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What’s New In WordPress 5.6 Update: Awesome new features in WordPress 5.6

WordPress user? Please, be seated. There is a new WordPress update, version 5.6, that is just rolling out.

I know you may not know or care, but you probably have to know about this WordPress update

Why? Because WordPress 5.6 version is called to be the biggest and major update by WordPress.

And most importantly, you need to know the vulnerability you might face with this new WordPress 5.6 update.

So, let me explain it to you in a very clear and concise manner.

WordPress 5.6 “Simone”

WordPress 5.6 Update Simone
Image Source: WordPress.org

Instead of simply calling it a WordPress 5.6 update, it’s better to call it “Simone”— that’s what the official name is.

Wonder, Why Simone?

Simone is a famous and legendary performer and singer. She knocks down the hearts of the audience with her enthusiastic singing capabilities.

Some of her best hits are “Feeling Good”, “Young, Gifted and Black” and “Four Women”.

In short, her poetry voice thrills

And that what makes the tag line for this WordPress 5.6 update i.e. “Code is poetry”

So here, what WordPress does is ‘coding’, and what “we and you” have to do is “sharing our story”.

It’s that simple.

What’s New to WordPress 5.6 Simone Update?

What’s New to WordPress 5.6 Simone Update

Starting your blog is never easy before with this WordPress update.

But with this major update, you are not only getting the flexibility to layouts but also nourishing a creative style to depict your thoughts.

They introduced a new bunch of blocks to beautify your creativity without any hasty coding or installing plugins.

This is just a glimpse of what is coming in the future of WordPress updates. 

Sounds Interesting? But, you have to wait for that.

What you don’t have to wait is to hear about this edition of WordPress 5.6 Simone.

So, let’s discuss all of its features in a detailed way.

#1 New Default WordPress Theme 2021

When you install a fresh WordPress blog, you all have a blank canva with a “Hello World” post.

And honestly speaking, I get fed up with it. 

Surprisingly, it is a very light theme and best for the personal blog.

Moreover, in WordPress 5.6 update, the layout and the design are again given pretty simple with a new significant and classic feature called “Dark Mode Support.”

Yes, you heard right. A user can assess your website in dark mode.

They just have to click on the Dark mode button, at the bottom of the screen.

Dark Mode Support in WordPress default theme 2021

So, if you have an AMOLED screen, this mode will be going to be handy for you.

It saves battery as well as your eyes. 

By default, dark mode is ‘ON’. To make the option ‘off’, you have to follow the following pointers:

  1. Log in and go to the home page. 
  2. Click on the Customize button on the top bar.
  3. Click on “Color and Dark Mode”
  4. Now, check or uncheck it based on your preference.

That’s very basic? Yes, it does.

Did you know? About 99% of functional WordPress websites don’t use the default WordPress theme.

That’s hurtful for WordPress creators? I say not that much. Because there are other means where they are leveraging tons of money. 

#2 Automatic Updates For WordPress

Automatic Updates is one of the major features that was highlighted from the last bigger update i.e. WordPress 5.5.

With WordPress 5.5, automatic updates feature for the plugins and themes was introduced.

Now, WordPress 5.6 comes with an adjoining approach of “all-in-one”.

What does that mean?

It means, if you have a niche WordPress website and you don’t work daily on it, you can take a whole year’s vacation.

Because now, you not only auto-update your plugins and themes but WordPress itself.

Automatic Updates For WordPress 5.6 onwards

Technically, you don’t have to manually update your plugins, theme, and WordPress by yourself from now.

Therefore, you never end with updates until your domain name or hosting service expires.

That’s awesome? But here is the catch.

Majority of developers disable and recommend disabling the auto-updates for your WordPress.

Why Should Disable Auto-update WordPress Update Feature?

Because of the following reasons:

A. New Update Might Break your Website

This is what seen with the core update of WordPress 5.5.

More than a million of the website get breaks because WordPress removes the jQuery feature.

If you’re from them, I have quite an easy solution for you— install “Enable jQuery Migrate Helper” by the WordPress team.

And if your website doesn’t break, it’s good.

But this type of scenario can happen to any website.

That’s why you should disable auto-update for your website if you’re not good at coding.

