In This Article
- Why should you update your theme?
- Tips for using the Theme Updater App
- Manual Theme Updates (Updating a theme without the Theme Updater App)
- Theme Changelogs
Why should you update your theme?
All of our themes are robust and well-maintained, and we regularly release upgrades that offer new features and functionality and bug fixes.
Check out our blog article that goes into tons of details on why you should be keeping your theme up to date.
In order to advantage of these updates, we recommend using our Theme Updater App!
The official Shopify Theme Updater Shopify App by Out of the Sandbox is the easiest, fastest and most convenient way to update your theme. Once you have the Theme Updater App installed, when a theme update is released, you should receive an email containing a new download link and upgrade instructions. If for some reason you do not receive it, please contact our Merchant Success Team.
This app exclusively supports Out of the Sandbox and Pixel Unions themes.
Quick tips about the Theme Updater App
- Theme upgrades are always optional but highly recommended
- The theme upgrade will duplicate your theme settings and apply them to the updated theme. The updated theme will not replace your published theme, but will be available as an unpublished theme (which you can choose to publish when you are ready!)
- Please note that if you decide not to update your theme and begin experiencing difficulties with your theme, we may not be able to provide support for the issue, especially if it has been resolved in a subsequent version. In these cases, you may be able to hire a developer to help you resolve the issue.
- More questions? See our Theme Updater FAQ page
Important note if you are using a "pre-section" theme version: If you are updating an older theme between any of these version ranges, you will need to rebuild your homepage after the update. To learn how to determine what version you are using, click here.
Out of the Sandbox 'pre-section' theme versions:
Parallax 1.0 - 2.4.4
Retina 1.0 - 3.2.3
Mobilia 1.0 - 4.4.4
Responsive 1.0 - 5.2
Turbo 1.0 - 1.2.5
Pixel Union 'pre-section' theme versions:
Atlantic theme versions older than 10.0
Editions theme versions older than 8.0
Grid theme versions older than 2.0
Launch theme versions older than 2.0
Pacific theme versions older than 2.0
Startup theme versions older than 7.0
After updating from a theme in the version ranges above, your unpublished homepage will appear be replaced with "dummy" content that you will need to configure before going live.
Once you are using 'section-based' theme, rebuilding the homepage each time you update is no longer necessary in most cases when using our theme updater app.
For Out of the Sandbox themes this includes: Parallax 3.0+, Retina 4.0+, Mobilia 5.0+, Responsive 6.0+, Turbo 2.0+, Artisan 1.0+, and Flex 1.0+.
For Pixel Union themes this includes: Atlantic 10.0+, Empire 1.0+, Grid 2.0+, Handy 1.0+, Launch 2.0+, Pacific 2.0+, Reach 1.0+, Startup 7.0+, Vogue 1.0+, and Superstore 1.0+.
Upgrades and new styles
When a new theme style is released, there is no way to add the new style without installing a fresh copy of the theme. The Theme Updater App will updated your code, but cannot added new styles at this time. How can I use a new theme style that has been released?
Manual Theme Updates
Updating to the latest version without the Theme Updater App is a manual process. This approach involves three main steps:
- Retrieving the new theme version
- Transferring content from the previous version
- Publishing the new version
Get the new theme version
If you purchased your theme directly from the Out of the Sandbox website:
Our Theme Updater App now includes the ability to install a fresh download of the most recent version of your registered theme. This feature is available for all plans (Basic, Pro, Expired/No plan). You do not need to be on a subscription plan in order to obtain a fresh download of your theme, just follow these steps:
Step 1: Install the Theme Updater App
Step 2: Register your theme
Step 3: Within the Theme Updater App, click the 'Actions' button for your theme and select the 'Install Default Theme' option from the drop-down menu:
Step 4: You can type in a new theme name and click the 'Install' button.
This version will contain only the default configuration with no customizations. It will be installed as a new, unpublished theme in your shop.
Note: If you happen to still have your original order confirmation email containing the download link, you can also use that to download a default theme file.
If you purchased your theme from the Shopify Theme Store:
If you bought the theme through the Shopify, then you can also visit the Themes Store while logged into your Shopify account (must be logged into the same shop that you originally purchased the theme), locate your theme, and click on Add latest version.
