The most recent version of WordPress is now available. WordPress 6.4 is affectionately dubbed “Shirley” after Shirley Horn, the American jazz singer and pianist. She was celebrated for mastering the piano while singing with a distinctive voice that captivated people. Keep reading to discover what’s new with WordPress 6.4 “Shirley.”
First, though, let’s talk about the Gutenberg Block Editor. In recent years, WordPress updates have focused on improving this editor. However, I don’t recommend Gutenberg for beginners. I find other editor plugins, like the Classic Editor, Elementor, and Divi Builder, much easier to use. If you’re not using Block Editor, you might be interested in Page Builder Plugins.
Typically, WordPress unveils significant updates multiple times annually, with minor updates in between. These major WordPress updates come with brand-new functions, enhancements to existing features, and better performance and security measures.
With each release of these major updates, we try it out to see if the new features might be helpful to its users, particularly our Website Creation Workshop students. WordPress 6.4 introduces some big improvements, focusing on its Block Editor users. Continue reading to learn more about WordPress 6.4 and evaluate how these updates can be of assistance to you.
Updating to WordPress 6.4
I recommend waiting a few days before updating your website to WordPress 6.4. Substantial updates like this one often require adjustments to ensure the proper functioning of plugins and themes. While developers of these plugins and themes typically strive to make these adjustments ahead of the new WordPress release, it’s still a good idea to hold off a bit on the update to avoid unforeseen issues.
It’s important to note that version 6.4 is a major update, not a minor security update. Depending on your web hosting provider, you may need to access your WordPress admin panel and manually take care of the update. If this is the case, refer to the step-by-step guide & video on “How to Update WordPress to the Latest Version.”
Many web hosting services automatically handle these WordPress updates on your behalf. Additionally, the update should run automatically if you have enabled the automatic update option within your WordPress admin panel.
What’s New with WordPress 6.4
If you use WordPress Block Editor (aka Gutenberg), you’ll probably find some new features useful.
I don’t teach the WordPress Block Editor in my Website Creation Workshop. Instead, I teach other visual editors like Divi and Elementor as they are more intuitive and feature-rich. Also, using the Block Editor could be frustrating if you’re used to the dependable Classic Editor since its interface is very different. Nonetheless, it’s exciting to see that WordPress continues improving the Block Editor.
Here is the recording of the WordPress 6.4 overview webinar presented by WordPress, in case you’d like to learn more:
Brand-new Default Theme: Twenty Twenty-Four
WordPress 6.4 comes with a brand-new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Four. It’s a very clean theme loaded with new features. You’ll find this theme to be very versatile and can be used for many types of websites.
Image Lightbox is now available for the image blocks! It works with individual images in the gallery blocks as well.
All you need to do is to turn on the “Expend on click” option in the image settings.
When you click on the image in the front end, you’ll see it pops up enlarged to fill the screen.
Background Image for the Group Block
Previously, you could apply a background color to a group of blocks. You can now apply a background “image” to a group block, creating more design possibilities.
Improvements to the List View
You’ll like these little but useful improvements if you often use the List View while working in the block editor!
The image and gallery blocks in the List View now display little thumbnails, letting you preview the images.
And you can now rename blocks for a better organization that suits your needs.
Changing the text orientation is so easy with WordPress 6.4. Select the block with the text (Paragraph block, Heading block, etc.), click on the three dots beside Typography in the Styles setting, and select Orientation.
Fix the aspect ratio of featured images.
With WordPress 6.4, you can update the aspect ratio of featured images quickly, regardless of the size of the original images. This can be a big timesaver!
Categorizing Block Patterns
If you are a heavy pattern user and have many patterns, you probably want to keep them organized to find them easily in the future. With WordPress 6.4, you can now categorize patterns as you create them. Just apply one of the default categories or create your own.
Add a Button Block to the Navigation Bar
Adding a Button Block to the navigation bar is now an option. You’ll see it in the Navigation Bar setting, and just like a button block, you can style it with a background color, a different font, and more.
Speed and performance improvement
WordPress 6.4 came with 100+ performance-related updates! That means you’ll most likely see your site now performs faster.
Other Improvements with WordPress 6.4
Additionally, I have this guide to help you update your WordPress to the most recent version.
I would love to hear your thoughts or comments on the guide. Feel free to share them below.