What’s New in WordPress 6.5: Discover the Latest Enhancements & Features

One of the biggest advantages of having your website on the WordPress ecosystem is the constant updates. You are beneficiary to the latest features and functionalities, along with the much-needed bug fixes. So your website always stays at its peak.

Just a few months ago, WordPress 6.4 came out. And with it, came a wave of new features and enhancements to take your website and experience to the next level. And now, we’re just around the corner from the release of WordPress 6.5. Since WordPress raises the bar with every new iteration, needless to say, the expectations are high.

So let’s take a look at what is to come.

What’s New in WordPress 6.5?

Although this new version will be out on March 26, 2024, we’ve been testing the Beta version for a while now. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, this update brings a lot of promises. It’s aimed at making the website development and management mcu smoother and more intuitive.

So let me give you an idea on what’s to come in WordPress 6.5.

Block Editor Enhancements

As everyone knows, the initial aim of WordPress was Blogging. So it’s safe to say a majority of users utilize it for writing, editing, and posting high-quality content through the Gutenberg block editor.

So like its every new iteration, WordPress 6.5 brings some significant improvements and new features in the block editor.

New Fonts Library

One of the common complaints with WordPress from the creators is about font limitations. Due to that, they are often limited in their customization abilities. But now, WordPress 6.5 has brought an extensive font library in the block theme ecosystem.

Although this feature has been a topic of discussion since WordPress 6.0 came out with Web Fonts API, there were some concerns about the code quality. But to everyone’s relief, WordPress 6.5 brings out this feature to its full effect.

new fonts library

With this library, not only can you import fonts from Google Fonts, but you can also upload your custom ones. They will be accessible from the Site Editor’s global style panel in the Appearance section.

Here’s how you access it.

AppearanceEditorGlobal Styles PanelTypographyFonts

After accessing Fonts, click on the Filter/Setting icon. Then, you are taken to the Fonts Library.

Drop Shadow Effect

Another cool feature introduced by WordPress 6.5 is the Drop Shadow Effect. This feature lets you add depth and dimension to your designs for more extensive customizations. So your images, buttons, and text elements stand out from the crowd.

Some blocks that you can customize with the Drop Shadow effect are:

  • Image
  • Columns and Column
  • Buttons
drop shadow effect

All you need to do is select the block and click on the Border & Shadow option. There, you will see the Drop Shadow feature. Then you can select the desired level of shadow on the block. WordPress gives you an idea in real time on how the effect will look like.

Preference Panel Update

Another feather in the customization and flexibility cap of WordPress is the Preferences section. As the name suggests, this section lets you set your preferences with respect to the appearance, accessibility, blocks, as well as some general settings.

The preferences panel is getting a much-needed refresh. With this update, WordPress 6.5 aims to make personalizing your editing experience smoother and more efficient. Expect a more intuitive layout that groups related settings together, so it’s easier to find what you need.

wordpress 6.5 preferences

With Version 6.5, “Appearance” and “Accessibility” have got separate sections in the Preferences Panel. So it’s easier to personalize the development experience.

List View Access to Block Settings

As I mentioned earlier, the primary aim behind this update has been better user interface and experience. To that end, WordPress Version 6.5 brings a small but significant improvement in the block editor.

right click for block settings in list view

With this update, you can access the block settings in the List View with just a right-click. That is much better than the tedious process in the earlier versions. Until WordPress 6.4, you’d have to select the block and then click on the “three-dots” menu to access the block settings. But now, you can fiddle with the block settings with just a press of the right click. Time saving at its best.

Custom Fields for Blocks

It’s true that WordPress custom fields have been around for quite some time. Sticking to their name, custom fields take customization to a new level. They let you add unique info to your content, improve the WordPress SEO, boost creativity, extend functionality, and much more.

Now, with WordPress 6.5, you can create custom fields for blocks. Imagine adding options for things like color pickers, image uploads, or dropdown menus directly within a block. That means even more dynamic and versatile content creation.

You can link custom fields data to different block attributes through the Block Binding API. This API lets you provide dynamic data and info for the blocks through different sources.

