I'm following these instructions on how to boot Tails on my Mac using a USB: https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/usb/index.en.html

I've downloaded the intermediary Tails on to my USB and can successfully boot into Tails on my Mac. Part of the instructions (5/7) is to install the final Tails using Tails Installer. My question is why I must install the final Tails. If I can successfully boot into Tails on my USB with the intermediary Tails then what is the purpose of installing the final Tails?

Note- I'm not using Tails seriously. I'm trying to understand how the software works because it's interesting.

1 Answer 1


Because the first USB was created in a non-tails operating system. It's an extra security measure.

Creating the final USB ensures that it won't be tainted with anything from the host OS you created the USB from.

From the official site regarding MacOS install:

As it is currently impossible to install Tails directly from macOS, this scenario requires creating an intermediary Tails on a second USB stick. This intermediary Tails lacks important security and usability features.

  • If I just use the USB with the intermediary Tails, am I able to do almost everything that the final Tails could do? I'm only looking to navigate around Tails for curiosity purposes anyway.
    – B. Boe
    Nov 24, 2017 at 18:38
  • Tails doesn't make it clear what is missing on the intermediary USB. I would personally go through all the steps As a rule of thumb... even in testing/sandbox environments, always try to mimic production (real world) as much as possible which means go through the whole procedure even if just playing around.
    – emmdee
    Nov 24, 2017 at 18:42
  • Ahh okay that makes sense now. Thanks for the info!
    – B. Boe
    Nov 24, 2017 at 18:53

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