How to transfer your Abra wallet when you upgrade your phone

The new iPhone is out and if it’s on your shopping list (lucky you!) or if you plan on upgrading your phone (Android or iOS) in, well, ever, below are some important steps to take before you make the switch. This will ensure that you’ll have full access to the funds in your Abra wallet after you’ve upgraded your phone.

Abra is a non-custodial wallet. That means that we don’t hold onto your funds on your behalf. You are the only person with access to your funds. Generally, non-custodial wallets are considered more secure than hosted wallets, but it does mean that you have more responsibility for making sure you always have a way to access your money.

What does this have to do with getting a new smartphone?

When you upgrade your phone, your Abra wallet information (including any funds stored there) will not automatically transfer over. This is a deliberate security decision, to ensure your wallet is not accessible on multiple devices. You need to transfer your wallet yourself. You do this by using your unique recovery phrase – a series of thirteen random English words — which is like the key to your wallet.

Essentially, what you need to do is make sure you have the recovery phrase from the app on your old phone, and port that over to the app on your new phone. You know how you back up your files on your computer so that one day, if you spill coffee on your laptop, hypothetically speaking, you can simply restore your old files from a cloud backup or a hard drive onto your new device and go about your business like nothing happened? It’s sort of like that.

Here’s the step-by-step:

Before you upgrade your phone:

  1. Open up your Abra app on your old phone
  2. Go to the Menu in the top left corner
  3. Scroll down and choose Wallet Security (“Backup” on older versions of the app)
  4. Choose View recovery phrase
  5. Write down your wallet recovery phrase, and store it in a safe place

If you already did this when you signed up for Abra, just make sure you still know where you keep your wallet recovery phrase. So far so good?

After you upgrade your phone:

You’ll see the Abra app on your new device, but you’ll still need to restore your wallet on your new phone.

Restore bitcoin wallet after iPhone upgrade1. Open up your Abra app on your shiny new phone

2. At this point, Abra doesn’t recognize you. It thinks you’re a new user. Not true! So you have to tell Abra you’ve been here before by clicking on the Restore Your Wallet link (see screenshot).

3. You’ll be asked to verify your phone number. Do that. Use the same phone number you used to create your Abra wallet way back when.

4. Then you’ll be asked to input your recovery phrase.

And you’re done!

You can learn more about the recovery phrase, and how it keeps your funds safe, on our Security page. And as always, feel free to comment here or email us with any questions – we’re always happy to help!

4 thoughts on “How to transfer your Abra wallet when you upgrade your phone

  1. Thank you so much for explaining it so easily.

    I have another question for you. I currently send money to Chile to my kids using (way to expensive).
    How do I do it using the Abra wallet?

    Please let me know if my kids in Chile can withdraw any monies there wether in Chileanb Pesos or USD.

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Jaime! Glad it helped.

      In order to use Abra to send money to Chile, you would need a way to get money into Abra and your kids would need a way to get money out. I’m assuming you’re in the US?

      To get money in – US:
      – Bank account
      – American Express
      – Cash via an Abra Teller
      – Bitcoin

      To get money out – Chile
      – Bitcoin
      – Abra Teller

      If your kids live near an Abra Teller, they can cash out in Chilean Pesos. You can use the app to find an Abra Teller – try the “Add Money” or “Withdraw” buttons, then the “Cash” option, and search for the city where you want to find Tellers. I see, for example, one Teller in Santiago who charges a 2% fee, with a $4,000 CLP minimum per transaction.

      That said, we don’t have a high density of Abra Tellers in Chile, so the best option is probably bitcoin. If your kids aren’t familiar with bitcoin, there will be a learning curve, but you could essentially end up in a situation where you actually *profit* off money transfer. The reason is because in many markets outside of the US, the price of bitcoin is higher than it is in the US (for Chile, specifically, there doesn’t seem to be a big price difference, but I think there is a small one). Abra’s bitcoin price is set off of US prices, though, so your dollars would get converted to bitcoin at the (lower) US rate, but when your kids sell the bitcoin they receive, it would get converted at the (higher) peso rate.

      Here’s what would happen, then:
      – You add US Dollars to your Abra wallet via your bank account (takes ~1 business day)
      – Your kids download the Abra app, and choose ‘bitcoin’ as their wallet currency
      – You send money to your kids. You would send in dollars, and your kids would receive bitcoin (~instant)
      – Your kids then sell the bitcoin locally (in the app, this is accomplished by Withdraw > Use Bitcoin, then entering the bitcoin address or scanning the QR code of the destination bitcoin wallet)

      Selling bitcoin would involve signing up for a brokerage or an exchange, such as Surbtc, which would likely connect to local bank accounts, or selling bitcoin in cash via a service such as LocalBitcoins. There are some fees involved in each method, so it’s worth doing some research to find out.

      This may or may not sound like a lot of steps to you, but once you do it once, it’s easy, and could save your family a lot of money a lot of money. Plus, bitcoin is becoming increasingly popular everywhere in the world, including Chile, so it’s also not a bad idea for your kids to learn about bitcoin and how it increases their financial options, in any case.

      Hope this helps, and let us know if we can answer more questions for you!

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