Let’s look at an example.

custom fields for blocks

In the custom fields section, add the fields like shown above. Then add this code in a text field in the Code Editor view.

custom fields for blocks
<!-- wp:paragraph {"metadata":{"bindings":{"content":{"source":"core/post-meta","args":{"key":"color"}}}}} -->
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->
<!-- wp:paragraph {"metadata":{"bindings":{"content":{"source":"core/post-meta","args":{"key":"material"}}}}} -->
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Save the changes. Now, you should be able to test these custom fields. Here’s how the theme will display your meta keys.

testing custom fild block

The core WordPress development experts should be able to do much more with this feature.

That concludes the changes coming in the WordPress editor. We may see more changes and enhancements when WordPress 6.5 is released on March 26, 2024.

Add Site Favicon from Settings

When you open a site, one of the first things you see is its favicon, that little logo on the search tab. It’s a crucial part of the branding and identity of a website.

Up until WordPress 6.4, if you want to change the favicon from the present WordPress one to a customized one, you have to access the theme customization. But WordPress 6.5 has streamlined the process.

Now, you can add a new favicon for your website from the General WordPress settings. It will apply to both classic themes and block themes. If you use a classic theme, there’s still an option to use the customizer for this feature. Here’s how you add the favicon.

WordPress Admin Dashboard → Settings → General → Change Site Icon → Save

AVIF Support

As I said earlier, with this new version of WordPress, the aim has been to improve the experience and efficiency of your website. To that end, there is another development.

WordPress 6.5 comes with AVIF (AV1 Image File Format) support. This new image format offers significant improvements in image quality and compression. In fact, compared to JPEG, the AVIF images can be around 50% smaller with the same image quality.

avif image

Moreover, AVIF images can have a wider range of colors (like HDR), meaning sharper, more detailed images compared to JPEG. So your WordPress blog or website will look more captivating.

Plugin Dependencies

Coming to the biggest asset of WordPress, i.e. its Plugins. There is a big development on that front for the Plugin developers. As you know, some plugins require others to work on the website. That means plugin dependencies.

For instance, WooCommerce PDF Vouchers plugin needs the WooCommerce plugin.

Now, WordPress 6.5 lets the plugin developers add a “Requires” entry to their plugin headers. That is to show which other plugins should be installed first to activate that particular plugin.

plugin dependencies

And on the other hand, you won’t be able to delete or deactivate something like WooCommerce before deactivating its dependent plugins.

woocommerce before deactivating

Until WordPress 6.4, this particular feature was not there. So if you would have deactivated WooCommerce and tried accessing its dependent plugins, there would have been an error. This feature is a preventive measure.

The way you handle links within blocks might see some changes. While specifics are limited in the beta, these changes aim to make linking more intuitive and efficient.

This new version of WordPress brings visual icons as a part of link control. So you can create and manage the links with ease.

link control changes

Another change comes in the link editing part. Now, the editing aspect of the link will only be visible once you right-click on it. So there are no distractions in the content editing flow.

link control changes-1

Improved Synced Patterns

In August 2023, with Version 6.3, WordPress introduced pattern management to merge the reusable blocks and patterns. You can choose to make a pattern synced or keep it unsynced.

Let’s say you make a pattern synced. Then when you make changes to it in one place, they will be applied to that pattern everywhere on the site. That ensures consistency if you have a consistent feature on your website, like a contact form.

But what if you want to use a synced pattern but make a few minor changes in one place? So the changes will be limited to that place. That’s what WordPress has tried to implement in Version 6.5.

Now, the users can override a synced pattern via Allow instance overrides, to blend customization with consistency. You can use this option through the block settings when editing a pattern.

improved synced patterns

After that, you will be able to add a synced pattern everywhere with an option to edit the elements. And contrary to the detach pattern, your changes in the synced pattern will be applied in the future automatically.

Interactivity API

As the name suggests, this feature aims to make the WordPress websites more interactive. WordPress 6.5 introduced the Interactivity API to the masses to create interactive experiences directly within blocks.

With this API, your website’s frontend interfaces won’t need complete page reloads to show a small change.

The two main parts of the Interactivity API are directives and store. The special attributes called “directives” are added directly to the HTML elements within your block. They ensure the user interactions and other events are responded to in a specific behavior.

