Ledger Nano S — Restoring a Device Using Recovery Phrase

Craig Russell
Sep 7, 2017 · 4 min read

This article will detail how to restore a Ledger Nano S using a recovery phrase. If you have already created a wallet elsewhere with a recovery phrase and wish to restore that to your Ledger, this guide will detail how.

If you have a Ledger Nano S and are instead looking to configure it as a brand new device, you should stop reading this and read Configuring as a New Device.

So you’ve finally got your hands on a Ledger Nano S. You’ve done the unboxing. Let’s get it up and running by restoring an existing wallet onto it.

What Does Restoring Mean?

Essentially, it means you’ll initialise this device to be an exact replica of another wallet. That means you’ll have an exact copy of everything in it. This copy is useful to provide some redundancy.

If you still have an existing Ledger Nano S, for instance, and you are initialising another one as a backup, you will two identical setups. You will be able to use either device to manage your funds. They are both pointing to the same underlying altcoin data, so it doesn’t mean you’ll double your balance. 😆

Similarly, if you restoring a wallet because you’ve have lost your original Ledger Nano S, or otherwise no longer have access to it, restoring to a new Ledger Nano S will grant you access again to managing your altcoins.

Compatible Wallets

In order to successfully restore a wallet onto your device, the existing wallet needs to have been created using a compatible format.

If you have an existing Ledger Nano S initialised with a recovery phrase, then that is definitely compatible and can be restored to any other Ledger Nano S device. Don’t even read the next few paragraphs; it will definitely work! 😋

Otherwise, the restore will work only if the existing wallet is compatible with BIP39/44.

If a wallet implements BIP44 to generate accounts and addresses, and BIP39 to generate the recovery mnemonic phrase (aka, the seed) then it will be possible to recover that wallet anywhere else that supports BIP39/44, including your shiny, new Ledger Nano S.

The Process

When setting up the device, you’ll choose the option to “Restore configuration”.

Choose a PIN

Choosing a PIN is mandatory. How to do it is covered in the guide Configuring as a New Device so read that if you want more help in creating a PIN.

Enter Recovery Phrase

When prompted, you will have to enter you original recovery phrase to restore your wallet. You’ll need to choose how many words are in your original recovery phrase.

Choose how many words make up your recovery phrase

You’ll then have to type each of the words in the recovery phrase. ⏱ This is time consuming and monotonous! You have to use the left and right hardware buttons to scroll through the letters to type in the recovery words. And you have to do it for all of your recovery words — that’s 24 in the case of a Ledger Nano S backup.


If you entered everything correctly, you’ll now be rewarded with the success screen!

You have successfully restored your wallet configuration onto a Ledger Nano S.


Help Others

The cryptocurrency / altcoin / hardware wallet scene is still far from mainstream. Help others discover this guide by 👏

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More Like This

For more articles in this series, see Ledger Nano S — The Complete Guide.

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