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by Michael P. Hill September 21, 2016

If there’s one necessary evil when it comes to Shopify themes, it’s theme updates.

You can almost hear the collective moan of store owners when you say “theme update.”

Theme updates, such as the ones Out of the Sandbox recently released for Mobilia and Responsive, not only add new features to your Shopify store, but also contain other important behind-the-scenes code updates.

However, unlike other platforms such as WordPress, Shopify doesn’t have a nearly automatic way to easily update your theme from one version to the next, without some effort on your behalf.

On Shopify, even though all products, collections and custom data remains safe during a theme update, theme settings don’t carry over from one version of a theme to another — with Shopify, upgrading your theme is essentially like installing a whole new theme!

No more.

Out of the Sandbox is now the first and only Shopify theme developer to provide an app that carries over all of your theme settings including your colors, fonts, and images.

The new Out of the Sandbox Shopify Theme Updater app is completely free and lets you seamlessly upgrade settings from one version of any of our Shopify themes to a newer version of the same one.

What the Theme Updater app does...

So, what exactly does get carried over by the app?

Basically, the app carries over all of the settings under “Sales Channels > Online Store > Themes > Customize theme.” This includes color options, fonts, content module assignments, homepage layout, social media links, blog settings, collection page options and more.

Previously, updating a theme would require you to manually carry over every single one of these settings one by one.

… and what it doesn’t.

Unfortunately, there are some aspects that the theme updater app won’t carry over at this time — namely any customizations that have been made directly to the theme’s HTML, JavaScript, Liquid and CSS files.

While it’s always best to avoid customizing the code of your theme if at all possible, there are some tricks to making customizations easier to update, even manually.

Any custom templates or snippets you’ve created won’t carry over either.

You’ll also need to verify if you need to reinstall any apps after upgrading.

The app also doesn't handle language files.

Take full advantage of this app: rethink your customizations

With the release of the Shopify Theme Updater app, you can now upgrade your theme with just a few clicks — which makes it even more important to carefully consider whether customizing theme code or using a third party app is really worth it or not.

Code customization and apps can be very powerful, but it’s also easy to overload your store with too many apps and get carried away with customizations.

Having a faster, more convenient way to upgrade your theme nearly seamlessly makes it all the more important to carefully evaluate every customization and every app you use and whether it’s worth having to upgrade all those custom changes you’ve made manually, when you could otherwise have your store upgrade automatically via the app.

All that said, it’s certainly understandable that customizations and apps can bring tremendous value to your store. Even though these customizations still have to be carried over manually, keep in mind that the Out of the Sandbox Shopify Theme Updater app is still a great way to carry over all of your configured theme settings.

This can be a valuable way to clear up time to focus on updating any customizations or apps code that needs to be done manually.

Because literally copying settings from one theme version to another is rather mundane and time-consuming, it’s our hope that the Shopify Theme Updater app can at least take that burden off your plate.

For more about the theme updater, including frequently asked questions, please see this support center article.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn.

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