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What’s new in WordPress version 6.4 ‘Shirley’?

WordPress has recently released the newest version of WordPress. WordPress version 6.4 was released on November 7, 2023. It is named after iconic jazz artist Shirley Horn, the celebrated jazz musician. This is the third major release of 2023 and came with significant new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements. As you unpack and explore this latest release you will get a a new, versatile default Twenty Twenty-Four theme too.

Moreover, it has brought some noteworthy additions like Block Hooks, improved pattern organization, and a redesigned and enhanced Command palette as well. Additionally, it also brings changes to attachment pages, a lightbox effect on images, and several improvements to the writing workflow.

To explore these features you can download WordPress 6.4, and update automatically from the Dashboard > Updates menu in your site’s admin area.

In this article, we will overview all the improvements, updates, and enhancements that came with WordPress version 6.4′ Shirley’. So don’t wait any longer, and let’s find out what’s new in WordPress 6.4.

Feature Updates and Improvements of WordPress version 6.4.

This significant release opens new possibilities for creative designers, developers, and web builders. WordPress 6.4 lets you discover the unmatched flexibility of building with blocks and lets your ideas take flight.

Have a look at its features and improvements in detail. And explore ways to bring your vision to life and streamline site editing with enhanced tools.

TwentyTwenty Four Theme

It is a WordPress tradition to add a new default theme each year. Usually, it comes with the last release of the year. Theme Twenty Twenty-Four is a multifunctional yet minimal WordPress theme. It is tailored for three main use cases: small business owners, photographers and artists, and writers and bloggers.

It works well with the Site Editor and ships with 6 style variations to choose from. Likewise, this theme comes with around 35 patterns and templates that help you build pages in a matter of seconds.

Introducing Block Hook

WordPress 6.4 introduces Block Hooks, a new feature that allows blocks to insert themselves into similar blocks automatically. 

Block hooks will enable plugin developers to interact with the block editor and extend blocks without touching them. This feature gives you complete control to add, dismiss, and customize auto-inserted blocks to your needs.

The user shouldn’t have to be asked to insert the block in the editor manually. The block insertion in the front end happens immediately after the activation of the plugin providing the hooked block. Disabling the plugin should automatically remove the block. To use block hooks, you can include block hooks property in the block.json file. There are four available position values to insert the block: before, after, first-child, and last-child.

Enlarge images with lightbox Popup


WordPress 6.4 allows users to enable lightbox popups for images in their posts and pages. With the new lightbox feature, you can view your images in a larger format when clicking on the image.

After adding an image, you can toggle the Expand on Click option under the block settings to open it in a lightbox popup.

This simple image popup will let your users enlarge images without leaving a page.

Improved Command Palette

The Command Palette is a powerful tool to quickly find what you need, perform tasks efficiently, and speed up your building workflow. It was first introduced in WordPress version 6.3 and now has improved with some additions. Users now quickly type in commands using the keyboard shortcut CTRL+K. Likewise, you can duplicate, transform, delete, or insert blocks before or after the command palette. The new release also adds block selection commands.

Background Image for group block

Grouping blocks is the easiest way to create different sections of a layout in the post or full site editor. Lastly, you were able to select background images for the entire block. But now, you can set background images for your group blocks, adding an extra layer of aesthetic appeal to your sections. Indeed, this feature is perfect for creating visually striking hero sections, banners, or any other segment that needs a touch of creativity.

Renaming Group Block

WordPress 6.4 introduces the renaming of group blocks in the list view. This makes it easier to label your groups when designing webpages, making them easier to find when you have many group blocks throughout your webpage. In other words, you can set custom names for Group blocks to organize and distinguish areas of your content easily.

Enhancement to the pattern system

Previously you could only set the pattern name and type, synced or not synced. But now you can add a category for your pattern so that it can be more easily identified in the site and post editor. You can use the patterns provided by your block theme, or you can add more patterns by copying them from the Patterns Directory. You can also create your patterns from scratch in the site/post editor interface. And if you feel comfortable with coding, you can add patterns to your current theme – or child theme – with a .php file. 

Moreover, the Synced Patterns tab of the block inserter has been removed, and you can now access all your patterns from the same Patterns tab. It’s also easier to import or export patterns as JSON from the site editor.

Add a button to the navigation bar


Buttons are now in the list of allowed inner elements of the Navigation block. When you create a new menu item, you can easily transform it into a button from the block toolbar. To use this feature you can open the page template to access the navigation block and Click within the navigation block to reveal the black ‘+’ sign. And next Head to the right sidebar under the navigation menu items and hit the blue ‘+’ block inserter button.

More Design Tools

  • Color control for Content block: With WordPress 6.4, the Content block has been enhanced and now supports colors for text, background, and links. It is available in the post editor when you are editing a Query Loop and in the site editor when you are creating or editing a template.
  • Split queries in object caching: This feature helps WordPress break down complex queries into smaller, more efficient ones. This significantly improves website speed.
  • More accessibility: Over 50 accessibility improvements include better labeling, better navigation, revised headings, and new controls for the image editor to help people navigate better.
  • Footnotes block: If you want to add annotations to pages and posts, you can use the new Footnotes block. It now supports links, backgrounds, and text color. It also provides controls for typography, dimensions, and borders.
  • Details block: The new Details block allows you to add expandable content sections for FAQs or to combine short and long answers within the same section.

Under the Hood Changes

WordPress 6.4 also includes several changes intended for developers.

  • New admin notice functions are introduced which reduce the maintenance burden, encourage consistency, and enable argument and message filtering for all admin notices. (Details)
  • WP_Query and WP_Term_Query caching system has been improved, reducing database queries and improving overall efficiency.
  • TEMPLATEPATH and STYLESHEETPATH constants are deprecated.
  • Framework to add revisions for post meta in WordPress.
  • Theme developers can configure their own default min and max viewport widths for calculating fluid font sizes.


 WordPress Version 6.4 comes with a lot of new features, new design tools, and a number of improvements to the UI, and bug fixes. Mainly, it introduces a new lightweight multifunctional default theme with tons of patterns and templates.

With this version, you can automatically attach the child toolbar to the parent and create a consistent user experience as you move around the inner blocks. Background image in group block, placeholder image ratio, query loop pagination, lightbox effect, improved list view, and Block hooks are some of the noticeable changes you can go through.

Explore new features of WordPress 6.4 and enhance your site-building experience.

In case you wish to know all updates and all released version enhancements to this date from its origin you can Check our article: WordPress History.

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