WordPress 5.3 is out now on November 12, 2019. Named “Kirk,” after the jazz instrumentalist, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, offers a more streamlined user experience, a simplified Gutenberg, lots of security improvements and new features. All of which are available for uploading and refreshing from your WordPress dashboard!

We followed the update closely and brought this post to you after testing the new version.

5.3 expands and refines the block editor with more intuitive interactions and improved accessibility. New features in the editor increase design freedoms, provide additional layout options and style variations to allow designers more control over the look of a site. WordPress.org

In this post, you will find out all the new features and compare it to the previous version.

New Features

Twenty Twenty Theme

Twenty Twent Theme Screenshot - WordPress 5.3 Released (New Features and Changes)

The latest Twenty Twenty theme is out now. And people have already started to use it on their websites, with more than 30,000 active installations. The theme is developed to support the new block editor features to create new, beautiful posts and page layouts.

Block Editor Improvements

Block Editor Improvements - WordPress 5.3 Released (New Features and Changes)

WordPress 5.3 brings improved block editor with over 150 new features and usability improvements. Also, it includes large image support for non-optimized, high-resolution pictures. With default image sizes, pictures will look best.

Improvements in accessibility include incorporating block editor types into the admin interface. These improved styles fix many issues such as color contrast on form fields and buttons, consistency between editor and admin interfaces. Also, new snack bar notices, Standardizing the default color scheme for WordPress and introducing Motion to make your blocks interact quickly and naturally.

It has a new navigation mode for people who use the keyboard to navigate the dashboard. This enables you to jump from block to block without tabbing through every part of the block controls.

Also, users will now see faster loading times and quicker keystroke responses.

Expanded Design Flexibility

  • The new Group block allows you to easily divide your page into colorful sections.
  • Columns now support fixed column widths.
  • New predefined layouts make it a cinch to arrange content into advanced layouts.
  • Heading blocks now offer text and background color controls.
  • Additional style options allow you to set your preferred style to any block that supports this feature.

Improvements for Everyone

Automatic Image Rotation
Images will be rotated correctly if uploaded using the built-in orientation data. This feature was first proposed nine years ago and made possible by the persistence of many dedicated contributors.

Improved Site Health Checks
The improvement introduced in 5.3 makes it even easier to identify issues. Expanded recommendations highlight areas that may need troubleshooting from the Health Check screen on your site.

Admin Email Verification
You will now be asked periodically to confirm that your admin email address is up to date when you log in as an administrator. This reduces the chance that you will be locked out of your site if you change your email address.

Improvements for Developers

Date/Time Component Fixes

Developers can now work with dates and time zones more reliably. Date and time functionality has received several new API functions for unified timezone retrieval and PHP interoperability, as well as many bug fixes.

PHP 7.4 Compatibility

WordPress 5.3 was planned to fully support PHP 7.4. WordPress encourages all users to update to the latest version.


WordPress 5.2 introduced the Site Health Check feature, which is now enhanced in this current version of WordPress. The previous version of WordPress had tweaks for the Gutenberg Editor, new default blocks & new block manager tool, all of them improved more this year.

Bottom Line

After reading these improvements and new features, we know you’re excited to upgrade to WordPress 5.3. But wait here are some of the tips you need to follow before updating.

  • Save your WordPress XML file to your hard drive
  • Backup your WordPress database
  • FTP into your Web hosting server and download a copy of your database backup
  • Cover all the bases and download your theme/framework/child theme folders
  • deactivate all plugins

Take the above steps to make an error-free WordPress 5.3 upgrade.

I hope you find this post beneficial. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section below.

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