Tails includes an automatic mechanism to upgrade a USB stick to a newer version. In some cases, it is impossible to do an automatic upgrade and you might have to do a manual upgrade. This page describes both techniques.

Our upgrades always fix important security issues so it is important to do them as soon as possible.

Both techniques only work if the upgraded device, USB stick or SD card, was installed using Tails Installer. The persistent storage on the device will be preserved.

If you use Tails from a DVD, you need to burn a new DVD.

If you use Tails from a USB stick installed from Mac OS X using the command line, you need to reinstall.

Automatic upgrade using Tails Upgrader

After starting Tails and connecting to Tor, Tails Upgrader automatically checks if upgrades are available and then proposes you to upgrade your device. The upgrades are checked for and downloaded through Tor.

The advantages of this technique are the following:

  • You only need a single Tails device. The upgrade is done on the fly from a running Tails. After upgrading, you can restart and use the new version.
  • The upgrade is much smaller to download than a full ISO image.
  • The upgrade mechanism includes cryptographic verification of the upgrade. You don't have to verify the ISO image yourself anymore.

Requirements:

  • A Tails device, USB stick or SD card, installed using Tails Installer.
  • An Internet connection.

After connecting to Tor, if an upgrade is available, a dialog box appears and proposes you to upgrade your device.

  • It is recommended to close all the open applications during the upgrade.
  • Downloading the upgrade might take a long time, from several minutes to a few hours.
  • The networking will be disabled after downloading the upgrade.

If you decide to do the upgrade, click on Upgrade now, and follow the assistant through the upgrade process.

If you missed an upgrade, each upgrade will be installed one after the other. For exemple, if you have a Tails 1.3 and the current version is 1.3.2, then the upgrade to 1.3.1 will be installed, and after you restart Tails, the upgrade to 1.3.2 will be installed.

If you cannot upgrade at startup (for example if you have no network connection by then), you can start Tails Upgrader later by opening a terminal and executing the following command:

tails-upgrade-frontend-wrapper

We recommend you read the release notes for the latest version. They document all the changes in this new version:

  • new features
  • bugs that were solved
  • known issues that have already been identified

They might also contain special instructions for upgrading.

If an error occurs, the assistant proposes you to read one of the following pages:

Manual upgrade using Tails Installer

We recommend you read the release notes for the latest version. They document all the changes in this new version:

  • new features
  • bugs that were solved
  • known issues that have already been identified

They might also contain special instructions for upgrading.

If you use Tails from a DVD, you need to burn a new DVD.

If you use Tails from a USB stick installed from Mac OS X using the command line, you need to reinstall.

It might not always be possible to do an automatic upgrade as described above. For example, when:

  • No automatic upgrade is available from our website for this version.
  • The automatic upgrade is impossible for technical reasons (not enough memory, not enough free space on the device, etc.).
  • You want to upgrade from another Tails device which already has a newer version installed, for example when working offline.
  • The automatic upgrade failed and you need to repair a Tails device.

In that case, Tails Installer allows you to manually upgrade a USB stick or SD card to a newer version of Tails.

For upgrading manually, we recommend you try our new manual upgrade instructions. The following sections are the old instructions, provided as a fallback.

Using Tails Installer you can either:

Like for installing, you need to start Tails Installer from another media than the device that you want to upgrade.

Upgrade by cloning

  1. Start Tails from the DVD, USB stick, or SD card, that you want to clone from.

  2. Choose Applications ▸ Tails ▸ Tails Installer to start Tails Installer.

  3. Choose Upgrade by cloning.

  4. Plug the device that you want to upgrade.

    A new device, which corresponds to the USB stick or SD card, appears in the Target Device drop-down list.

  5. Choose the device from the Target Device drop-down list.

  6. To start the upgrade, click on the Install Tails button.

  7. Read the warning message in the pop-up window. Click on the Yes button to confirm.

Upgrade from ISO

  1. Start Tails from another DVD, USB stick, or SD card, than the device that you want to upgrade.

  2. Choose Applications ▸ Tails ▸ Tails Installer to start Tails Installer.

  3. Choose Upgrade from ISO.

  4. Plug the device that you want to upgrade.

    A new device, which corresponds to the USB stick or SD card, appears in the Target Device drop-down list.

  5. Choose the device from the Target Device drop-down list.

  6. Click on the Browse button to specify the location of the ISO image.

    If the ISO image is saved on another media, plug it if necessary and click on the corresponding device in the Places column.

    If the ISO image is stored in a persistent volume, the corresponding device appears first as Encrypted. Click on the device and, in the popup window, enter the passphrase to unlock it.

  7. Read the warning message in the pop-up window. Click on the Yes button to confirm.