Doing a proper backup of your Ledger Nano S, Ledger Nano X, or Ledger Blue hardware wallet’s recovery seed is a very important step when investing in bitcoin or cryptocurrencies in general, because having an accurate backup gives you access to your funds if ever you lose or break your hardware wallet.

Here’s a guide on how to properly backup your wallet’s recovery seed to be ready for potential wallet problems in the future.

NOTE: This guide is for people who are setting up their hardware wallet for the first time. If you’ve set up a wallet in the past and have not backed up the recovery seed properly or accurately, we suggest sending off your funds to a mobile wallet temporarily, and follow these steps to make a new safe and secure wallet.

If you’re not sure if you’ve written down the correct recovery seed in the past, then we suggest reading this guide instead: How To Verify Your Ledger Wallet’s Recovery Seed 

What you’re going to need:

In this example, we’re going to use the Ledger Nano S, but the process is pretty much the same with the Ledger Blue.

Step 1: Make Sure Ledger Live is Up To Date

You can download Ledger Live here if you haven’t yet.

To make sure your Ledger Live is up to date: simply open your Ledger Live application, and see if an update notification appears. If not, then chances are that your Ledger Live is already up to date.

Or to be completely sure, simply uninstall Ledger Live on your device then re-download and re-install the latest version here: https://www.ledger.com/pages/ledger-live

Step 2: Initialize Your Device

Simply initialize your device as a new device and go through the very simple steps shown on the Ledger Live.

NOTE: When choosing a pin, using a 6-8 digit pin is recommended to make the pin significantly harder to guess.

Step 3: Writing Down Your Recovery Phrase

Your recovery seed will be displayed in the Ledger device(not on your computer’s screen) for security reasons.

Accurately and neatly write down the recovery seed displayed on the Ledger device on a piece of paper. NOT on notepad, NOT on Facebook Messenger, NOT on Microsoft Word, NOT on your phone’s notes app. Saving your recovery seed digitally is a huge security risk if you don’t know what you’re doing. Only backup your recovery seed offline.

Why write the seed on a piece of paper and not on the Recovery sheet? If a thief unfortunately gets a hold of your recovery seed, we definitely wouldn’t like to make the thief think that that piece of paper is something of importance, and that using the seed would give the thief access to more money. Using a simple piece of paper or an old torn-out cardboard gives more of an impression that the paper and it’s content is irrelevant and nothing of importance.

NOTE: If a recovery seed is already written down on the Recovery sheet that came with the device, then it means the package has been tampered with. If so, do NOT use the recovery seed written on the sheet. The recovery seed must be generated and written down by you only.

Step 4: Store The Paper Somewhere Safe

Simply store the paper with your recovery seed somewhere safe, and where other people besides you have access to. Preferably, on a fire and water-proof safe if you’re holding amounts that are quite high.

Conclusion

After doing these few simple steps correctly, we now have to verify our recovery seed. Just to be 100% sure that you’ve actually written down the correct set of words and in the correct sequence. So don’t send your funds to your ledger’s addresses just yet.

The next step: How To Check/Verify Your Ledger Wallet’s 24-Word Seed



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36 Responses

  1. Ed says:

    This does not in any way give instructions for making a backup it just shows how to initialise a Nano S or Nano X waste of time

  2. Ed says:

    Oh quick reply thanks.
    Not really my question though.
    I bought the Ledger Nano S NanoX backup pack and so I have everything on the Ledger Nano X as it’s portable and has bluetooth to use with my phone.
    I want to know how to add the data (accounts crypto) on the Ledger Nano X and in Ledger Live ie: the blockchain … to the Nano S as a back up at home. I bought the pack as a backup pack and the support from Ledger is pathetic and does not provide in instructions on how to achieve this backup function.
    Is this just automatic ? ie: If i initialise the Nanos S whilst every account is showing in Ledger live does it immediately give me access on both Nano S and Nano X
    How can I get this backup done

    • Marc L says:

      You simply don’t Configure the Ledger Nano S as a new device. Select no, and proceed to import the 24-word seed onto the Nano S. After that, simply install the apps you want on the Nano S through Ledger Live.

  3. Ed says:

    There are only two option use configure new device or the restore 24 word seed and when I attempt to input the Nano X 24 word seed it tells me incorrect phrase ?
    It’s got me stumped this thing I bought the Nano X and the Nano S as a backup set and can’t back up the X to the S

  4. Ed says:

    Ahh success thank you so much for your patience and help. Both NanoX and Nano S now have the same 24 word seed and I see the accounts on the Nano S and the Nano X in Ledger Live so I now assume back up is complete and I have access to my crypto on the blockchain via both units. Is that correct ? Yo are more helpful than Ledger support I tell ya !

    • Marc L says:

      Yep! You’re welcome. Make sure to store your 24 word seed safely on a safe(NOT ON YOUR COMPUTER OR ANYWHERE DIGITAL), just in case both your devices malfunctions.

  5. Ed says:

    Yes mate got it in a 2 books 3 cards separate from the Nano etc. Well a ware of security around crypto don’t even use my normal email for crypto one email encrypted and secure just for emails to and from exchanges etc Very security conscious. Thanks again

  6. Reg Brownhill says:

    Just for clarity, once you have correctly set up a device S 0r X you can use your 24 word seed to recover your accounts on any Nano ledger device? Or if you are using an S and X in tandem you simply use the same seed to clone?

    • Marc L says:

      Yes. You can use the 24 word seed to restore your funds, and you can use the 24 word seed to access your funds on a secondary device if you want to use them both at the same time, with access to the same funds.

      • Reg says:

        OK thanks and regards.

