Why can’t I update the Genesis Framework?

The Genesis Framework has added some nifty new features starting with version 3.0 (that version was released June 19, 2019. You can check the official Genesis Changelog to find out what version of Genesis has been most recently released).

For instance, WordPress site owners can now customize several parts of their sites that previously required plugins or code snippets:

In order to take advantage of all of these new features, you must update Genesis to version 3.2 or later.

How to find out what version of Genesis your site is using

Method 1: Visit your Dashboard. In the very first section, labeled “At a Glance”, there will be a description of what theme you’re using.

WordPress Dashboard At-a-Glance panel, showing the active theme version

Method 2: Visit Appearance –> Themes, hover over the Genesis panel, click Theme Details, and look for the version number in the popup window that appears.

Genesis Framework panel on the Appearance --> Themes screen
Theme Details button that appears when you hover over the Genesis panel on the Appearance --> Themes screen
Clicking the Theme Details button shows what version of the Genesis Framework your site is using

If your Genesis version is lower than 3

If you are using an outdated version of Genesis, but you are not seeing an available update (at the top of your admin screen or in Dashboard –> Updates), first check to see whether you have update notifications turned on.

To do this, visit Appearance –> Customize –> Theme Settings –> Updates. This setting contains one checkbox, which must be checked to allow your WordPress site to look for available Genesis updates. If the box is not checked, check it and click the blue “Publish” button (which doesn’t publish anything new to your site, it’s just a poorly labeled “Save Changes” button).

With this box checked, your site dashboard will display a notification when a new version is available, and Genesis updates will appear in Dashboard –> Updates. If you don’t log into your site very often, you can add your email address to be notified when a new version is released.

Genesis Updates checkbox in the WordPress customizer

Is your child theme compatible with Genesis 3.0?

If you have “Check for Updates” turned on and saved, and you’re still not seeing an available update even though your site is using a pre-3.0 version of Genesis, you may be using an older child theme that is not compatible with newer versions of Genesis.

Child themes that use a coding standard called XHTML will break your site’s formatting if Genesis is updated to version 3.0 or later, so the Genesis Framework is smart enough to not even show you the possibility of an update.

Only child themes that use a newer coding standard called HTML5 are compatible with Genesis 3.0 and later. All of the child themes currently available for sale on the StudioPress website use HTML5, but some child themes that were formerly sold there used the old XHTML standard.

Here’s a list of XHTML Genesis child themes that were formerly available on the StudioPress website, but have been discontinued. If you’re using one of these child themes, you will need to switch to a newer HTML5 child theme in order to update your version of Genesis:

  • Agency 1.0
  • Agency 2.0
  • AgentPress 1.0
  • AgentPress 2.1
  • Amped
  • Apparition
  • Associate
  • Backcountry
  • Balance
  • Bee Crafty
  • Blissful
  • Corporate
  • Corporate 1.1
  • Crystal
  • Decor
  • Delicious
  • Education 1.0
  • Education 2.0
  • eleven40 1.1
  • eleven40 Pro Theme
  • Enterprise 1.0
  • Executive 1.0
  • Executive 2.0
  • Expose 1.0
  • Fabric
  • Family Tree
  • Focus 1.0
  • Freelance
  • Generate
  • Genesis Sample 2.2.2
  • Going Green 1.0
  • Going Green 2.0
  • Landscape
  • Lexicon
  • Lifestyle 1.1
  • Lifestyle 2.0.2
  • Luscious
  • Magazine 1.0
  • Magazine 2.1
  • Manhattan
  • Metric
  • Metro 1.0
  • Midnight
  • Mindstream
  • Minimum 1.0
  • Minimum 2.0
  • Mocha
  • Mocha 1.0
  • News 1.1
  • News 2.1
  • Nitrous
  • Outreach 1.0
  • Outreach 2.0.1
  • Pixel Happy
  • Platinum
  • Pretty Pictures
  • Pretty Young Thing
  • Prose
  • Prose 1.0
  • Quattro
  • Scribble
  • Serenity
  • Venture

If you’re using a Genesis child theme made by a third-party developer (i.e. not StudioPress), you may need to ask that developer whether the child theme uses HTML5 or if there is a newer HTML5 version available.

Special note if you are using the Dynamik Website Builder by Cobalt Apps

This child theme is fully compatible with the newest version of Genesis, but you might need to check the box labeled “Activate Genesis HTML5 Markup” on the Dynamik –> Settings –> General Settings screen.

Genesis HTML5 markup setting in Dynamik Settings

This box should be checked by default, but if your website has been using Dynamik for more than a few years, there’s a chance you installed it before that default behavior was established. The Cobalt Apps blog has a detailed description of how to fix HTML5-related issues with Dynamik.