B. Losing Data or Failing to Back up Your Website

This happens to me.

I rely only on “daily backups” by my hosting company. I am not complaining about them.

It’s totally my mistake.

I have a habit of uploading 2-3 posts together, then edit and update in the WordPress block editor.

After uploading, and publishing the content on the web, I got an update notification for WordPress (maybe 5.0 or 5.1 version, about 2 years earlier).

Without any second thought, I update it.

And my website’s sidebar and footer behave abnormally.

After that what the next foolish thing I did was, I went to Cpanel and replaced the files from the last day’s backup. 

Guess what happens? Bingo

All new posts got lost. And I had to do all the 3 posts again. I hate that day.

That’s why every time you update WordPress, make sure, you have taken the recent backup of your whole site using plugins such as updraft plus.

And this is also recommended by WordPress itself. Here is the screenshot, of what WordPress itself says.

If you agree with me, let me know in the comments.

How to Disable Auto- Update of WordPress?

To disable the auto-update feature of WordPress, just follow the same:

  1. Login to your admin area.
  2. Hover to the Dashboard and click on the update option.
  3. In the section of “Current Version: 5.6”, there is a blue line link stating, either “Switch to automatic updates for maintenance and security releases only.” or “Enable automatic updates for all new versions of WordPress.”
  4. If it says, “enables automatic update for all new versions of WordPress” then you don’t have to do anything. You’re good.
  5. But if it says “Switch to automatic update for maintenance and security releases only.” then you have to click on the link once to disable WordPress automatic update.

So, let’s move to the next major feature update by WordPress i.e. in the block editor.

#3 Numerous Changes to WordPress Block Editor

People prefer to work on the classic editor.

However personally, I am a big fan of the WordPress block editor.

It works like a charm. And the hard truth— Classic editor is far way gone. 

And if you’re also a fan of block editor, you will gonna love these new additional features.

A. More Customizable Options

There are a bunch of new sections added in the “Options Menu” (three-dot menu on left). 

a.  New Preference Tab

In the WordPress 5.6 update, there is a ‘Preference’ tab which replaces the ‘Option’ tab from WordPress 5.5. 

Furthermore, in the ‘preference’ option, there is a list of the new tabs with a simple check option to enable and disable certain functionality of your WordPress blog.

b. Informative Description of Preference Tab

In the updated version of WordPress 5.6, you not only get new features but with explanations.

Here, all the titles have their own informative descriptions. This seems to be handy for beginners.

c. New Appearance Section in Preference Box

A brand new section— Appearance tab— is added in the preference window. 

With this, you can do a bunch of things, listed as:

Reduce the Interface
For making compacts options and outlines in the toolbar.

Spotlight Mode
In the previous version, spotlight mode was there but here, developers screwed it in the appearance tab.

With spotlight mode, your block gets highlighted on which you’re currently working.

Display Button Labels
This is the new option. As stated, it can make your toolbar icons replaced by text, for better readability and understandability.

Use Theme Styles
This is a must needed update. I work on a page of 1200px width, which makes it a little bit difficult when using the side menu and bullet pointers (block editor covers the whole screen).

But now, I uncheck it and work with the default block styling of WordPress.

Moreover, it’s easy and lag-free.

d. New Information With Character Count

Just like Microsoft Word or wordcounter.com, here you can also check the character counts.

I know, most of us don’t need a character count, but when you write for the meta description, the character counts come in handy.

There is not much here to explain, so let’s move to the next section.

B. New Pattern Design 

“New pattern designs” what WordPress creators called. What I called is “a masterpiece” for creative people.

In the pattern section, there is a new pattern menu format listing: Button, column, gallery, header, and text.

These patterns go hand-in-hand for making your post more appealing to the users.

In addition, especially for the WordPress 2021 theme, there is another extra section with a beautiful patterned design.

At first, it looks cooler than other patterns.

But practically, the majority of users are not gonna need this on their blog. 

However, if you are an artist, building a portfolio, or designing a website to show your creative photography, then this is only designed for you.

Otherwise, I don’t recommend it. Because. there are other contenders such as Elementor or Thrive Architect that are far better than it.

Here is one more thing, I forgot to mention. You can only use the Twenty-Twenty One new pattern only in the 2021 theme.