      • Wissam says:

        HI Sorry to bother you with the same question. I have a nano x and a nano s. I have already set up the nano x with the crytpo apps that I want and have my coins on it. I have stored my recovery 24 word seed in a safe place. I did not set up the nano s. If the nano x is stolen or gets faulty, can I restore what I have on the nano x on to the nano s that I did not setup? The 24 word seed is a human representation of the private key on the nano x, so when I restore the 24 word seed on the nano s it basically scans the block chain for all my coin transactions and transfers them to the nano s correct?

  7. Den says:

    What if someone randomly uses my words for his recovery and has suddenly my bitcoin seed, only because he was lucky to find them words in the right order… Is that still considered “safe” ?

  8. Jan I. says:

    I have Ledger X with my coins and want to create a backup onto Ledger S. I understand I need to use the same 24 words on both devices and I did. However, when I connect Ledger S to LedgerLive, nothing shows up. What steps am I missing. Please advise. Thank you in Advance.

  9. Jan I. says:

    I am wondering if I need to install all crypto coin applications on Ledger S first or is it supposed to be an automatic backup?

  10. Janis Ingve says:

    Hi, My Ledger Nano X wasn’t used for a few wks. Turned it on & it immediately re-booted which took a few hours. I reset the ledger, used the recovery phrase, but my assets aren’t showing up. Any suggestions please.

    • Marc G says:

      You have to manually add the accounts on Ledger Live again. Don’t panic; as long as you’re sure that you’re using the correct recovery phrase, your funds aren’t lost.

  11. Jan I. says:

    Hi Marc: Thanks so much for your help. It is greatly appreciated.

  12. Janis Ingve says:

    I know that my recovery phrase is correct. After adding the accounts on my Nano X and in LedgerLive my assets still aren’t showing up. I’m pretty sure I followed the directions exactly. How do I get my assets to show up. I have screen shots of the amounts that are in the Ledger along with all the transactions before this happened.

  13. MTJ says:

    Marc, You’re post is by far the most informative I have found on this subject yet! Thank you!

    I also bought the Nano X/S backup pack and just recently set up my S per your instructions above using my X’s 24-word phrase. Question: are all of my account addresses automatically stored on my S once the first sync completes in LedgerLive with my S connected whether I have the corresponding apps installed on my S on not? Do I only need to install corresponding apps onto my S if I want to transfer to/from one of my accounts with my S? Can I connect both my X and S simultaneously?

    Now, the reason I finally set up my S is because I tried to install DASH app on my X. It failed, because apparently my version of the Bitcoin app was outdated. Tried to delete the Bitcoin app to reinstall but received a message that other apps required the Bitcoin app. I don’t know which apps require the Bitcoin app, so I don’t know which ones I need to delete which will allow me to update latest Bitcoin app. Do you know which apps require the Bitcoin app, so I don’t have to delete everything but Ethereum app? Or, would it be better if I just reset my X, restore it with passphrase, and reinstall all apps anew?

    • MG says:

      All your wallet’s addresses are derived from your wallet’s private keys. You only need to install the apps if you want to do a transaction.

      As for your problem concerning DASH, you don’t need to do a restore. You can simply uninstall every single app on the device, and reinstall them again while installing the Bitcoin app first. Don’t worry, uninstalling apps doesn’t make you lose access to your coins. Remember, your coins are stored on the blockchain, not on the device itself. The device is just the key for you to be able to access your coins on the blockchain.

  14. Jim says:

    Hi Marc,
    If I purchase Ledger Nano X and S backup package (two), set up Nano X as primary one to use and Nano S as backup one by Nano X’s 24 word phrase to restore to Nano S. So from Ledger live on desktop, we can see both devices with same amount after updates(such as for Bitcoin). Here are my questions:
    If later, we purchase BTC from coinbase and send over to Nano X only or transfer out from it (not Nana S). How we can sync up both Nano X and S to make sure the BTC amount is the same on both devices as backup purpose ? Or what is the procedure that we could make both devices sync and all amount the same in case one device is damaged and we can use another one immediately ?
    Thanks,
    Jim

    • MG says:

      As long as both of your devices use the same exact 24 word phrase, you wouldn’t need to do anything else.

      • Jim says:

        Hi MG,
        Thank you for your reply. Do you mean if I set up both Nano X and S devices with same 24 work phrase (backup each other), when I use one device (Nano X) to send or receive BTC through exchange (Coinbase, paxful etc.) by Ledger Live app, another device (Nano S) with its BTC amount should be updated automatically if I connect and check by Ledger Live app ? Do both devices have same BTC address or doesn’t matter ? Just try to understand how it work to sync amount, so if one device failed, we can use another device immediately.

        • MG says:

          Yes. Both are on the Bitcoin blockchain so funds should be automatically be updated for both devices.

          Addresses are derived from the private key. So since both devices of yours use the same recovery phrase, they both have the same set of addresses. It’s just that addresses that are shown on both devices are picked at random hence chances are both devices are going to show different addresses.

  15. Jack Fargo says:

    Hi MG
    Thank you very much for valuable insights.
    Why do one needs to buy a backup set of two X and S since if buying one device gives me 24 Word seed , and if anything happened to my nano X , only then I can buy an extra device to recover my coins seed via my 24 word password- is that correct? The only disadvantage is that i cant test the 24 word phrase ?

    • MG says:

      Yes. The advantage of getting a backup Nano S is just so that if your primary device breaks down, you wouldn’t need to wait for the delivery of another Nano X/S.

  16. Rob J says:

    Here’s an incredibly dumb question…I have ether in my wallet – transferred 2 years ago and I can see it in Ledger Live. Connected my nano and it required a firmware update. Foolishly I did this without backing up or checking my passphrase. Now I’ve effectively created a new device. Is there ANY way back or is the ether locked forever?

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