There are various hardware devices on the market that you can choose to keep your Bitcoins safe. You got Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey and there are many other wallets. Whichever wallet you choose; the whole setup process and the way these wallet works are all the same.
When you initially setup the hardware wallet you’ll be asked to write down the mnemonic seed / recovery phrase. This is the backup phrase that contains all the information you need to restore / recover your wallet. The recovery seed phrase can be 12, 18 or 24 words depending on the wallet. Writing this down and securing the backup phrase is the most important step. We hope you have safely backed up your recovery seed.
In case if you’ve lost your hardware wallet or if the device fails you can buy a new one and restore the wallet completely using your backup seed phrase. The best part is you don’t need to buy the same hardware wallet. In fact you don’t even need a hardware wallet. Just find any BIP39 compatible wallet and enter your recovery phrase. Your wallet will be back.
But please be aware of the security risks when using software wallet. You should only use such wallets temporarily until you get a new device. Once the new device arrives, setup a new wallet, generate a new seed and then transfer all your coins to your hardware wallet.
Alright! So now you got your hardware wallet, activated it, copied down the recovery seed and transferred all your coins. But you are not sure if you’ve copied it down correctly. Don’t worry. Most wallets got recovery check option to check the backup. And here let’s see how to check recovery seed on Ledger device.
Recovery check – Ledger Nano
On Trezor suite you have backup check option which performs a stimulated recovery to test your backup. Similarly Ledger also has got the recovery check feature to test the seed.
Here is how to check mnemonic seed backup on Ledger device. That is testing the 24 word seed without wiping the Ledger Nano device or moving the funds.
Test / Check mnemonic seed backup on Ledger device
Things you’ll need:
Recovery check step by step
To test the recovery seed saved on your Ledger device you’ll need to install Recovery check app. This app can be installed from Ledger live manager.
Step 1: Installing recovery check application
1. Open Ledger Live app and navigate to Manager menu.
2. Connect and unlock your device. (Use the regular PIN code and not the passphrase activated secondary PIN).
3. Once connected allow ledger live manager on your device.
4. Now on Ledger Live app catalog search for Recovery Check app and install it.
If you cannot install then uninstall some apps to free up your device storage space. This will not affect your crypto. Once the recover check is done you can remove recovery check app and install those app back.
Step 2: Initiate recovery check
- On your Ledger device navigate to recovery check app and open it.
- Again tap both the buttons to check your recovery phrase.
- Next choose the recovery phrase length (24, 18 or 12 words) and press both buttons to confirm.
Step 3: Enter your recovery phrase
- Start entering the words in order.
- Use the two buttons to navigate and choose the first letter of word#1. Press both the buttons to confirm.
- Then choose the second letter of word#1. Press both buttons to select the letter. Do this until the device shows you the list of suggested words. Navigate and press both the button to choose the 1st word.
- Now repeat the process for each word of your 12, 18 or 24 word recovery phrase.
Once you enter all the words correctly ledger device should display “Phrase is correct”.
That’s it! Testing is complete. You got the recovery phrase right and now all you need to do is store it in a safe place.
Here is a video Tutorial:
Once you’ve checked the mnemonic seed backup you can uninstall the recovery check app from your device. The app is quite big and is unnecessary after the recovery check is complete.
Incorrect recovery phrase
If you can’t get the recovery phrase right then here are few things to check.
- If your device is passphrase protected then you might access it through a secondary PIN code. You cannot check the recovery phrase when the device is passphrase enabled. Make sure you are using regular PIN code and perform recovery check again.
- Recovery seed phrase length varies. Depending on your wallet initial setup it can be either 12, 18 or 24 words. Make sure to choose the correct recovery phrase length.
- Finally verify the words and the order you entered matches with the one you have on your recovery sheet.
Lost seed word
If you still can’t get your recovery phrase right or if you are unable to find your mnemonic seed of your Ledger device then here is what you need to do.
If you have a secondary Nano s or any other hardware wallet then setup a new wallet by generating a new seed and send all your coins over to that one. Make sure to save the recovery phrase well this time.
What If I don’t have a backup wallet?
Use the PIN code, access your wallet and transfer all the coins to your exchange account immediately. Or to a software wallet.
Why immediately? Because you are basically just a hardware failure away from losing all your assets. Just by using the PIN you cannot access your recovery phrase. Moreover you only get 3 attempts on Ledger device. If you enter incorrect PIN more than three times then the device will reset automatically.
So move all your coins / tokens ASAP.
Once moved reset your Ledger device completely, create a new seed word and then transfer them back to your Ledger Nano S.
From now on whenever you update your device firmware or if you are resetting the device to factory setting perform recovery check first. This way you can verify that you’ve the correct recovery phrase.