Lost or Invalid Trezor Seed Phrase? How to Recover Trezor Wallet & Troubleshoot Issues

A Trezor hardware wallet with lost seed phrase on a hospital bed, being examined by a doctor in a ReWallet gown.

Table of contents

Lost, Invalid or Wrong Trezor Recovery Seed

If you're having difficulty recovering crypto from your Trezor wallet, chances are you have an issue with your recovery seed phrase. Although this set of 12 or 24 words was meant to simplify the recovery process, mistakes happen. From misspellings and misplacements to smudges and coffee stains, there are countless reasons a Trezor seed phrase (aka Trezor recovery phrase) isn’t working as intended.

However, just because you’re having issues with your Trezor seed phrase doesn’t mean you’ll never regain access to your crypto. There are many scenarios where a team like ReWallet can help you get back into your Trezor hardware wallet, even if you have problems with your seed phrase. Keep reading to learn the most common issues people have with their Trezor recovery phrase and whether it’s possible to recover your cryptocurrency.

Trezor Troubleshooting: Why Isn’t My Trezor Seed Phrase Working?

Most often, if you have an issue with your Trezor recovery phrase, you’ll see one of the following prompts on your device:

  • Recovery failed
  • Invalid recovery seed
  • Recovery seed is valid but does not match the one in the device

Aside from the third instance, there are countless reasons you may be seeing these messages on your Trezor hardware wallet. However, a few situations are more common than others. Here are a few seed phrase-related problems many people struggle with.

Lost Seed Phrase

The most serious issue a Trezor owner could have is if they lost access to their entire seed phrase. For instance, if your only copy of a Trezor seed phrase is on paper that burns in a fire, there’s no way to get it back. Alternatively, people who store their seed phrase on a USB stick or a cloud server may have a damaged device or lose access to their cloud account. Some crypto holders may overestimate their memory skills and try to learn their seed phrase by heart—only to discover later that they’ve forgotten these crucial words.

If you don’t know what the words in your Trezor recovery phrase are, there’s little hope for recovering your crypto. Unfortunately, even crypto wallet experts can’t figure out your unique seed phrase without some preliminary data.

For this reason, Trezor wallet holders must backup their seed phrase using a reliably secure method. You can learn more about properly storing your seed phrase in ReWallet’s guide, “Which Medium To Use for Wallet Recovery.”.

Unknown Recovery Words - Invalid Seed Phrase

One reason you might see error messages like “Invalid Recovery Seed” or “Invalid Checksum” appear on your Trezor device is because you don’t have every word in your Trezor recovery phrase. Some crypto holders deliberately leave out a few words on their backup sheet to minimize the risk of theft. This way, even if someone gets a hold of your recovery seed paperwork, they will only have some of the info to get into your Trezor account. While this strategy is excellent for theft protection, it means you’re responsible for remembering the missing words in your mnemonic seed phrase.

In this case, wallet recovery services like ReWallet can help you regain access to your Trezor account. Of course, the more words in a seed phrase you know for sure, the higher probability you can re-access your cryptocurrency. However, even if you only have a few words in your seed phrase, you should contact a wallet recovery expert to understand your odds for a successful recovery.

Misspellings or Illegible Recovery Phrase

Even if you have a copy of your seed phrase, you may need help deciphering the words you’ve written down. Perhaps the pen stains on your paper got smudged, or maybe your handwriting is too difficult to make out. It’s also not uncommon for people to mistakenly spill coffee or tea on their seed phrase, making it hard to read the words on your paper.

Aside from stains and illegible writing, you may have misspelled a few words on your mnemonic seed phrase. Whether due to haste or human error, people often write or type a word that’s just slightly off from the real recovery phrase. For example, someone may write “price” instead of “prize” or “brake” instead of “break.” These tiny imperfections will keep you from recovering a lost Trezor wallet. However, there’s a chance ReWallet can help you through this scenario to get back into your crypto wallet.

