This page covers the basics of theme updates in Shopify. The benefits, the costs, and what it means to “update your theme.” Over time, new Shopify features are released by the platform, theme designs get tweaked by us, (bugs get fixed and many improvements are made). All themes are worked on by their creators in this way and when ready, new versions are released to download from the Shopify themes store as an “update”. All downloaded updates contain completely fresh code files.
You want your store to be running the most up-to-date version of the theme, right? Of course, you do! Is it worth the time and effort to get the latest theme up and running? That depends on a number of factors which are outlined in the page below.
How to update your theme
Updating your theme is always a manual process which only you, the merchant, can do – it’s never automatic. Only the single most up to date theme version is available to install from the Shopify themes store. With the Shopify platform, you install the new version of your theme, manually copy your settings from one theme to another in the theme editor, and then start using the new theme.
Here’s the process in detail:
- Create a backup copy of your existing theme. (It’s always best practice to have a backup).
- Visit the Shopify Themes Store and log in. For paid themes, it is important to log in to the account that you used to buy the theme. This will prevent you from being asked to buy the theme again.
- Use the top bar search box to find your theme.
- On the search results page, click your theme.
- Click ‘Add latest theme version’ or ‘Add theme’.
- This adds the latest version of the theme as an unpublished theme so you can now customise it and prepare everything before publishing. Your current published theme will not be affected in any way as all installed themes are stored in isolated ‘slots’ which are totally separate from each other.
- When you publish your new theme, your old theme will be moved and saved in an unpublished slot, so if for any reason you need to publish it again in future, all its settings will be the same as before. (Apps may not be, depending on how they integrate and interact with the theme).
Updating your theme. A step-by-step guide to speed up the process:
Do themes auto-update in the background?
You can read more on Shopify’s ‘Updating themes’ page here.
How do I know which version of the theme I am using?
In the theme editor area, head here:
1. Admin > Online Store > Themes > Customize
2. In the top left-hand side of your screen, click the three little dots
3. An additional panel appears where you will see your theme version details
Will I need to upload all my images again?
Any images you upload to Shopify get automatically saved in its ‘Files‘ section. You will be able to see these previously uploaded images and choose from them inside certain theme editor area sections.
Will my custom code/app settings carry over?
Any settings created and applied inside an app itself will remain untouched, but any code that was manually added by you, (or automatically by apps), will need to be added to the new version of the theme. Some apps may auto-add their code to your freshly installed files, but others may require manually adding this back in, within the theme’s code. You will need to reach out to any app developer directly to get assistance with this process for their app as they all operate differently. We do not offer any support when it comes to adding app code.
Do I have to update my theme?
You can continue to use your current theme without ever updating it, but it’s recommended you allocate time into your maintenance plans to upgrade at least once every 12-18 months.
I’m using a trial version of my theme and can’t see any of the new updated features. Do I need to delete and re-download the theme?
Shopify allows you to have one trial of a theme installed. If a new update is released and you still have the older trial version installed, to get the new update you will need to delete this and re-download the new theme version. There isn’t a way to transfer over your old changes at this time. This is a Shopify platform limitation rather than being theme-specific.
Can I see exactly how you have improved your theme’s features over time?
We have theme ‘changelogs’ available which list all changes and iterations to our themes. These changelogs are updated as and when new theme releases are available.
- Showcase Changelog
- Symmetry Changelog
- Boost Changelog
- Canopy Changelog
- Expression Changelog
- Alchemy Changelog
- Masonry Changelog
Is a theme update free?
Absolutely! If you have purchased the theme, all subsequent, future updates are completely free.
Can Clean Canvas install my theme update for me?
We don’t offer a theme update service for individual stores, but you can hire a Shopify expert to take care of this for you.
Other Shopify developers: https://experts.shopify.com/developers
The Job Board: https://community.shopify.com/c/Shopify-Ecommerce-Jobs/bd-p/shopify-job-board
Specific tasks: https://experts.shopify.com/services/development-and-troubleshooting