C. Column Image Collage

With this new ability of WordPress 5.6 update, you can make a column image collage of selected images in your blog post.

This is how you can do this. 

  1. Upload the image in your blog post, one by one.
  2. While holding the shift key, select the image that you want to have in collage.
  3. Now, click on the Image button.
  4. In the drop-down menu, select the column option.
  5. You have an active collage with live editing capabilities.

Keynote: It looks good when you have uploaded the same dimension images. Otherwise, it doesn’t align properly and looks like junk.

#4 Rest API Authentication (Application Password)

With the updated WordPress 5.6 version, you get a developer feature of Rest API Authentication in the author’s tab.

With the help of this, you can authorize third-party applications such as plugins and themes directly from your website without manually signing in with your email credentials.

Here, you can also analyze which plugins or themes user’s data is connected to your web. 

But here comes the sad part. 

Wonderfence— WordPress Security blog, in their post, highlighted the risk of using Rest API authentication. You can check the post from here.

So, if you ask me, “Should I use Rest API Authentication for giving authorization to the third party app?

I would say, you should wait for the next updates.

With time, I and you get a clear image of whether we should use this API feature or not.

#5 WordPress 5.6 Updates Support PHP 8

With each update of the PHP version, you are getting higher performance improvement.

This also seems with PHP 8.

Concisely, PHP 8 can be a favorable deal for app developers and online app websites.

So, if your website has any online tools— you’re going to get optimal performance with PHP 8 and PHP 8 JIT versions.

I know, it looks a bit technical. And honestly, it does.

So, in short, you’re going to have better page loading speed and less computing time to process data by your server.

Wait, Wait, Wait! Don’t fall for it right now.

Why? Though your WordPress supports PHP 8, but there are a majority of themes and plugins that do support it, especially for those whose developers don’t update regularly.

So, right now, is not the best time to go with PHP 8.

#6 jQuery Addition

Sorry, I’m going to be a little bit of technical again. 

As I mentioned earlier, WordPress had removed the jQuery migrate script from their WordPress 5.5 update.

That alone had broke millions of websites which have some elements of jQuery script.

If you’re one of them, please solve this issue before updating your WordPress to the 5.6 version.

This is because this version has inbuilt jQuery Migrate v3.3.2 which will conflict with the “Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin” whose version is v1.4.1.

Moreover, according to the WordPress developer, it is the second step of the 3-step plan to remove jQuery from WordPress. 

Step 1: WordPress 5.5 (August 2020) remove the jQuery script.

Step 2: WordPress 5.6 (December 2020) added the latest jQuery script to WordPress.

Step 3: WordPress 5.7 (March 2021) going to completely remove the jQuery script.

So, if you have a website that uses jQuery script, it is the right time to solve your co-dependency on jQuery scripts.

Otherwise, the next update could be a nightmare for you.

Final Thoughts on WordPress 5.6 Simone Updates

With every incremental decimal number in the WordPress version, this CMS is constantly evolving and improving. That’s makes it smarter by balancing performance and optimization.

Moreover, this is one of the greatest updates by WordPress that comes with a new default theme, auto-WordPress update, dark mode, and building blocks (in block editor). 

With it, you are getting optimal performance with a nicer and cleaner web design.

That’s all, with this post on “WordPress 5.6 Simone Update“. But, the following are some questions that the user asks.

Frequently Asked Question

1. Is it safe to update WordPress to version 5.6?

Ans. Undoubtedly, Yes. But if your WordPress blog has a lot of jQuery script then it could break your website. 

2. How do I update the older version of WordPress to version 5.6?

Ans. You first have to log in to your WordPress dashboard. In the update column, you have a notification for a WordPress update. Click on update now, and that’s done.

3. What should I do before updating WordPress to the latest version?

Ans. You should take a website backup. And another thing, check the compatibility factor i.e. for WordPress 5.6 is the jQuery plugin.

I have the last question for you. Did this post help you? Please, let me know in the comment.

Your comments are what I need most to keep writing this type of stuff for you. 

Editorial Staff at WP Mesh is a Team of Experts led by Bharat Makwana, We also manage other popular sites like Veewom, Infinitygyan and NaukriRadar.

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