Rust is released to three different "channels": stable, beta, and nightly. The stable releases are made every 6 weeks (with occasional point releases). Beta releases are the version that will appear in the next stable release. Nightly releases are made every night. See The Rust Book for more details on Rust's train release model. The release schedule is posted to the Rust Forge. rustup assists with installing different channels, keeping them up-to-date, and easily switching between them.

After a release channel has been installed, rustup can be used to update the installed version to the latest release on that channel. See the Keeping rust up to date section for more information.

rustup can also install specific versions of Rust, such as 1.45.2 or nightly-2020-07-27. See the Toolchains chapter for more information on installing different channels and releases. See the Overrides chapter for details on switching between toolchains and pinning your project to a specific toolchain.

Working with nightly Rust

rustup gives you easy access to the nightly compiler and its experimental features. To add it just run rustup toolchain install nightly:

$ rustup toolchain install nightly
info: syncing channel updates for 'nightly'
info: downloading toolchain manifest
info: downloading component 'rustc'
info: downloading component 'rust-std'
info: downloading component 'rust-docs'
info: downloading component 'cargo'
info: installing component 'rustc'
info: installing component 'rust-std'
info: installing component 'rust-docs'
info: installing component 'cargo'

  nightly installed: rustc 1.9.0-nightly (02310fd31 2016-03-19)

Now Rust nightly is installed, but not activated. To test it out you can run a command from the nightly toolchain like

$ rustup run nightly rustc --version
rustc 1.9.0-nightly (02310fd31 2016-03-19)

But more likely you want to use it for a while. To switch to nightly globally, change the default with rustup default nightly:

$ rustup default nightly
info: using existing install for 'nightly'
info: default toolchain set to 'nightly'

  nightly unchanged: rustc 1.9.0-nightly (02310fd31 2016-03-19)

Now any time you run cargo or rustc you will be running the nightly compiler.

With nightly installed any time you run rustup update, the nightly channel will be updated in addition to stable:

$ rustup update
info: syncing channel updates for 'stable'
info: syncing channel updates for 'nightly'
info: checking for self-updates
info: downloading self-updates

   stable unchanged: rustc 1.7.0 (a5d1e7a59 2016-02-29)
  nightly unchanged: rustc 1.9.0-nightly (02310fd31 2016-03-19)

Nightly availability

Nightly toolchains may fail to build, so for any given date and target platform there may not be a toolchain available. Furthermore, nightly builds may be published with missing non-default components (such as clippy). As such, it can be difficult to find fully-working nightlies. Use the rustup-components-history project to find the build status of recent nightly toolchains and components.

When you attempt to install or update the nightly channel, rustup will check if a required or previously installed component is missing. If it is missing, rustup will automatically search for an older release that contains the required components. There are several ways to change this behavior:

  • Use the --force flag to rustup toolchain install to force it to install the most recent version even if there is a missing component.
  • Use the --profile flag to rustup toolchain install to use a different profile that does not contain the missing component. For example, --profile=minimal should always work, as the minimal set is required to exist. See the Profiles chapter for more detail.
  • Install a specific date that contains the components you need. For example, rustup toolchain install nightly-2020-07-27. You can then use overrides to pin to that specific release.