The blank theme will be added to the Themes page of your Shopify admin for you to carry over content manually.
Transfer content to the latest version
The new version is in its default state. Before publishing the theme, content must be transferred to the new theme to match the previous settings, appearance, customizations, etc.
Update theme settings
Open the theme editor for both versions of the theme in separate windows (to do this, right-click the Customize link next to each theme, then select Open in new tab).
By placing them side-by-side in separate windows, you can go section by section and match the settings, copy, and content.
To match Colors settings, for instance, click on the swatch. In the bottom right of the popup modal, you'll see a six-value code. Copy this code and paste it into the matching color field in the new version.
Migrate custom code
Next, you'll need to migrate any custom code added to your Liquid files. Ideally, custom code will be documented so you can easily find it. However, if this is not the case, you can use the file comparison tool Diffchecker to help you remember where you've added custom code.
Follow the link to Diffchecker. Copy and paste the liquid file that you believe had custom code added to it into the Original Text field. Then copy and paste the corresponding file of the new version into the Changed Text field. Click Find Difference.
In the Original Text field, any code that does not appear in the Changed Text field will be highlighted in red (this will include changes we've made to the theme, but of course you only need to worry about copying over custom code additions you've made).
Prepare for future updates
For any custom code carried over or future additions made, adding a comment that is easily searchable allows you to search and locate any custom code quickly when making future updates. Comments will not affect the code. Simply add <!-- and --> on either side of your comment, like so:
<!-- This is a comment. Custom code.-->
Be specific in your comment—add a note for the purpose, date, author, etc.
If you're adding code to the styles.scss.liquid file, we recommend inserting it at the bottom of the page.
Any apps that add code to your theme's files may need to be reinstalled, depending on the app developer. You'll need to find the app documentation to follow the installation instructions. If you're unsure how, you can go to Apps and click View details to find the support email for that Shopify app.
Please note that our theme support team does not support third-party apps.
Publishing the new version
Once you've migrated all your settings and custom code, you're set to go. Hit Publish on the new version of the theme.
Tips and Best Practices for alternative method:
- have your current site open in a separate window or take a few screenshots as a visual reference
- have all your image files (logo, favicon, banner pictures) easily accessible in a local folder so that when you need to add those again through the theme customizer, you can find and upload them easily
- make a note of all of your social media account links and information (user names, client #, etc.) so that they're easy to copy and paste from one place
- set up a simple text document that includes as much info as possible about all the current theme settings that you want to reproduce, including any colors and fonts you've used throughout the current site (e.g. button color = #f9068f, Headline text = Google web font 'Lato', 20px, etc.); it's often easier to refer to the one document rather than switching back and forth between the theme customizer of the current site and the theme customizer of the new one in preview mode
- if you've made any changes or additions to your actual theme files (styles.scss.liquid, index.liquid, etc.) see if you can locate and make note of these in a separate text file, so that you can reproduce them all in the new version (a ‘changelog’ like this is a good thing to maintain at all times, as it will help you keep track of all your customizations and make any future upgrades easier!)
- as you customize your new theme upgrade, work your way from the top down, starting with the top bar/header section: re-add your logo and favicon, then re-add your images in the Home Page / Home Page Slider sections, and then deal with the fonts and colors, and finally the newsletter and social media info
Finally, don't forget that you can also take this opportunity of the theme upgrade to change things up a bit in your shop (add some new pictures, try out some new colors, etc.) and take your time; just keep working in preview mode and then when you're finally ready to make the switch, hit the 'Publish' button!
FAQ for the alternative method:
Q: Can I switch to the new theme automatically, without losing my customizations?
A: Unfortunately not, you will need to apply (reproduce) all your custom edits in the new theme manually. This only applies if you are using the alternative method - your theme settings and basic customizations will be carried over if you use the Theme Updater app.
Q: Can I selectively add features from the updated theme to my current theme?
A: It would require additional development to selectively add an individual feature and is not recommended. We also have a list of recommended Shopify Experts.
View more Frequently Asked Questions about our Theme Updater App
If you're curious and wondering what's been included in each theme update, you can view our Changelogs. The Changelogs list features/enhancements/improvements/bug fixes that have been included in each release!