WordPress 4.6 Released – Guide to new Features and Updates

WordPress 4.6 - New Version Release

WordPress has just released another major version – WordPress 4.6 with several new features and updates in the back end of the software.

The latest version of the WordPress software was made available as per the planned schedule of the development team to release it on August 16, 2016.

WordPress 4.6 is named in the honour of Jazz baritone saxophonist Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III, following the tradition of naming releases after Jazz musicians.

WordPress 4.6 Pepper Released

Dominik Schilling lead the release of WordPress 4.6, backed up by Garth Mortensen as Release Deputy. The version also includes the work of 272 contributors around the world.

WordPress 4.6 is already available in 50 different languages. Here’s the video introducing WordPress 4.6 from the WordPress team.

The above introductory video of WordPress 4.6 has been captioned into 43 languages by the WordPress community of translators.

You can follow along to learn how to update to the latest version of WordPress and a detailed guide to the new features and updates in the latest version.

Updating to WordPress 4.6

You should see a notification under your updates for the availability of the latest version of WordPress.

From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Updates and click on Update Now to start the update process.

WordPress 4.6 Update Screen

WordPress will automatically download and update your software to the latest version of 4.6. You should see a welcome screen for WordPress 4.6 once the update process is complete.

Welcome to WordPress 4.6 Screenshot

New Features in WordPress 4.6

The highlights of the latest update for general WordPress users include;

  • Streamlined Updates for WordPress Themes and Plugins
  • Native Fonts for WordPress Admin Dashboard
  • Editor Improvements including Inline Link Checker and Content Recovery

Let’s look at the major updates of WordPress 4.6 in details along with screenshots, in the rest of this article.

Streamlined Updates of WordPress Themes and Plugins

With shiny updates enabled for both WordPress themes and plugins, you can now enjoy a better and simplified experience of updating themes and plugin.

Streamlined Updates in WordPress 4.6

You will stay on the same page when you update, install, or delete your plugins and themes inside WordPress admin area. All such shiny updates have been made possible via use of AJAX.

In addition to installing, updating, and deleting the plugins, one significant change you can quickly notice is the search screen for plugins which is also powered by AJAX.

Now, when you start typing in the search plugins box, the plugins start appearing below without having to reload the page and wait for it.

Screenshots for shiny updates

Here's how the existing plugin install process looked in WordPress.

Existing plugin install process WordPress 4.5

Here's how the Plugin install process with Shiny Updates activated.

Plugin install process with Shiny Updates activated WordPress 4.6Plugin install process with Shiny Updates activated WordPress 4.6

Native Fonts in WordPress Dashboard

You will notice this change as soon as you have updated to the latest version of WordPress 4.6. The WordPress admin dashboard now uses native fonts from your device.

Native Fonts WordPress 4.6

Using your operating system’s UI font for all text in the WordPress user interface makes your admin area load faster and provides you with a feel of a native application.

WordPress started using Open Sans font with Version 3.8 to maintain a consistent experience across multiple devices, but the technology and background conditions have changed over time, and the reasons for doing so are no longer relevant.

Here's the list of font stack that will be used on different platforms and operating systems.

  • -apple-system for Safari (iOS & macOS) and Firefox macOS
  • BlinkMacSystemFont for Chrome macOS
  • Segoe UI for Windows
  • Roboto for Android and Chrome OS
  • Oxygen-Sans for KDE
  • Ubuntu for Ubuntu
  • Cantarell for GNOME
  • Helvetica Neue for versions of macOS prior to 10.11
  • sans-serif, the standard fallback

See the change of fonts in this interactive pen.


WordPress Import Screen Redesign

The import screen has been redesigned under WordPress 4.6 and looks well polished.

This is one of the most used features by beginners moving to WordPress from other platforms. The newly overhauled design that makes easier to understand the options should impress such WordPress beginners.

Besides making it easier to install and run an importer, the overhaul has also improved the accessibility of the screen and options.

Here’s what the newly redesigned import screen looks like;

New Import Screen in WordPress 4.6

WordPress Editor Improvements

WordPress 4.6 has received two major improvements in the editor, i) Improved and more reliable recovery mode and ii) smart detection of broken URLs.

Inline Link Checker

WordPress 4.6 now automatically detects broken URLs while you insert them in the editor.

Inline Link Checker WordPress 4.6

Your broken links will be highlighted similar to misspellings highlights making it easier for you to identify and update such links.

Reliable Content Recovery

WordPress, previously saved your content in case of any problem with your internet connection when using the WordPress editor, but this wasn't intuitive.

With WordPress 4.6, the content recovery process has been improved to become more reliable and easier.

Content Recovery WordPress 4.6

WordPress now saves your content locally to the browser as you type and you should see a notice saying “The backup of this post in your browser is different from the version below” in cases of problems with your connection. You will see an updated button that lets you restore the backup version.

Emoji Updates

Emoji Support for WordPress has been updated and now you use all of the latest Unicode version 9.0 emoji characters.

Here’s a list of the new emoji characters under Unicode V9.0 for 2016.

Updated Emojis in WordPress 4.6

Developer Specific Updates in WordPress 4.6

Besides several updates for general users, there are many developers’ specific under the hood updates in WordPress 4.6.

