Introducing auto-updates interface for Core major versions in WordPress 5.6

Update: this dev notedev 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 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. is no longer relevant as the scope of the feature changed during WordPress 5.6 betaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. cycle. Please read the new dev note published for this feature:

WordPress 5.6 introduces a new UIUI User interface to allow website administrators to opt-in to major versions automatic updates.

This feature follows plugins and themes auto-updates user interface which was shipped in WordPress 5.5. Both are part of the 9 WordPress Core projects for 2019-2020.

For reference, see ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker. #50907.

How does it look?

The coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. auto-updates feature already exists for years in WordPress. WP 5.6 only introduces a new user interface to make it easier to opt-in to automatic updates for major versions.

By default, WordPress auto-updates itself, but only for minor releases. Developers can already opt-in to major releases auto-updates by setting up the existing WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant to true or by using the allow_major_auto_core_updates existing 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..

With WordPress 5.6, it’s possible for website administrators to opt-in/out to automatic updates for major versions, using a specific interface located on the Updates screen:

Core Major Versions auto-updates user interface in WordPress 5.6

How does it work?

This settings section basically adds a checkbox to allow administrators to opt-in to major core auto-updates. But it also checks for any existing constant or filter to see if the checkbox should be checked or not by default, using the following order:

  1. By default, the checkbox is unchecked.
  2. If get_site_option( 'auto_update_core_major' ) returns true, the checkbox is checked. Otherwise it’s unchecked. This option is the one stored in the database when the checkbox value is changed.
  3. If WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant returns true, beta or rc, the checkbox is checked. If the constant returns false, minor or is not defined, the checkbox is unchecked. If this constant is set, it overrides the above parameters.
  4. If allow_major_auto_core_updates filter returns true, the checkbox is checked. If the filter returns false or is not used, the checkbox is unchecked. If this filter is used, it overrides the above parameters.

To disable the checkbox by default, developers can set the WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE to false (to disable all auto-updates) or minor (to enable only minor core auto-updates, which is the default behavior). It has to be done using the wp-config.php file.

Developers can alternatively use the allow_major_auto_core_updates filter to set up core major versions auto-updates to true or false by default. Example:

add_filter( 'allow_major_auto_core_updates', '_return_false' );

How to extend core major versions auto-updates feature?

The feature also checks for dev (development versions of WordPress) and for minor updates. There is an action hook running right before the submit button of that settings section to add some options if needed. Using the after_core_auto_updates_settings_fields action hook, developers can add other settings or texts.

For example, the following snippet adds an option to opt-in/out for minor releases auto-updates:

function my_plugin_after_core_auto_updates_settings_fields( $auto_update_settings ) {
	if ( isset( $_POST['core-auto-updates-settings'] ) && wp_verify_nonce( $_POST['set_core_auto_updates_settings'], 'core-auto-updates-nonce' ) ) {
		if ( isset( $_POST['my-plugin-core-auto-updates-minor'] ) && 1 === (int) $_POST['my-plugin-core-auto-updates-minor'] ) {
			update_site_option( 'my_plugin_auto_update_core_minor', 1 );
		} else {
			update_site_option( 'my_plugin_auto_update_core_minor', 0 );
	$minor_auto_updates_settings = get_site_option( 'my_plugin_auto_update_core_minor' );
		<input type="checkbox" name="my-plugin-core-auto-updates-minor" id="my-plugin-core-auto-updates-minor" value="1" <?php checked( $minor_auto_updates_settings, 1 ); ?> />
		<label for="my-plugin-core-auto-updates-minor">
			<?php _e( 'Automatically keep this site up-to-date with minor updates.', 'my-plugin' ); ?>
add_action( 'after_core_auto_updates_settings_fields', 'my_plugin_after_core_auto_updates_settings_fields', 10, 1 );

This snippet adds a new option right after the major releases option:

Props @sarahricker and @jeffmatson for proofreading this dev note.

#5-6, #auto-updates, #core-auto-updates, #dev-notes