About Canvas Release Notes (FAQ)

Document created by jivedocs@instructure.com Employee on Jun 13, 2018Last modified by Erin Hallmark on Jan 7, 2019
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Canvas release notes maintain a current list of features and changes that will be deployed in a given Canvas release. All features listed in the release notes will be available as part of the production release unless otherwise noted.

Release notes do not indicate features that are currently in development or could be in development. Such features may be noted and explored in Ideas.


Changes described in the release apply to Canvas as accessed through a full, desktop browser and may be tested in your institution’s beta environment. Beta environments are refreshed weekly on Saturdays. 



Unlike traditional software, Canvas updates on a regular cadence identified by release date, not a version number. Updates are deployed every three weeks. For more information about the Canvas release process, please see the Canvas release schedule.


Feature Changes

Features are subject to change based on user feedback and QA testing.

  • Some features may only be available in the beta environment as indicated in the release notes. Production availability will be announced at a later date based on user feedback. 
  • Some features may be deployed to production before the scheduled release. Such changes are indicated in the release notes for the specified feature.
  • Canvas engineers may also modify or add additional code to the beta environment after the initial beta deploy. Modifications to the release notes are indicated in the Change Log section at the end of each release notes document.


Feature Limitations

All features are available for testing in the beta environment before the production deploy unless otherwise indicated. 

  • Note: Not all features are or will be supported in the beta environment.


Account-level features are not available in Free-for-Teacher accounts unless otherwise indicated.


Feature Testing

Unless otherwise indicated, all features in the release notes are available for testing in the Canvas beta environment. After the production deploy, all features will be available in the Test environment as well.


For more information on these environments, please see What is the Canvas beta environment? and What is the Canvas test environment? 


Feature Options

Some features are available in Canvas as feature options, which may either be enabled by a Canvas admin in Account Settings or by a Canvas Customer Success Manager as indicated. 


Feature options are features that may change the workflow for common activities in Canvas during an institution's current term and allows Canvas admins to enable the feature based on their preferred timeline. However, most feature options are meant to be temporary—after a specified period of time, some feature options may become standard features in Canvas. Feature options that will become enforced for all institutions will be indicated in the release notes with adequate advanced notice.


For details about how to enable feature options, please see How do I manage new features for an account? and How do I manage new features for a course?


Mobile App Feature Availability

Not all features will apply to mobile apps, and some functionality may be implemented in mobile apps at a later date. Mobile features are updated and announced separately according to app (Student, Teacher, Parent) and platform (iOS, Android) in the Mobile release notes.


Release Notes Feedback

The Canvas product team welcomes feedback according to Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines. Release notes comments are subject to release notes comment policies.


Flash Content Reminder

Chrome and Firefox use HTML5 to display website content, promoting a faster, more secure browsing experience. HTML5 is not supported in Microsoft and Safari browsers, and content must still be used via Flash. For best performance in Canvas, course content should be designed to support HTML5. Any affected content in Microsoft and Safari browsers can still be accessed by manually allowing permission for flash content in the browser.


Advanced CSS and JavaScript Users

Canvas releases may include undocumented changes that affect styles and code in custom applications. Please make sure to view your Beta environment for any customization conflicts.