WordPress 3.7 "Basie" was released yesterday, and the key feature that will help the average website owner is background updates. I don't know about you, but when I first read about this the developer in me almost had a heart attack.
You see, Develare tests our client websites extensively before moving from major versions like WordPress 3.6 to 3.7. However, it quickly became apparent that the WordPress Team took a very sensible approach to self-updating feature.
By default, automatic updates will only occur for maintenance and security releases. For example, if a serious bug or security exploit is discovered the team at WordPress will issue a minor release. Then your site will automatically update itself from WordPress 3.7 to 3.7.1. Later on it will then upgrade itself from 3.7.1 to 3.7.2. What your site will not do is automatically update itself to version 3.8.
This is a very sensible approach, and one which we definitely endorse.
Configuring Background Updates
Have a particular use case? If you choose to, you can also disable the automatic updates. You can even configure WordPress to automatically update major revisions. Your choice.
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no friendly way to configure this in the WordPress Dashboard. In fact, at this time, the WordPress Codex, hasn't even been upgraded to reflect how to configure this new feature.
Don't worry, this article is here to help. If you want to change the default auto update behavior, you're going to need to get your hands dirty. That means you'll need to add some variables to your configuration file.
Copy only one of the following chunks of code to your wp-config.php file.
// Disables minor updates (No 3.7.0 => 3.7.1, etc...)
// Enable majors updates (3.7 => 3.8, 3.8 => 3.9, etc...)
define('WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );
Not too bad, right? If you've got cold feet or changed your mind, the remember the default behavior is equivalent to AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED being set to false. Simply remove these lines of code, and WordPress will revert to that behavior.