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.

Your persistent storage will be preserved by both automatic and manual upgrades.

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

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 USB stick. The upgrades are checked for and downloaded through Tor.

The advantages of this technique are the following:

  • You only need a single Tails USB stick. 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 USB image.
  • The upgrade mechanism includes cryptographic verification of the upgrade. You don't have to verify the USB image yourself anymore.

Requirements:

  • A Tails USB stick.
  • An Internet connection.

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

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 example, if you have a Tails 4.1 and the current version is 4.5, then the upgrade to 4.3 will be installed, and after you restart Tails, the upgrade to 4.5 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
  • problems that were solved
  • known issues that have already been identified

Troubleshooting

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

If your Tails USB stick fails to start after an automatic upgrade, see below how to do a manual upgrade.

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
  • problems that were solved
  • known issues that have already been identified

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 USB stick, etc.).
  • You want to upgrade from another Tails USB stick which already has a newer version installed, for example when working offline.
  • The automatic upgrade failed and you need to repair a Tails USB stick.

After connecting to Tor, a dialog informs you if you have to upgrade your USB stick using Tails Installer to a newer version of Tails.

To know your version of Tails, choose Applications ▸ Tails ▸ About Tails

To do a manual upgrade, you can either:

Upgrade by cloning from another Tails

If you know someone you trust who already did the upgrade, you can upgrade your Tails by cloning from their Tails.

You need:

  • Your Tails USB stick
  • Another up-to-date Tails (USB stick or DVD)
  • ¼ hour to upgrade

See our instructions on how to do a manual upgrade by cloning from another Tails.

Download and upgrade

You need:

  • Your Tails USB stick
  • Another empty USB stick (at least 8 GB) Why?
  • 1 hour to download Tails ( 1.2 GB )
  • ½ hour to upgrade

X

It is currently impossible to manually upgrade a Tails USB stick while running from itself. This scenario requires creating an intermediary Tails on another USB stick, from which to upgrade your Tails.

See our instructions on how to do a manual upgrade by downloading and upgrading inside Tails.