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WordPress 6.2 Beta 2 Released with Fixes for 71 Issues and Important Performance Improvements for Block Themes

WordPress 6.2 Beta 2 was released today and is now available for testing, one week after Beta 1. Testers can easily download the latest beta zip file or install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin and set it to the “Bleeding edge” channel and the “Beta/RC Only” stream.

Beta 2 includes fixes for ~71 issues since last week’s release, along with the most recent Gutenberg plugin 15.1 release, which was not included in Beta 1. Testers can check out the list of the most recent commits to 6.2 on GitHub and recent commits on Trac.

In the most recent Performance Team meeting, WordPress core committer Felix Arntz highlighted an important fix for how lazy loading is handled in block themes. WordPress 5.9 fixed a performance regression where WordPress’ default of lazy loading all images was causing slower performance on the Largest Contentful Paint metric (LCP) metric. This resulted in 30% faster page loads in some cases.

Four months ago, it was discovered that block themes were having an issue with lazy loading where the previous fix was not working as expected.

“With the introduction of block themes, that logic was not functioning correctly, resulting in all featured images to be lazy-loaded, regardless of whether it was the LCP image or not,” Arntz said in the commit message.

“Together with an update to the core/post-featured-image block included in [55079], this changeset fixes the logic to correctly handle featured images in block themes as well.

“Additionally, in combination with an update to the core/template-part block from [55246], this changeset includes an enhancement which uses the benefits of block template parts to avoid lazy-loading images in the header block template part, making the lazy-loading heuristics even more accurate for sites using a block theme.”

The fix, which is included in the 6.2 Beta 2 release, introduces enhanced logic to determine the LCP image in block themes and avoid lazy-loading it.

Provided everything stays on track, the official release is now just six weeks away, targeted for March 28, 2023.