What’s New in WordPress 5.9 (Features and Changes/Release Date)

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WordPress 5.9 Josephine was released on January 25, 2022. You can update to WordPress 5.9 (WP 5.9) now; here is what will change in WordPress 5.9, the new features and changes.

Release Date of WordPress 5.9

WordPress 5.9 has been released on January 25, 2022.

It was originally scheduled to be released on December 14, 2021, but was postponed due to several unresolved bugs.

The schedule for the release is as follows.

November 30, 2021Beta 1
December 7, 2021Beta 2
December 14, 2021Beta 3
December 21, 2021Beta 4
January 4, 2022Release Candidate 1
January 11, 2022Release Candidate 2
January 18, 2022Release Candidate 3
January 24, 2022Dry run
January 25, 2022Release

For the release dates of other versions, please refer to the following pages.

Code Name for WordPress 5.9

The WordPress code name is derived from the name of a jazz musician.

WordPress 5.9 is codenamed Josephine, after international jazz singer Joséphine Baker.

VersionCode NameMusician
WordPress 5.9JosephineJoséphine Baker
WordPress 5.8TatumArt Tatum
WordPress 5.7EsperanzaEsperanza Spalding
WordPress 5.6SimoneNina Simone

Server Requirements for WordPress 5.9

In order to run WordPress 5.9, the following requirements are recommended.

For the recommended versions of PHP and MySQL for each version of WordPress, please refer to the following pages.

How to get WordPress 5.9

WordPress 5.9 available on the download page.

Please refer to the article below on how to download WordPress.

How to update WordPress 5.9

To update to WordPress 5.9, click the Update Now button on the Update page of your dashboard.

Be sure to back up your files and database before a major update.

You will be in maintenance mode during the update.

How to try WordPress 5.9 beta?

You can try out the beta version of WordPress 5.9 before it is released.

The beta version may be subject to updates to the database structure during development. Please do not use it for production web sites.

Please refer to the following page to install WordPress in your local environment.

To try out the beta version of WordPress 5.9, install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.

New features and changes in WordPress 5.9

WordPress 5.9 is the first major release of 2022.

The following new features and changes are available in WordPress 5.9.

Twenty Twenty-Two

WordPress 5.9 introduces a new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two.

Twenty Twenty-Two

This block theme allows you to use the full site editing features introduced in WordPress 5.9.

You can freely customize the colors, typography, and layout of every page in the site.

Here’s how to enable Twenty Twenty-Two.

  1. Click on Appearance
  2. Click Activate
Activate Twenty Twenty-Two

Twenty Twenty-Two is now enabled.

Activate Twenty Twenty-Two

Here are some examples of Twenty Twenty-Two layouts. It is recommended for blogs, business sites, portfolios, etc.


Twenty Twenty-Two comes with the following patterns. By combining these, you can easily create the layout of your choice.

Pattern Explorer

Full Site Editing

WordPress 5.8 allowed partial editing, but WordPress 5.9 introduced the Full Site Editing (FSE) feature, which allows you to edit the entire site.

You can design everything on your site in blocks, from headers to footers. No code is required.

Activate a theme that supports full site editing (e.g. Twenty Twenty-Two) and select Editor (beta) from Appearance.

Editor (beta)

Click on a style to change the typography, color, and layout.


Manage the fonts used on your site. Allows you to set text and links respectively.


For example, in Twenty Twenty-Two, you can choose between System Font and Source Serif Pro in theme.json.

"fontFamilies": [
        "fontFamily": "-apple-system,BlinkMacSystemFont,\"Segoe UI\",Roboto,Oxygen-Sans,Ubuntu,Cantarell,\"Helvetica Neue\",sans-serif",
        "name": "System Font",
        "slug": "system-font"
        "fontFamily": "\"Source Serif Pro\", serif",
        "name": "Source Serif Pro",
        "slug": "source-serif-pro"

Sets the background color and gradient for the entire site. You can also set other default colors used for text and links throughout the site.


Padding can be set in the layout.


The steps to change the template are as follows.

  1. Click on the template name (e.g. Home)
  2. Click on Browse all templates

A list of templates will be displayed. Select the template you want to edit.


Pattern Explorer

Patterns can now be referenced in a modal way. This makes it easy to find the pattern you want to use.

  1. Click on Toggle block Inserter
  2. Click on the Patterns
  3. Click Explore
Pattern Explorer

Pattern Explorer is now open.

Pattern Explorer

Block Patterns Directory

Since the release of WordPress 5.8, a lot of work has been submitted to the Block Pattern Directory.

Ready-to-use layouts can be added to your WordPress site by simply copying and pasting.

Block Pattern Directory

List view

You can now drag and drop content in the list view to move it around. Groups can now be collapsed.

List view

Changes to the Block

New options have been added to each block.

Buttons Block

Buttons Block

Columns Block

Dimensions Control (Block spacing/Padding)

Columns Block

Navigations Block

Navigations Block

Group Block

Group Block

Cover Blocks

Cover Block

Social Icons Block

Social Icons Block

Post Featured Image Block

Post Featured Image Block

Gallery Block

Each image in the gallery block can now use the same tools as the image block. Cropping and duotone filters can be set.

Gallery Block

Row Block

There is now an additional block that appears in the line.

Row Block

Embed Pinterest

You can now officially embed Pinterest.


Language switching on the login screen

It is now possible to switch the language of the site on the login screen. You can choose from among the languages installed on the site.

If you have only one language installed, the switcher will not appear on the login screen.

Language switching on the login screen

The following code will disable the language switching on the login screen.

add_filter( 'display_login_language_dropdown', '__return_false' );

Improved lazy loading

Lazy loading of images was introduced in WordPress 5.5, and lazy loading of iframes was introduced in WordPress 5.7.

Loading=”lazy” will be automatically added to img and iframe tags in the page.

It was discovered that the median LCP (Largest Contextual Paint) was improved by 7% when the first image in the page was not lazy loaded.

In WordPress 5.9, the first image or iframe in a page does not load lazily.

Use the wp_omit_loading_attr_threshold filter to change the number of media that will not be lazy loaded.

The following code changes the number of media to be skipped for lazy loading from 1 to 3.

function change_value_skip_lazyloading( $omit_threshold ) {
    return 3;
add_filter( 'wp_omit_loading_attr_threshold', 'change_value_skip_lazyloading' );

Changes for developers

The following changes are for theme and plugin developers


theme.json is a configuration file introduced in WordPress 5.8 to control the style of block themes.

WordPress 5.9 supports child themes and duo-tone filters in theme.json.


Improved compatibility with PHP 8.1

PHP 8.1 was released on November 25, 2021.

WordPress 5.9 has been developed to improve compatibility with PHP 8.1. Please check beforehand if your theme or plugin is compatible with PHP 8.1.

Newly added functions

Newly added filter hooks

Other versions of WordPress 5.9

Updates for other versions of WordPress 5.9 are available here.

Next update

The following article describes the upcoming updates.

Past Updates

Previous updates to WordPress are described in the following articles.

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