Want to disable WordPress update notifications but not sure where to start?

The update notifications that WordPress provides can be useful for learning about newly available updates and keeping track of automatic updates on your site. However, you might want to disable them to reduce clutter in your WordPress dashboard or email inbox. Or, it might be because you have a different way of managing updates that makes notifications redundant.

Check Out Our Video Guide to Disabling WordPress Update Notifications

Thankfully, you have several options for disabling update notifications in WordPress, including both free plugins and some simple code snippets.

In this article, you’ll learn everything that you need to know about WordPress update notifications and how you can fully or partially disable them on your site.


What Are WordPress Update Notifications?

WordPress update notifications tell you when there are updates available for your site’s core WordPress software, plugins, or themes.

Or, if you’ve enabled automatic updates for some/all of your site, update notifications can also tell you when WordPress has automatically updated the core software, plugins, or themes.

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The Different Types of WordPress Update Notifications

WordPress has two main types of update notifications:

  1. In-dashboard notifications – these usually tell you when an update is available. In some cases, you also might see in-dashboard notifications after an extension is automatically upgraded.
  2. Email notifications – these usually tell you when WordPress has automatically applied an update to the core software, as well as plugins or themes (if you’ve enabled automatic updates for them).

Dashboard update notifications can appear in a few different places. You might see red bubble icons on the Updates, Plugins, or Themes menus in the sidebar. And for some updates (typically only core updates), you’ll also see a dashboard notice in the main interface (which some people find annoying).

An example of update notifications for an Administrator.
WordPress update notifications for an Administrator.

The example above assumes that your account has the Administrator user role. However, if you have other users at your site with lower user roles, they might see a prompt like this instead.

An example of update notifications for an Editor or Author.
Update notifications for an Editor or Author.

On the other hand, WordPress update notification emails will go straight to the email address associated with the Administrator account(s) on your site. Here’s an example:

An example of automatic update notification emails.
Automatic update notification emails.

Automatic Updates vs Manual Updates

Another important detail that affects which WordPress update notifications you receive is whether you’re using manual or automatic updates.

WordPress has long supported automatic updates for the core software, but it also added native automatic update support for plugins and themes in WordPress 5.5 (released August 2020).

If you’ve enabled automatic updates, you typically won’t see in-dashboard notifications because WordPress will just automatically apply the updates for you. However, you will usually get email notifications when WordPress has automatically updated something.

To learn more, check out our full guide to WordPress automatic updates.

Should You Disable WordPress Update Notifications?

Update notifications serve an important purpose in WordPress, so you should accurately weigh the pros and cons before going forward with disabling them.

They can alert you when there are new updates available for your site and/or its extensions. This can help you promptly apply those updates, which is important for keeping your site secure and well-functioning.

Or, in the case of automatic updates, they can keep you in the loop about any updates that your site has automatically applied. For example, you might want to check for any issues after WordPress automatically applies an update.

However, automatic update notifications can also add clutter to your WordPress dashboard or email inbox, which is one reason you might want to hide them.

Or, it can be confusing for users with non-Administrator accounts to see them, which is why you might want to disable WordPress update notifications for certain user roles.

You also might use a different method for applying updates that makes update notifications unnecessary and/or redundant. For example, if you’re updating WordPress by pushing changes from your GitHub repository, you might not need WordPress to tell you about updates on your production site.

Even if you disable WordPress update notifications, it’s still essential that you promptly apply updates on your site to keep your site secure and functioning.

If you use Kinsta hosting, you can easily apply updates right from your MyKinsta dashboard. This lets you keep your WordPress dashboard clean by disabling update notifications, while still being able to easily see and apply new updates from MyKinsta. Kinsta can help migrate your site for free from many popular hosts if you want to try it out.

How To Disable WordPress Update Notifications (Code or Plugin)

If you’re confident that disabling WordPress update notifications is the right choice for your site, this section will show you exactly how to get it done.

As is normally the case with WordPress, you have two routes that you can follow to disable WordPress update notifications:

  1. You can use a plugin to handle things for you. We’ll share plugins that can disable everything about update notifications or just certain parts, such as only disabling the update notification emails.
  2. You can add your own custom code snippets. The advantage of this method is that you get pinpoint control over everything. For example, you could disable update notifications for some user roles but still leave them enabled for admin users.

If you’re not a very technical person, you’ll probably want to stick with the plugin route. But for more advanced users, the custom code option is still fairly painless.

Let’s go through your options.

How to Disable All Update Notifications/Checks With a Plugin

The free Disable All WordPress Updates plugin is the “nuclear” option when it comes to disabling update notifications. This one plugin will disable all update notifications and stop WordPress from even checking for updates in the first place (by disabling the cron job for update checks).

