I have written a WordPress theme which uses the customizer a lot. I would like to de-register the widgets panel (I have my reasons). Currently, I'm doing this:

 * Our class for altering the WP theme customizer.
class LXB_AF_Customize {

    public function __construct() {


        add_action( 'customize_register', array( $this, 'remove_items' ), 980 );




    // We're gonna output widgets elsewhere, so we don't need the core widgets panel.
    function remove_items( $wp_customize ) {


        @$wp_customize -> remove_panel( 'widgets' );



Which is instantiated in the global scope via:

 * Setup the Theme Customizer settings and controls.
function lxb_af_customizer_init() {
    new LXB_AF_Customize();
add_action( 'init' , 'lxb_af_customizer_init' );

This triggers a doing_it_wrong error from core, here: https://github.com/WordPress/WordPress/blob/master/wp-includes/class-wp-customize-manager.php#L1212

That message suggests that I instead use customize_loaded_components:


However, as noted on that docs page, customize_loaded_components does not seem to work when invoked from a theme. I can only get it to work from a plugin. In my situation, I don't want to require any particular plugin to be active, in order to use my theme.

Any suggestions?

  • Just an idea, if you unregister_sidebar() any widget areas that have been created, will this take care of it? I know this hides the Widget menu option under Themes, just not sure about how it affects the Customizer.
    – Tim Malone
    May 2, 2016 at 21:39
  • I want to use the sidebars eventually, I'm just using them in a different part of the customizer. (I'm nesting them into different panels for header/main/footer, because I have tons of sidebars and it's overwhelming to have them all top-level). May 4, 2016 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


Since WordPress 4.5, there is a new warning regarding the use of remove_panel with core components (at the moment 'nav_menus' and 'widgets').

The warning states:

Removing WP_Customize_Manager::remove_panel manually will cause PHP warnings. Use the customize_loaded_components filter instead.

Apparently it was added because of some php and javascript errors that seemed to be occurring in WordPress releases from 4.0 to 4.5, when plugins and/or themes were giving contradictory orders, like one trying to modify the widgets panel after another had removed it before.

The warning suggestion, however, is not valid for themes, since customize_loaded_components is fired before them. So this hook called from a theme just won't have place in the right moment of the processing queue and will have no effect.

For 'nav_menus' there is this workaround, which doesn't seem to work for widgets:

$wp_customize->get_panel( 'nav_menus' )->active_callback = '__return_false';

There might be a method to remove the widgets panel effectively without the warning getting printed. But for a general, public usage, it just seems to be against the best practices to remove any of those core components from within a theme.

  • Thank you for the suggestion! I appreciate that. However, does that differ from what I'm currently doing, detailed in my original question, which generates a php warning? Looks exactly the same to me. May 2, 2016 at 17:09
  • @ScottFennell, I'm sorry, I completely misread the question. After reading the title, I thought you were actually using customize_loaded_components. I have updated my answer.
    – Luis Sanz
    May 2, 2016 at 21:30

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