In the media library every attachment post has an "Attached to" column. I've developed a plugin that adds author profile and a facebook like banner image.

I now discovered that the attachment posts, that are used as profile pictures, are not marked as "attached to".

I used a wordpress console plugin to get WP_Post objects of a linked and of an unlinked attachment. But I couldn't find any difference between them that I could use to set it manually.

Is there any way to set the attached ststus of attachment posts?

1 Answer 1


Attachments are attached to a parent post. So when you get an attachment object, look into $attachment->post_parent. If that is 0, the file is not attached.

The parent post ID refers always to another post in the posts table, never to an user. To attach the file to a user, you could create a hidden custom post type and one entry per user. But I don’t think it is worth the efforts. There is nothing wrong with unattached files.

To change the post_parent value use wp_update_post().

Pseudo-code, not tested:

$att = get_post( $attachment_id );
$att->post_parent = $new_parent_id;
wp_update_post( $att );
  • Ah. Okay, I see, thank you! Would there be a possibility to link an attachment to an author? Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 21:07
  • Not really. The post parent field is always just an integer, and that will be looked up in the posts table.
    – fuxia
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 21:08
  • @Julian, you could then attach your authors to a CPT.
    – brasofilo
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 21:10
  • @Julian See my update.
    – fuxia
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 21:14
  • I was afraid of that. I searched the hooks list, but couldn't find anything matching. Do you eventually know a hook that could be used to modify this information? Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 21:16

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