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Passphrase & hidden wallets issues

A passphrase works like an additional word to the 12 or 24 words that make up your recovery seed , which is not stored on your Trezor. When using the passphrase feature, your Trezor will ask you to enter the passphrase which will then be combined with the actual recovery seed (12 or 24 words generated during Trezor setup) and a new unique seed will be created. In effect, each particular passphrase will let you access a unique wallet hidden behind that passphrase.
 

This means:

 
  1. each unique passphrase will create a unique wallet with unique addresses
  2. if you already had some crypto stored on your Trezor before the passphrase feature was enabled and used, then you can access your original wallet by entering an empty passphrase (in other words, when prompted for a passphrase, please don't type any character and only hit the "Enter" button)
  3. the passphrase for a particular wallet cannot be changed or removed, but Bitcoin (or other supported crypto) can be transferred between wallets with different passphrases via the standard transaction procedure
  4. a passphrase can be any word or any set of letters (in ASCII format up to a maximum of 50 characters) that you might use as a password
  5. you typically would not write it down anywhere, to eliminate any possibility of it being discovered
  6. your passphrase should always be memorable as there's no way to recover it if you forget it, and your funds stored under a passphrase will be lost if you forget it (therefore, please use it only if you completely understand how it works)
 

When you use the passphrase feature, you can create wallets that are protected by the text you type in the passphrase dialogue (window).

You can create several passphrase protected wallets (1 unique passphrase = 1 unique wallet). The original passphrase-less wallet can be always accessed by clicking on the "Standard wallet" option in Trezor Suite.

Passphrase protection is an advanced feature and they must be used carefully. Each passphrase needs to be typed precisely, as by "mistyping" a passphrase you will (inadvertently) create a new passphrase-protected hidden wallet.

For example, if you choose the passphrase "sea", this wallet can be accessed only when "sea" is typed in exactly; if you mistype the word and type e.g. "see" then you will create an entirely separate new wallet under the passphrase "see". It is the same for "Sea" or "SEE", as passphrases are case sensitive.

 
Don't use the words in the above example, as they are used solely for illustrative purposes.
 
  1. Please check all possible variations for the possible typo (passphrase length can be 50 characters max, it is case-sensitive and all ASCII characters count - even an empty space is a valid character)
  2. Make sure that you have set the correct keyboard layout
  3. When typing the passphrase please click on "Show passphrase" so you can see what you're actually typing
 

If you have passphrase enabled, after entering you PIN and unlocking your device you will see the following prompt in Trezor Suite:

 

 


After entering your passphrase to access your hidden wallet, Trezor Suite will ask you to confirm the passphrase on your Trezor device and it will then check the account balances.

 

 
 


If the passphrase is incorrect, it will ask you to confirm that the wallet is empty. 

 

 


After entering your passphrase to access your hidden wallet it will ask you to confirm the passphrase on your Trezor device again. The account will then be loaded in Trezor Suite. 

 

 

Remember: Every "incorrect" passphrase creates a new hidden wallet. Therefore, if you enter the passphrase correctly for the wallet you are looking for, you will always see the same accounts and balances.


All wallets, accounts and addresses are derived from a unique combination of recovery seed and passphrase, so if one of them (or both) differ, then the private keys differ as well and a new wallet, accounts and addresses are derived.

Also note that by using the same combination of recovery seed and passphrase, the same wallet with identical addresses is derived - no matter which application is used:
 

 
If the passphrase is lost, it can only be found by guessing (brute-forcing) which is often technologically and economically infeasible.

The difficulty of guessing the passphrase varies depending on the strength (complexity) of the passphrase.

More information can be found our blog post "Passphrase - the Ultimate Protection for Your Accounts."

 

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