As a result, it’s essential that you manually check for updates and apply them promptly if you use this plugin.

There’s nothing to configure. As soon as you activate the plugin, it will automatically hide all update-related notifications, even hiding them from the Plugins list.

Here’s the site before activating the plugin:

Lots of update notifications before activating the plugin.
Lots of update notifications before activating the plugin.

And here’s what it looks like after:

All update notifications are hidden. It also adds a small icon to the top toolbar.
All update notifications are hidden. It also adds a small icon to the top toolbar.

You can see that it does add a small icon to the WordPress toolbar to remind you that you’ve disabled automatic updates.

If you want more granular control, you can also consider the free Disable WordPress Update Notifications and auto-update Email Notifications plugin. This plugin performs a similar function but it gives you a settings area to choose whether to disable updates for the core, plugins, and/or themes.

This plugin lets you only hide certain update notifications.
This plugin lets you only hide certain update notifications.

How To Disable Update Notification Emails With a Plugin

If you want a more targeted approach, you can also find free plugins that will leave dashboard notifications but disable all update email notifications.

Here are two simple plugins to do that:

Both plugins are very lightweight and only add a few lines of code (which you can also add manually by following the instructions in the next section).

There’s nothing to configure – just activate them and you’ll stop receiving the applicable update notification emails.

How To Hide WordPress Update Dashboard Notifications With a Plugin

For the last plugin option, let’s look at how to only hide update dashboard notifications, while still leaving the automatic update checks enabled.

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There are several plugins that offer varying functionality for hiding all dashboard notices (including updates). Here are 2 popular options to consider:

  • Hide Admin Notices – adds a toggle button that lets you easily show/hide all dashboard notifications.
  • Admin Notices Manager – moves all admin notices to a separate admin notices panel, including update notifications.

For example, here’s what the Hide Admin Notices plugin looks like – it hides the notifications from the dashboard but lets you click the Show Notices toggle to still see them.

An example of the Hide Admin Notices plugin.
An example of the Hide Admin Notices plugin.

How To Disable Update Notifications With Code

If you don’t want to use a plugin, you can also disable update notifications by using your own custom code snippets.

We’ll show you example code snippets for a few different situations:

  • Disabling update notification emails.
  • Hiding dashboard update notifications for all users.
  • Hiding dashboard update notifications for certain user roles.
  • Fully disabling update checks.

Disable WordPress Update Notification Emails With Code

To disable update notification emails, you can add some or all of the following filters, depending on the types of emails that you want to disable.

You should add these code snippets to the functions.php file in your child theme or via a plugin like Code Snippets.

Disable core update emails:

// Disable core update emails
add_filter( 'auto_core_update_send_email', '__return_false' );

Disable plugin update emails:

// Disable plugin update emails
add_filter( 'auto_plugin_update_send_email', '__return_false' );

Disable theme update emails:

// Disable theme update emails
add_filter( 'auto_theme_update_send_email', '__return_false' );
Examples of adding code snippets to disable all automatic update email notifications.
Examples of adding code snippets to disable all automatic update email notifications.

Hide Update Notifications In Dashboard

To hide update notifications in your dashboard, you can remove the update_nag action using code. This won’t hide the update notification bubbles, though.

To hide these update notifications for all users (including admins), add the following code snippet to the functions.php file in your child theme or via a plugin like Code Snippets.

// Hide dashboard update notifications for all users
function kinsta_hide_update_nag() {
remove_action( 'admin_notices', 'update_nag', 3 );
}

add_action('admin_menu','kinsta_hide_update_nag');
The code snippet to hide update notifications for all users.
The code snippet to hide update notifications for all users.

Another option would be to leave update notifications for Administrator users but hide them for all other user roles. To accomplish this, you can modify the code like this:

// Hide dashboard update notifications for non-admin users
function kinsta_hide_update_nag() {
if ( ! current_user_can( 'update_core' ) ) {
remove_action( 'admin_notices', 'update_nag', 3 );
}
}

add_action('admin_menu','kinsta_hide_update_nag');
The code snippet to hide update notifications for non-Administrator users.
The code snippet to hide update notifications for non-Administrator users.

Disable All Update Checks

If you want to learn how to completely disable automatic update checks in the first place, you can read our full guide to WordPress automatic updates.

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Summary

To help you keep on top of your site’s updates, WordPress offers update notifications in your dashboard and via email.

In some situations, you might want to disable some or all of these update notifications. You can accomplish this using the plugins or code snippets that we detailed above.

However, you should remember that it is still important to promptly apply updates on your site, especially security updates. So if you do disable WordPress update notifications, you’ll want to make sure you have another system in place to ensure that you’re able to apply updates when needed.


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