Upgrade with Helm

Follow this guide to upgrade and configure an Istio mesh using Helm for in-depth evaluation. This guide assumes you have already performed an installation with Helm for a previous minor or patch version of Istio.

The Helm charts used in this guide are the same underlying charts used when installing Istio via Istioctl or the Operator.

This feature is currently considered alpha.


  1. Download the Istio release.

  2. Perform any necessary platform-specific setup.

  3. Check the Requirements for Pods and Services.

  4. Install a Helm client with a version higher than 3.1.1.

The commands in this guide use the Helm charts that are included in the Istio release package located at manifests/charts.

Upgrade steps

Change directory to the root of the release package and then follow the instructions below.

Before upgrading Istio, it is recommended to run the istioctl x precheck command to make sure the upgrade is compatible with your environment.

$ istioctl x precheck
✔ No issues found when checking the cluster. Istio is safe to install or upgrade!
To get started, check out https://istio.io/latest/docs/setup/getting-started/

Create a backup

Before upgrading Istio in your cluster, we recommend creating a backup of your custom configurations, and restoring it from backup if necessary:

$ kubectl get istio-io --all-namespaces -oyaml > "$HOME"/istio_resource_backup.yaml

You can restore your custom configuration like this:

$ kubectl apply -f "$HOME"/istio_resource_backup.yaml

You can install a canary version of Istio control plane to validate that the new version is compatible with your existing configuration and data plane using the steps below:

  1. Install a canary version of the Istio discovery chart by setting the revision value:

    $ helm install istiod-canary manifests/charts/istio-control/istio-discovery \
        --set revision=canary \
        -n istio-system
  2. Verify that you have two versions of istiod installed in your cluster:

    $ kubectl get pods -l app=istiod -L istio.io/rev -n istio-system
      NAME                            READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE   REV
      istiod-5649c48ddc-dlkh8         1/1     Running   0          71m   default
      istiod-canary-9cc9fd96f-jpc7n   1/1     Running   0          34m   canary
  3. Follow the steps here to test or migrate existing workloads to use the canary control plane.

  4. Once you have verified and migrated your workloads to use the canary control plane, you can uninstall your old control plane:

    $ helm delete istiod -n istio-system

In place upgrade

You can perform an in place upgrade of Istio in your cluster using the Helm upgrade workflow.

  1. Upgrade the Istio base chart:

    $ helm upgrade istio-base manifests/charts/base -n istio-system
  2. Upgrade the Istio discovery chart:

    $ helm upgrade istiod manifests/charts/istio-control/istio-discovery \
        -n istio-system
  3. (Optional) Upgrade the Istio ingress or egress gateway charts if installed in your cluster:

    $ helm upgrade istio-ingress manifests/charts/gateways/istio-ingress \
        -n istio-system
    $ helm upgrade istio-egress manifests/charts/gateways/istio-egress \
        -n istio-system


Please refer to the uninstall section in our Helm install guide.

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