Improved WordPress Translations

If you have to deal with translations for WordPress themes and plugins, you will find significant improvements in WordPress 4.6.

WordPress has improved the way in which translations load for WordPress officially hosted plugins and themes that use language packs via WordPress.org’s translation platform.

With the latest update, WordPress will automatically scan the community translation directory for available translations and instantly load the updates. WordPress calls this just-in-time loading for translations!

In addition, WordPress has also localised jQuery UI date picker. WordPress Themes and plugins using jQuery UI date picker had to use the language files from the jQuery UI project.

With WordPress 4.6 you can now enqueue the default date picker which will use the built-in defaults from WordPress. Find more information about updates on translations here.

Resource Hints

WordPress 4.6 automatically adds resource hints for your styles and scripts making your sites load faster.

WordPress now has a simple API to register and use resource hints, a new W3C specification that assists the browser to decide which resources to fetch and preprocess for better page performance.

More about Resource Hints in WordPress 4.6 on this page.

HTTP API internal changes – Robust Requests

The HTTP API (wp_remote_request() and family) have undergone internal changes to use the open-source independent Requests library instead of using specific WordPress-specific HTTP library.

Such robust requests help to improve the HTTP standard support and in adding case-insensitive headers, parallel HTTP requests, and support for Internationalized Domain Names.

Read more about HTTP API internal changes on this page.

WP_Term_Query and WP_Post_Type

A new class WP_Term_Query adds flexibility to query term information.

WP_Term_Query is modelled on existing query classes and provides a more consistent structure for generating term queries. It brings parity between taxonomy term queries and WordPress's other content type queries.

Similarly, a new object WP_Post_Type object makes interacting with post types more predictable.

New WP_Post_Type class provides methods to handle post type supports, rewrite rules, meta boxes, hooks, and taxonomies. This changes the global $wp_post_types to an array of WP_Post_Type objects.

Meta Registration API

Meta Registration API has been expanded in WordPress 4.6 to support types, descriptions, and REST API visibility. Read more about enhancing register_meta() here.

JavaScript Library Updates

External Libraries were updated to the latest versions. Masonry 3.3.2, imagesLoaded 3.2.0, MediaElement.js 2.22.0, TinyMCE 4.4.1, and Backbone.js 1.3.3 are now bundled in WordPress 4.6.

More on external libraries update.

Customizer APIs for Setting Validation and Notifications

WordPress 4.6 includes new APIs related to validation of Customizer setting values. Follow this post for detailed information on API Changes.

Faster Multisite with WordPress 4.6

The addition of new multisite classes helps craft advanced queries with less effort making Multisite website even faster with WordPress 4.6.

Additional Multisite classes

WordPress 4.6 introduces new Multisite classes WP_Site_Query and WP_Network_Query as well as their companion functions, get_sites() and get_networks().

WP_Site_Query – New WP_Site_Query class to query sites with lazy loading for details.

WP_Network_Query – New WP_Network_Query class to query networks with lazy loading for details.

Follow this post on core blog for detailed Multisite focused changes in 4.6.

Final Thoughts on WordPress 4.6

Similar to the previous major update of WordPress 4.5, the 4.6 version of the software doesn’t introduce any major update and only adds on to incremental improvements.

I really like the further improvements to shiny updates of themes and plugins. Besides, with native fonts, I am suddenly finding my WordPress dashboard clean and elegant.

WordPress will release one more major update in 2016. The release of next version WordPress 4.7 will be lead by Helen Hou-Sandí and is scheduled to release in December 2016. Matt Mullenweg was originally on the list to lead the release but he later announced of stepping down due to some unexpected constraints.

What do you think of the updates in WordPress 4.6? Let me know your favourite new feature in the comments below.

Share the post with others and help them upgrade to the latest version of WordPress 4.6 if they haven't done already.

Pradeep Singh

Pradeep Singh

Pradeep Singh is the founder and your host here at WPism. He is an entrepreneur and blogger living his startup life based in London and Cambridge. Follow him on Twitter or like his page on Facebook.
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4 Responses

  1. Hi –

    Hope you can point me in the right direction, perhaps.

    I updated WordPress to 4.6 yesterday.

    Everything looked OK until I went to insert a few new photos into a post I’m working on.

    1. I can no longer resize them (I used to be able to pull the image at the corners into a larger or smaller size)

    2. The image plops in within its already-determined size

    3. When I “save” the post in order to “preview” it, the image disappears!

    I’ve also tried going back into old posts that have either:

    a) already been long-saved OR
    b) already been published… and I cannot edit the photos to resize them either – like I used to be able to (e.g. pulling the image at the corners to enlarge, shrink, etc.)

    Is this just a new update to WordPress’ handling of media files that happened with the latest update?

    And if so, why would they disappear when I go to “save” and then “preview?”

    Note that I’m not savvy in code or anything, so the most simplistic answer is best. Thanks for your advisement, if able.

  2. Great updates! I have updated more than 25 WordPress sites/blogs, no problem so far. Thanks to WP community who updated this version.

  3. after update wp to 4.6 my site not loading or not even opening. i think their is some problem in server or wp. need help…

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