website and manage it by selecting Users on the profile page.

Other Changes in WordPress 5.6

To discuss what’s new in WordPress 5.6, we have to take a lot of time as there are tons of updates and bug fixes in WordPress 5.6. Here are some more important changes:

  1. In previous WordPress versions, you could use actions like save_post to run custom code after a post was published. But in the new version of WordPress, a new action wp_after_insert_post is available that allows theme and plugin developers to run custom code after a post after a post and its terms and metadata have been updated.
  1. Typecasting functions are removed from Core and replaced with direct typecasting.
  1. WP 5.6 is continuing the second phase of the three-step plan of upgrading the core jQuery bundled with WP. Users will still have to run the update test plugin in-order to check their sites for errors ahead of time. Etc. Till here we tried to discuss what’s new in WordPress 5.6.

Summery and Cautions:

There are tons of new features and changes in WordPress 5.6. This update can make your work easy and add extra functions to your website. The process of upgrading to new technologies is never-ending.

A newer version of WordPress may come soon that may overtake this one’s features and add more amazing functions. We are always excited to explore and share the features of the latest web technologies with you. But make sure that you have your backups fixed, before initiating any update.

What’s new in WordPress 5.6.1? 

WordPress 5.6.1 has already been released to the public. This maintenance release fixed 20 bugs and 7 issues on the block editor.

How to update your old WordPress version to WordPress 5.6.1?

You can download WordPress 5.6.1 directly or visit your WordPress admin dashboard and visit the updates page. If you have background auto-updates, then maybe they have already started the updating process.

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In this article on “What’s new in WordPress 5.6,” we have discussed the new things in WP 5.6 and changes. We hope you’ve got to know something new from this article. Thank you for reading this far.