I lost my phone where I stored my 12 word recovery phrase. How can I get back my bitcoins?

  • 12
    You may think of this from the reverse perspective. If there were such a way, someone who is not you would be able to get your bitcoins. Which is exactly how you do not want the system to be designed. Hence the answers given.
    – void_ptr
    Dec 7, 2017 at 20:59
  • 1
    Is that the only place anywhere you had your information stored? For example, the 12 words are usually created by a wallet program--do you still have that? Dec 7, 2017 at 21:01
  • 10
    It is cheaper and faster to literally walk the entirety of the earth looking for your phone, vs. trying to take control of a wallet without the original private key. Dec 7, 2017 at 21:22
  • Do you have anything associated with the wallet at all? Anything that nobody else has? Dec 8, 2017 at 19:10
  • Take a look at metasafe.org if you remember some words. Who knows
    – Iulian
    Apr 27, 2020 at 21:02

4 Answers 4


Your bitcoins are lost forever, unless you have the key. Let this be a lesson learned to always write down your keys on paper.

There are no ways to recover your bitcoins without the key.

  • 3
    ... and then the paper is in a room at Fahrenheit 451... . Your answer should be "have multiple backup copies of your keyphrase stored in multiple physical locations" Dec 8, 2017 at 16:21
  • 5
    @CarlWitthoft I'm sorry. for anyone who needs common sense, here: "have multiple backup copies of your keyphrase stored in multiple physical locations"
    – Callerap
    Dec 8, 2017 at 16:32

You need your 12 words to get it back. Just that. There is no other way. No bank, no insurance company and no helpdesk that you can turn to. No person or computer in the world is able to recover the same wallet without those 12 words. I hope you've written the words down somewhere.

Here's where the relevant part of the answer for you ends concerning the particular wallet. Here comes more about those 12 words.

Always write down the 12 words on paper and store it safely.

They form a seed that generates the same addresses and private keys over and over again. There's no other way to generate any of the addresses formed by the seed of your 12 words. No other combination of 12 words will (practically) ever generate any of the addresses that are formed by your 12 words only.

Always write down the 12 words on paper and store it safely.

Since I'm going overboard with my answer, I might as well mention that if anybody discovers your 12 words, you will probably find your wallet empty within the hour.

  • 1
    This post is good, except that if OP happens to remember their blockchain.info wallet password, they could also retrieve the coins that way.
    – NH.
    Dec 7, 2017 at 21:47
  • Yes. You're completely right. Most wallets unlock with a password. Dec 7, 2017 at 21:57

Depending on what kind of phone you have and depending on what program you used to store your words, you may be able to find a copy of the data on Google Drive (Android default), OneDrive (Microsoft default) or iCloud (Apple default).

If you never disabled these services, but do have an account for them, they're probably turned on. Log in online using the website and browse around until you find it!

  • Yeah, but then it would still require a password or recovery phrase, right? If any old Google Drive subpoena could gain access to bitcoins, I think that would kind of defeat the purpose.
    – NH.
    Dec 8, 2017 at 21:10
  • if you took a photo of your recovery phrase, you can just log in on whatever service you use and look at the photo. Same with text documents or whatever. So yes, that does mean someone who has/gets access to that service, will have access to all your bitcoins. Dec 8, 2017 at 21:37

I'm going to give a more optimistic answer, depending on what the user means by "wallet gone" in the subject line.

If they used a desktop bitcoin wallet, and they never backed it up, and they have thrown away the hard drive (or encrypted it multiple times and lost the key) then I think it's fair to say that their Bitcoin is irretrievably gone.

However, as I read the question, they simply stored their 12 word recovery phrase on their phone and then lost the phone. Their Bitcoin is still retrievable if a couple of conditions can be met:

  1. If they used a web-based wallet (such as Blockchain.info) AND
  2. They still control the email address that they used to register for that wallet AND
  3. They remember part or all of the password to their wallet

Then they could retrieve their Bitcoin.

Here's how you'd do this if your wallet was on Blockchain.info:

  • Get your "Wallet ID", either by finding your original "Welcome to My Wallet" email in your inbox, or
  • Go to https://blockchain.info/wallet/#/login
  • Click on “View Options”
  • Click “Remind Me”
  • Enter your email address and submit the form
  • Wait a few minutes while Blockchain.info emails you your Wallet ID
  • Next, if you remember your password you can login to Blockchain.info with your Wallet ID and your password. Problem solved.

If you don't remember your password, but you have your Wallet ID and you're confident that you know part of the password then [shameless plug] a service like ours (https://www.cryptoassetrecovery.com) can help you recover your password.

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