Invalid Recovery Seed - Words in Wrong Order

Even if you have every word spelled correctly in your Trezor seed phrase, you’ll see “Invalid Recovery Seed” if the seed words are in the wrong order. When you set up a Trezor wallet, the seed phrase is ordered from 1 - 12 or 1- 24. Your wallet will only let you in if you know the corresponding number for each word in your phrase.

Again, some safety-conscious crypto holders deliberately put their seed phrase in the wrong order so thieves have difficulty breaking into a wallet. If investors choose to use this strategy, they need to know how to “unscramble” these words into the proper sequence. For example, someone may list their seed phrase in backward order (i.e., 1 is 24, 2 is 23, etc.) While these strategies are great for theft prevention, wallet holders are responsible for remembering the proper ordering. If there’s an issue with the order of words in a seed phrase, it’s best to contact ReWallet to learn how we can assist.

Trezor Seed Phrase FAQs

How Should People Store Their Trezor Recovery Phrase?

Trezor provides new users with paper recovery seed cards you can write your seed phrase on. It’s always best to write these words rather than store them on a digital device to reduce the chances of a cyberattack. For those interested in advanced security, there are metal devices where you can carve your seed phrase to ensure your Trezor recovery phrase is safe from natural disasters like fires. Whether you opt for paper or metal, it’s best practice to keep your seed phrase well hidden in a secure safe.

For more details on storing your Trezor seed phrase, be sure to check out this ReWallet post.

What’s the Difference Between the Trezor Seed Phrase and the Trezor Optional Passphrase?

Although they both have “phrase” in their names, the “seed phrase” and “passphrase” are distinct security features on Trezor devices. While the “seed phrase” represents your private key, the “passphrase” is an optional extra layer of protection to your Trezor wallet.

If you create a passphrase for your Trezor in advanced settings, this word or sentence will link to your account. However, your Trezor device doesn’t physically store the secret passphrase as it does your seed phrase. Remember: If you set up an optional passphrase, you must treat it with the same importance as your seed phrase. You can’t recover the crypto on a lost Trezor wallet without the correct passphrase.

Is the PIN the Same as the Seed Phrase?
The PIN is a series of up to 50 digits you must enter every time you open your Trezor device. Therefore, you only need your PIN to get into your hardware wallet, but it has no connection to your private keys like the seed phrase.
What does “Invalid Recovery Seed” mean?
If you see “Invalid Recovery Seed” or “Recovery Failed” on your Trezor device after trying to recover a crypto wallet, that means you’re either entering your seed phrase in the wrong order or you’re not using the correct words. For instance, you may have misspelled a few words on your recovery paperwork, or perhaps you entered a few typos into Trezor Suite. In this case, ReWallet can run a diagnostic on your situation and potentially get back into your Trezor account.
Can I recover a Trezor wallet on a Ledger hardware wallet?
Yes, it’s possible to recover a Trezor wallet on another hardware device like a Ledger Nano S or X. The Trezor Model One and Model T seed phrases follow the BIP39 standard, which means it’s compatible with other wallets that use the 2,048 recovery words in the BIP39 standard. Since Ledger devices also use the BIP39 recovery standard, you can recover your Trezor on a Ledger device if you have the correct seed phrase and you didn’t use an extra security feature like an optional passphrase. This strategy also works with any other BIP39-enabled wallet, provided you only used the 12 or 24-word seed phrase on your Trezor device.

Is Something Wrong with Your Trezor Seed Phrase? — Reach Out to ReWallet!

If you’re having problems recovering crypto with your seed phrase on a Trezor device, you should reach out to professional wallet recovery services like ReWallet. Our team of crypto wallet experts has helped countless clients regain access to accounts on hardware devices like the Trezor Model One and Model T. Within 24 hours, a member of ReWallet’s staff will provide you with a first diagnostic of your problem and let you know the best steps to recover your cryptocurrency.

Other Wallet Recovery Guides

You May Also Like