Some common directives include:

  • wp-interactive. Turns an element and its children into interactive elements.
  • wp-bind. Uses the state or context values to set the HTML attributes of an element.
  • wp-text. Updates the text content of an element.
  • wp-watch. Runs code whenever a specific piece of data changes.
  • wp-init. Runs code only once when the element is first created.
  • wp-run. Runs code immediately when the directive is encountered.
  • wp-context. Creates a local state for the element and its children.
  • wp-class and wp-style. Adds or removes classes or inline styles to an element based on conditions.
  • wp-on. Makes your element listen for events like clicks or key presses.

The second part of Interactivity API is store. Everything that happens within a block is managed by this part of the API, like a control panel. 

  • State: This is like the block’s memory, storing all the data that controls how it looks and behaves. It’s the blueprint for the block’s functionality.
  • Actions: Imagine these as buttons the user presses. Actions are triggered by user interactions and can change the block’s state (update its memory).
  • Side effects: Whenever the state is updated (like pressing a button), side effects kick in. They might update the block’s appearance on the screen (like showing a new message) or perform tasks outside the block itself (like fetching data from the internet).

To showcase the capabilities of the Interactivity API, the developers at WordPress have created a dedicated demo site. On this site, if you click the heart icon on any movie poster, it will reflect on the counter on top right.

interactivity api

Miscellaneous Changes for Developers

Besides the features shown above, there are some that will be released specifically for the developers. Although the information on these developer-focused features is limited, they will make the site faster, more secure, more user-friendly, and more reliable.

Sources claim the site load speed with WordPress 6.5 will be up to 2.5 times that with WordPress 6.4. That is a significant boost.

Overall, we noticed WordPress 6.5 beta version has come out with over 1000 major and minor enhancements and bug fixes. But the full extent of these enhancements will only be known past March 26, 2024, when Version 6.5 is released.

You can also test the version. Let’s see how.

Looking for a WordPress website packed with the latest features?

How to Test the Beta Version of WordPress 6.5?

First and foremost, it’s very important you understand one thing. DO NOT test WordPress 6.5 or any beta version on a live website. Try it first on a staging or test site. Here’s how you test the beta version.

Step 1: Create a WordPress staging site.

Step 2: Install a plugin called WordPress Beta Tester

Step 3: Configure it to Beta/RC Only stream and Bleeding Edge channel.

Step 4: Update your test/staging site to the WordPress 6.5 beta version.

Then, you’ll have a WordPress 6.5 beta site to test what’s to come. You can even use it beyond the release of this version for testing before applying it to the live website.

Our WordPress development company is testing this Version 6.5 to its absolute limits, and we’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

FAQs on WordPress 6.5

When is WordPress 6.5 expected to be released?
As of now, the official release date for WordPress 6.5 is March 26th, 2024.
Will content editing be easier in WordPress 6.5?
Absolutely! Expect smoother drag-and-drop functionality, improved responsiveness, and over 65 accessibility enhancements. They will make block editing more user-friendly for everyone.
Is there anything I should worry about with WordPress 6.5?
From the beta testing, we can confidently say WordPress 6.5 will have some excellent updates for better user experience with new creative possibilities. But still, it’s always a good idea to backup your website before any major update.


WordPress 6.5 is right on the horizon and it’s bringing a wave of new and exciting features. It’s focused on improving the design and streamlining the content creation. And you can expect a more intuitive editing experience on your website.

Some of the features and enhancements to look out for are:

  • Preference Panel Update
  • Block Editor Enhancements
  • Site Editor Changes
  • Plugin Dependencies
  • Link Control Changes
  • Improved Synced Patterns
  • Interactivity API

If you want to test the beta version of WordPress 6.5 yourself, do so on a testing or staging site. If you encounter issues with the site during beta testing, consult with our WordPress experts today!

Want to take your WordPress site to the next level?

Jigar Shah is the Founder of WPWeb Infotech - a leading Web Development Company in India, USA. Being the founder of the company, he takes care of business development activities and handles the execution of the projects. He is Enthusiastic about producing quality content on challenging technical subjects.

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