Controlling Plugin and Theme auto-update email notifications and Site Health infos in WP 5.5

This is the second part of the plugins and themes auto-updates dev notesdev note Each important change in WordPress Core is documented in a developers note, (usually called dev note). Good dev notes generally include a description of the change, the decision that led to this change, and a description of how developers are supposed to work with that change. Dev notes are published on Make/Core blog during the beta phase of WordPress release cycle. Publishing dev notes is particularly important when plugin/theme authors and WordPress developers need to be aware of those changes.In general, all dev notes are compiled into a Field Guide at the beginning of the release candidate phase. for WordPress 5.5. The first part was dedicated to Controlling Plugins and Themes auto-updates user interface.

PluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party and Theme auto-update email notifications

As of WordPress 5.5, email notifications will be sent after each attempt to auto-update a plugin or theme regardless of outcome (success or failure).

Here’s what you need to know about these emails.

Filtering the emails

Using the auto_plugin_theme_update_email hook, the recipient, subject, headers, and email content can be filtered to adjust a site’s needs.

Example of use:

function myplugin_auto_plugin_theme_update_email( $email, $type, $successful_updates, $failed_updates ) {
	// Change the email recipient.
	$email['to'] = '';
	// Change the email subject when updates failed
	if ( 'fail' === $type ) {
		$email['subject'] = __( 'ATTN: IT Department – SOME AUTO-UPDATES WENT WRONG!', 'my-plugin' );

	return $email;
add_filter( 'auto_plugin_theme_update_email', 'myplugin_auto_plugin_theme_update_email', 10, 4 );

Repeated failures email notifications prevention

Sometimes, a specific update may fail multiple times. When this happens, a notification email will be sent for only the first failure. A failure is considered a repeat when attempting to update to the same version.

For example, if version 1.0.1 fails and then 1.0.2 is released and fails, that is not a repeat failure.

For more information, see #50448 on TracTrac An open source project by Edgewall Software that serves as a bug tracker and project management tool for WordPress..

Disabling email notifications

Email notifications can be disabled using two filters:

  • auto_plugin_update_send_email
  • auto_theme_update_send_email

Emails are enabled by default (true). Returning false to either filterFilter Filters are one of the two types of Hooks They provide a way for functions to modify data of other functions. They are the counterpart to Actions. Unlike Actions, filters are meant to work in an isolated manner, and should never have side effects such as affecting global variables and output. will disable email notifications for that auto-update type.

The following snippet can be used to disable email notifications for themes and/or plugins auto-updates.

// Disable auto-update email notifications for plugins.
add_filter( 'auto_plugin_update_send_email', '__return_false' );

// Disable auto-update email notifications for themes.
add_filter( 'auto_theme_update_send_email', '__return_false' );

Auto-updates information in Site Health

Each plugin and theme’s auto-update status is also surfaced on the Site Health “Info” tab.

This text can be adjusted using the plugin_auto_update_debug_string and theme_auto_update_debug_string filters.

The following example replaces the text for the status of auto-updates for plugins:

function myplugin_plugin_auto_update_debug_string( $text, $plugin, $enabled ) {
	if ( false === $enabled ) {
		return __( 'Please consider turning on auto-updates!', 'my-plugin' );
	} else {
		return __( 'Thanks for enabling auto-updates!', 'my-plugin' );
add_filter( 'plugin_auto_update_debug_string', 'myplugin_plugin_auto_update_debug_string', 10, 3 )

The following example replaces the text for the status of auto-updates for themes:

function mytheme_theme_auto_update_debug_string( $text, $active_theme, $enabled ) {
	if ( false === $enabled ) {
		return __( 'Please consider turning on auto-updates!', 'my-theme' );
	} else {
		return __( 'Thanks for enabling auto-updates!', 'my-theme' );
add_filter( 'theme_auto_update_debug_string', 'mytheme_theme_auto_update_debug_string', 10, 3 )

Please note: Site Health support was introduced in the Feature Plugin, so there is no Changelog/Trac ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker. to link.

Reviewed by @pbiron and @desrosj

#5-5, #dev-notes